Updated: Aug 26
As a performer, I always want to play well. It feels good to play well. But inevitably little things come up... the question is what will I do with those mistakes?
There was a time in my past when a little mistake would have completely crippled me. In my mind, I'd dwell on it and since I would then be distracted, I'd end up making more mistakes and everything would just spiral out of control. For me, the secret to combating nerves is thinking of the music. When I hear the the tune and character of the music in the my head (and not that little voice telling me what I've already messed up), I have something to direct my mind to... freeing me to perform joyfully, rather than fearfully!
I perform regularly for a variety of events with Cairn Music, enjoy collaborating with other chamber musicians for concerts, annually perform a solo recital, and starting this fall I'll be providing music on piano for the Community Bible Study in Estes Park.
What is the goal of each performance? Well, it depends... here are some possibilities:
Create a friendly & welcoming environment for a special event
Bless the couple with a special arrangement during the processional at their wedding ceremony
Transition from one part of the service to the next
Introduce audiences to new styles of music
Provide background music while guests look at art
Prepare the listeners for the message they are about to hear
Tell a story through music
Connect with people through music they know and love
None of the goals I just presented, require perfection. By letting that go, I'm free to make music... which is SO much more than the notes and rhythms! After my last solo recital, some audience members expressed that they enjoyed my introductions to the pieces almost as much as the music. That comment brought me so much joy, because I knew that they were able to connect with the music. I had accomplished one of my goals for the evening!
Without mistakes? No! But with joy and freedom - mostly, by focusing on the music and sharing that with my audience.
If our goal is perfection, we'll nearly always be disappointed. If aim to tell a story, connect with our audience, or share a beautiful piece of music, we'll nearly always be successful!