Thursday, 19 May 2011

Performance anxiety...

Oh well, nothing new about this... Any musician forum is full of posts about performance anxiety, and I have to say that I'm one of those suffering from it. Yesterday we had an audition for other teachers and guitar students at the Conservatoire.

Performance anxiety recipe

  1. A naturally shy person.
  2. A difficult piece, above the level in which he/she feels confident.
  3. No (or very few) prior public performances.
  4. Discerning public (teachers and students of the same instrument, who will easily recognize when you are doing something wrong).
  5. (Optional) Arrange the performance program so that the previous player is a very competent one that plays effortlessly and with clearly no performance anxiety.
  • A blotched performance

Yes, that is more or less what happened to me yesterday (playing Villa-Lobos Etude 1, perhaps a bit better overall than my recorded version, which was a bit slow and not very musical). The performance was not horrible: I didn't blank out, I didn't have to restart the piece or any bars, and the piece sounded more or less OK, but with some clear mistakes, and without a great sound (specially for barre chords, my weakest point even in the comfort of my studio), and most importantly for me, without really enjoying the experience.

The plan to improve this: get out and play in front of people as much as possible (though this will be difficult due to timetable constraints), and try to read about it and possible ways to improve. Recommended books about this:

Inner Game of Music
Performing in the Zone

Will report back....

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