I can’t count on one hand the number of times I’ve played at a recital. I also can’t count on one hand the number of times I was nervous to perform. Performing for others is definitely not in the comfort zone for everyone. Lucky for us, it gets easier the more times we do so.
Recitals were an emotional rollercoaster for me. I was quite shy in elementary school so I often found it unsettling when a large group of people watched me play. I would be the most nervous in the minutes prior to my performance. An abundance of “what if” questions would bounce around in my head: “What if I mess up? What if my finger slips and I play the wrong note?” I doubted myself, despite the numerous hours I had spent practicing for that moment.
However, the moment I started the piece, my worries went away. My fingers fell into the right places and music poured out of the piano. It’s always a good idea to take a deep breath and trust yourself, knowing that you’ve prepared as much as you could. I would be exhilarated after my performance, feeling the load off my chest. It would instantly make me forget the nervousness I had been feeling.
After dozens and dozens of times performing, I’ve grown accustomed to playing for crowds. The stage fright rarely gets to me now. Aside from learning how to block out performance anxiety, growing up with recitals gave me the experience needed to go with the flow. I instantly picked up improvisation and accompanying others on the spot. I could feel a lightbulb going off, filling my head with ideas of the cool melodies I could create.
This was also a result of listening to others play at recitals. Recitals let us share music with others and enjoy hearing them play in return. The opportunity inspired me, and I came across new pieces that I wanted to learn! The more I attended, I saw recitals as a wonderful opportunity, rather than a nightmare.
Until next time,
Adele Nguyen, Oclef Piano Instructor