Each winter the juxtaposition of my love for performing and others' morbid fear of it is realized when my annual recital coincides with Miami University's audition season. How is it young musicians are raised to love music, but hate performing? I recently overheard a talented young musician declare after a brilliant performance: "it was awful. I cracked a note."
In an era of objective-learning and test-oriented education, students are driven to achieve the right answer --the perfect score. for music, this can prove detrimental. Young players struglle to internalize the lack of perfection in music. There is always room for growth, for maturation, for improvement.
I list below 3 pertinent and critical facts for all aspiring musicians to know:
- Performance Anxiety is not a 4-letter word. Nerves are 'energy' as your body is determining whether to 'fight' through and perform, or take 'flight' and give up. You can learn to use this energy for good not evil.
- Every performer faces this. At some point in their career, nearly everyone has dealt with performance anxiety/nerves/jitters/whatever term they may personally use. #don'tletthemfoolyou
- There is ample help. In addition to innumerable books, resources, and activities, there's a new expert on the scene. Dr. Kate Mackenzie specializes in Performance Anxiety for musicians, AND she's a bassoonist. She encourages questions, so email her today! Check out her website: mackenziebassoon.com
Think about how many notes you played in your last performance. 100? 1000? 10,000? How many did you crack? 1? 10? 100? Don't you think that averages out to an A?
Happy Performing! --Dr. S