The art of performing and how to mentally prepare
A significant part of learning to play an instrument is the performing aspect – hence the term “performing arts.” While many of us love to fantasize about being on the center of a stage with an audience cheering us on, nerves might creep up on us when the moment actually arrives. However, performing offers important life lessons, including working towards a goal, learning to cope with nerves, and believing in yourself.
Performing offers us a chance to show the audience our accomplishment of completing a piece of music. Having this goal urges students to work harder and prepare pieces in a more detailed way to offer the best possible performance. Getting to that finish line with a piece of music gives us confidence that we can complete a piece of music and share this accomplishment with others.
But then of course, the nerves might kick in, causing us to doubt our abilities. While it is difficult to control these feelings, it is important to understand that we will never feel 100% ready for a performance (even if we are). We are our own worst critics. The audience is there to cheer us on, not to count our mistakes. Once we reach a certain level with our pieces, the next step is remembering to have fun.
And of course, with practice comes confidence. At West Amadeus, we host several recitals each year to offer our students the chance to practice the art of performing. Even if the first performance goes horribly due to crippling nerves, we move on and try again next time. And the more we perform, the more we will remember that we got through it every time, and the audience clapped every time no matter what. The nerves may come and go, but we have to just accept that this is part of the experience and turn those nerves into excitement. Even the most famous musicians of all time would get nervous. But all performers must remember that we perform to share our love for music with those who are eagerly excited to hear it. And isn’t this why we play in the first place?