Karin Schaupp interview part 2
In Steidl, Schaupp recognised a fellow risk-taker. And there are few things in the world of music riskier than a guitar duo. ‘It is one of the most treacherous formations, because the guitar has such a short attack.’ But the rewards, she adds, are great: ‘As soon as you go on stage with another artist, you have a kind of dialogue, and the audience gets to become part of an intimate conversation between the performers.’
Together, the two have come up with a program which presents a short history of the guitar, with the first half on 19th-century and the second half on modern instruments.
‘The guitar is probably the world’s most popular instrument,’ Schaupp says. ‘It has a wonderful history, with many anecdotes along the way. Chopin, for instance, is quoted as saying, ‘Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, save perhaps two’ – and yet he never wrote a single note for the instrument…
‘Probably most of the audience won’t be familiar with a lot of the repertoire we’re playing, so this concert will introduce them to that world, and how this repertoire came about, and what it means.’
As a teenager, Schaupp suffered acutely from stage fright. Determined to overcome it, she turned to techniques from the world of high-performance sport.
‘Athletes receive a huge amount of mental training. They are taught imagery, relaxation and cognitive skills throughout their training. Musicians are under similar pressure, but they’re usually left to their own devices. All the time, you see talented musicians who have invested most of their lives in their art. They have a lot to lose, and they suffer the most from stage fright. But there are simple skills that can easily be taught.’
Schaupp wrote her Master’s thesis on the application of practical tools learned from sports psychologists to the world of music performance, running a series of hugely successful trials with music students. Now she lectures on the subject, and plans, eventually, to publish a book.
‘It will happen,’ she declares confidently. ‘It’s just a matter of when. I don’t understand how people ever get bored in life. I always have at least fifty things that I want to do.’
Shirley Apthorp © 2012