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CONFIDENT MUSIC PERFORMANCE: Part 1 - The Fear and Reward We Share

Hey there fabulous readers!


Let's dive into a topic that close to our hearts —performing! It's like a magical portal to express our deepest emotions and wildest dreams. Yet as we grow older, we often become embarrassed to show this side of ourselves. But remember, don’t be afraid of this vulnerability. It's what makes your performance genuine!

Stepping onto the stage can feel like entering a lion's den wearing a tutu. We fret about our imperfections, lack of prep, and how we'll be judged. Negative thoughts can swarm our brains and make us feel isolated. Sometimes, we may imagine criticism where there isn't any. And even if there is, wouldn't it be better to perform for ourselves and those who appreciate us, rather than focusing on the few who might not? We can flip these jitters on their head and use them to supercharge our performance! When we ride the adrenaline wave like a pro, we can transform our show from meh to mind-blowing.


I have gone ahead and read 'Confident Music Performance: Fix the Fear of Facing an Audience' by Ruth Bonetti, so you don't have to! I'll write a blog post for each chapter. Since we all have our own unique musical journey, the author offers a bunch of tips and suggestions to support you—whether you need a physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual boost.

 

Stage Fright: The Big Bad Wolf

 

Let’s tackle the granddaddy of fears—stage fright. We've all been there: hands shaking like a leaf, mouth as dry as the Sahara, mind going blank. You might be thinking, "Seriously, brain? We rehearsed this just this morning!" Stage fright doesn’t play favourites; it can strike anyone, anytime. It's not a glitch or disorder, just your body's way of saying, "Hey, pressure's on!" Even legends like Pavarotti and Streisand have danced with this jittery monster.


I remember recently at a QPAC concert, Audra McDonald shared a story about messing up and having to re-do a Sondheim song, while in front of Sondheim himself! And who can forget that Glee episode where Rachel Berry, the perfection queen, choked during her NYADA audition? It happens to the best of us.


Personally, I get major stage fright when I spot the audience, especially if they're strangers; with no spotlight to shield me from their gaze. Suddenly, a song I've sung a zillion times feels like climbing Mount Everest. I've left auditions feeling like a shaky chihuahua, questioning my own abilities. And when learning a new song, I have to remind myself (and my students) that we're not competing with auto-tuned polished recordings; real-life performances are raw and real, and that's what makes them special.


Remember, feeling nervous doesn't mean you lack talent. A bit of pre-show jitters is natural - it means you care! Many of us treat stage fright like a forbidden secret, thinking we're the only ones battling it. Trust me, you're not alone.


The Reward of Performing

 

So, why do we continue to perform despite the fear? Because the thrill of overcoming our fears and accomplishing something amazing is addictive. It adds a spark to life and breaks the monotony that other jobs may bring. There's nothing quite like the rush of holding an audience in your palm, making them smile, and sharing a piece of your soul with them. The most exciting moments are those performances where everything flows smoothly, and you can feel the crowd's energy pulsating. Reaching out to complete strangers with your music or acting and seeing their reaction is an indescribable experience.


Remember, every time you take the stage, you have the opportunity to create something beautiful and connect with others. Embrace the fear, ride that wave, and let your talent sparkle like a disco ball. You've got this!


TO BE CONTINUED... Part 2: Symptoms of Fear and Why We Feel Like Scaredy-Cats

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