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Newberg Student Recital

May 9, 2006

My students in Newberg had a recital last Sunday and it went so well. Even though I’ve only been teaching these kids for a month, they have shown great progress and I was so proud of their performance.

Often a public performance is considered a scary and nervous thing. Especially with classical music, the performance is supposed to be as close to perfect as possible. I however want to teach my students a little bit different attitude.

As I am preparing a student for a performance I want to emphasize that the performance itself is not defining them as a person. They should try to do the best they can, and I will do my best to prepare them, but really it should be a celebration of the hard work they have put in. It’s a chance to show off what you have learned. Most likely if hard work was put in, it’s going to sound great.

Have you ever performed or did something where you were the center of attention in public? How do you deal with nervousness?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2006 5:50 pm

    I only get nervous after I perform. Cool as the proverbial cucumber until about 20 minutes after I get off stage. Then I need either a double gin and tonic or a triple latte to settle my nerves. This only applies to singing/acting. Reading my poetry is a whole other ball of wax.

  2. Gray permalink
    May 11, 2006 6:13 am

    I am never nervous during a performance unless I know that I have a real problem with a particular passage. By the time I was a senior in high school I really enjoyed the energy of performing and the unspoken dialogue with the audience. During the hours before a performance I seem to slowly develop an alert but relaxed mental state that I find enjoyable, and a confidence I don’t necessarily have in other situations.

    I do a fair amount of public speaking and often attend meetings where I have to present unwelcome information or advocate to a somewhat hostile audience. I enjoy these activities (I believe on the virtues of what we do.), and attribute my confidence to my experience with performing arts as a child and as a young adult. You can truthfully tell your students’ parents that their children are learning immensely practical life skills under the mantle of art.

    When the anti-tax zealots try to cut performing arts out of the schools, I counter that performing arts are quntessentially practical, and their support is essential, not a luxury.

    My anxiety peaks about 3/4 of the way through rehearsals, when I can’t see how we can possibly be ready in time. I also become very anxious and feel incompetent the first couple of times I play chamber music with a harpsichordist who I do know. For some reason they intimidate me with their skill and I dread their judgement without reason.

    When I play traditional music for contradances or when I play for theater it feels particularly safe and secure, despite the sometimes risky, unpredictable, and improvisational nature those sorts of performance. Most of us have been playing together for ten to eighteen years, and we all know that any combination of us can recover collectively from absolutely any disaster.

    -Gray

  3. May 12, 2006 5:37 am

    I like to have a small amount of nerves when I perform, actually. It gets my adrenalin pumping and gives the performance an energy that makes it special and different than just practicing or playing by myself. Being overwhelmed by nerves is not a good thing, but the more you play in front of people, the less this is an issue, I think.

  4. Jodie permalink
    May 14, 2006 10:42 pm

    It’s taken me a long time to get better with my nerves. I used to let them take over the performance, but now I think I’ve figured out a way to hone them and use them to energize the performance like Jennifer said. Thanks for sharing you experiences.

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