What happens when your violin string goes off pitch in the middle of your big solo?
When I was a teenager, I was fortunate enough to play the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with orchestra. Everything was going well until disaster struck. I accidentally hit the E-string with my bow during the climactic cadenza, where the violin plays by itself.
The impact lowered the pitch entirely. Shocked, I didn’t know what to do. I could stop and tune the violin and ruin the musical line. Or I could try to improvise some other music to avoid the E-string.
I ended up doing the least helpful thing. I played through the cadenza as written. The pitches clashed. It sounded horrible.
Recently, an extraordinary violinist, Ray Chen, had a similar issue. He was better prepared than I. The moment his E-string went off pitch, he calmly handed his violin to the lead violinist playing in the orchestra. It took just a few seconds. He continued to play on this borrowed violin while the orchestra members fixed his violin. Then, they handed it back.
Ray had a backup plan in case his violin had problems. He didn’t have to think on the spot and under pressure. He and his team knew what to do.
Whether it’s a dropped Zoom call, missed deadline, or a person unexpectedly leaving your team, what backup plans might you create now, before the pressure is on?
Thanks for caring!