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Musicians' Nightmares

A Minute with Miles
Mary Noble Ours
SC Public Radio

I can’t say for sure, but I would guess that most people have had what might be called recurring anxiety dreams… the kinds of dreams in which you find yourself in public with no clothes on, or about to take a test in a subject you’ve never studied. People’s anxiety dreams tend to be tailored to their particular personalities, circumstances, and experiences, and often to their particular professions. 

I’ve compared notes with a number of my musician colleagues, and based on my very non-scientific research I can tell you that musicians’ nightmares tend to fall into several similar categories. There’s the classic “being-onstage-with-no-clothes-on dream,” the “oh-no-my-alarm-didn’t-go-off-and-it’s-9 o’clock-and the concert-started-at-eight” dream, the “I’ve got to perform this piece tonight but I’ve never looked at the music and don’t know how it goes” dream, and of course the “Yikes I left my instrument in the restaurant” dream, which, a little too often, I’m afraid, turns out not to have been a dream.

A Minute with Miles is a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.

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Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.