Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Interesting topic; thanks for starting the discussion.Personally, I still get nervous every time I perform. Although it has lessened in the years since college, I can count on some degree of anxiety and nervousness before I sit down. Thoughts in my head vary from worries about difficult passages to excitement about sharing a piece of music that I really enjoy.I used to have thoughts of what it might be like to mess up a critical moment in the music or forget what I had memorized but a really fine teacher in college suggested I try to fill my head with thoughts of things going really well, i.e., the music just flowing and being vibrant, technically difficult passages being played confidently and with artistry and ease. This little exercise helps silence my fears before the performance.During the performance, my anxiety level is often tied directly to how confident I am with the music I'm playing. If I've prepared myself well so that I have fewer technical worries and feel a good connection to the music, then I can concentrate on living in the moment, trying to communicate what I feel in the music and what the piece seems to be saying.If I've not prepared well, I have more difficulty relaxing and enjoying the moment. Certainly, there have been times when I'm able to connect to a piece which had to be prepared in short order, but, usually I find the anxiety and worries about poor preparation get in the way of the performance.Afterward, I am relieved but also sad that the musical experience is behind me. There is something about being present in the moment when you are making music that is mystical and intoxicating; I miss it when it is gone.I look forward to other comments and reflections.Mark

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