We put a name to this back in university days. We were learning the tools of the musical trade and wondered why we felt such a let down after a successful musical performance. If you are a performer, maybe you have experienced this feeling? Say that you have spent several weeks or even months preparing an amazing piece of music. Just as the performance is culminating, you experience a tremendous high. You’ve accomplished all you set out to do and you feel good about what you have done. But then, a bit a later, you feel lousy. Perhaps it’s because that musical friend you’ve spent a very intensive time getting to know, that piece you’ve been practicing for hours and hours, is now gone, spent, over, done with, kaput – the concert is a memory and you will probably not perform that piece again for a long, long time.
If you’ve experienced something like this I’d love to hear your feedback here on my blog. Have you experienced PPS? How do you deal with it? Add your comment – it helps to talk!
I think as I get older and more experienced as a performer I’ve learned to manage PPS, but it still lurks in the background, and I wonder how other people cope with going back to the “real world” on Monday morning.
Fortunately, there are some very cool upcoming performances that I have to look forward to, and that is always a comfort. (I will write about these soon.) This peaceful evening provides a brief moment to reflect and remember how very beautifully my choir sang Rheinberger this weekend, and I am going to just bask a little bit in the PPG (post performance glow).

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10 Responses to PPS (Post performance syndrome)

  1. Jo-Ann Dawson says:

    PPS – I know it well. At St. Mary Magdalene’s, we often put on receptions or go to the pub after concerts to unwind and relive our evening’s triumphs, congratulate or console each other. Needless to say, we carry our “high” through the evening, and put off our departure as long as we can, trying to avoid the inevitable low that follows. The trip home is always sobering. Yet, I have learned to live with it because I know I will begin again, to learn more music, and the cycle continues.
    Monday mornings, the staff at school usually hear about the concert they missed. They listen politely to my ramblings and tell me they might go to the next one… Then it’s back to work. There’s no time to dwell on things when you’re expecting 26 little people to arrive in your classroom and begin their day of learning.

  2. Abner Martin says:

    In the distant past, following a concert (by then close to midnight) I would stroll through the silent barn to see that all was well, and to see if the cattle were “kneeling —- or not”. It had a calming effect, that is, provided all was well.

    • Stephanie Martin says:

      Certainly a different approach than Jo Ann’s approved method of going to the pub. Cows do have a calming influence though. Thanks Abner

  3. Tricia Haldane says:

    Steven and I have talked about this a lot! Neither of us has kids, but it seems to us that the whole thing is almost like childbirth. It starts with a seed of an idea, a specific piece or theme.that seems to take about 8 or 9 months to bring to fruition. There is lots of planning and thought on the best way to execute. The prep work – learning notes, doing translations, analyzing breathing, memorizing, and finally polishing. Delving into the emotional content and the best ways to express it. And hours and hours and hours of living with it. I like to have it so far into my body that it becomes part of my DNA, so that I can just be a vessel that the music moves through. By the time the concert comes I am so anxious to share it, to get it out, that I am almost sick of the music, dying to start new stuff. Then when we perform it and breathe life into it……it is agonizing and blissful all at the same time. The joy is indescribable! To be able to impart even a little of what the composer dreamed of is incredible. Afterwards, it feels like I am missing something, but at the same time I am infused with the knowledge that everyone that was there now has some of the music living in them. That is truly a gift! In the afterglow, I think of the journey, the lessons learned, what worked and didn’t work and once I have had some time to recover, I begin again, with a new seed and a new adventure….

    • Stephanie Martin says:

      Beautifully expressed Trish. I don’t know what childbirth is like, but I imagine your analysis is dead on.

  4. Marlene says:

    And what does one do about the ear worm during PPS? In this case it is the Rheinberger Earworm. My church choir director says that you have to sing Sheena Easton’s “My Baby Takes the Morning Train” loudly and persistently. Any other suggestions?

  5. Ana says:

    I find that if I go out with people afterwards, either fellow choristers or friends that came to watch, and spend the rest of the evening talking about the music, eating, drinking, etc., I do not get much PPS at all. But if I don’t do these things, I am really quite sad afterwards. The latter is like an immediate crash rather than the slow gentle coasting back down of the former.

    • Stephanie Martin says:

      I think you have something there Ana. Eating, drinking, remembering – that’s the post-performance ritual that cures all : )

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