I had a fantastic time yesterday at the November Catch-Up & Performance day - thank you again to all who made it along and especially to those who performed. I'll be sending out a link to the videos and photos from the day very soon. As I watched each performer, and as I prepared to perform myself (the teacher always plays), I was thinking about nerves. Not the physical nerves in our body, but the sensation of feeling nervous.
You would probably think that over all my years of performing in front of crowds big and small that maybe I would be immune from feeling nervous. It all really depends on what your personal reasons for being nervous are and how that reflects upon your assumptions for other people's nervousness. For instance, I get nervous performing as your teacher because deep in my beliefs I feel like teachers should be immune to mistakes, so that if I make a mistake, then it's a bad reflection on my ability as a teacher. I can't say that it's a very helpful belief, as I can't remember a single performance in my whole life where I've not made some sort of mistake, big or small.
While it can be confronting, I like to venture down the rabbit-hole of worst case scenario. What's the worst possible thing that could happen if I make a mistake while performing? Maybe I think people would laugh, maybe I think people would think less of me... you get the drift. The great thing about musical mistakes is that they usually have very little consequence. Buildings don't topple, cars don't crash, no-one gets hurt!
In yesterday's performances, every single performer was nervous, every single performer made mistakes, every single performer was able to recover, and every single performer got a fantastic round of applause at the end.
I've worked closely with some of you already in strategies to help counter nerves and performance anxiety. If it's something you'd like to have a closer look at in any of your lessons, don't hesitate to let me know. It's one of my favourite things to teach! You can find out more information here.
Things I've been watching/listening to this week: