Last week, I held a recital for my students. We only do 2 a year, and for most of my kids, that is the only performance practice they ever get to experience. That means that every recital is a potentially terrifying event. When I introduce the students one by one, they look so scared and then after they take their bow, relieved. Like a survivor. They managed to dodge the bullet of “social suicide” as one of my students calls the experience of giving a bad performance. I don’t agree with such hyperbole, but I certainly understand how he feels!
This last Sunday, I decided to give a performance too. I had just finished recording an album that all of my students had heard me talk about all last year, so I thought it would be appropriate to show them some of my work. It was the first time I gave them a real, from the heart performance. Normally when I sing for them, I don’t go too deep, because the songs are of a fun-loving nature, and it just doesn’t feel like the place. This time it was my music, so it needed to be done my way. I was excited to show them exactly how a pro performs: taking a moment to pause before diving into the song, staying %150 focused on each word and note, feeling the song so that my facial expressions interpret the emotion in real time. Afterward, my students and their 60+ family members and guests broke out into a very nice applause. It felt good. But I have to admit I had also been terrified beforehand.
When I spoke to my students about dealing with fear and nervousness, I used the word “focus.” Staying focused is the antidote to fear.