With just less than a week away from the concert, I thought I might share just a little insight and hopefully give some encouragement to all the students and parents about performing on stage.

Performing isn’t always easy. For many, it can be a very scary, nerve racking and challenging experience. To tell you the truth, even after 20 years of performing, I still get nervous and anxious about performing. In fact, many of my students or even friends of mine who are musicians even say that it sometimes even gets harder as you get older to perform. This nervousness and anxiety seems to stem from a combination of self-consciousness and self-doubt, which we all have experienced at one point in our lives due to the way society impacts us.

Top reasons why students don’t like performing are: “What if I make a mistake?” or “What if I don’t play as good as in the lesson?” or “What if I’m not good compared to others that play?” I understand these are all valid reasons, but to each one I answer with, “who cares?” Who really does care if you make a mistake? The audience will still love your performance as long as you put your heart and effort into your performance.

I remember my old violin teacher told me one of his experiences with a father of one of his students many years ago. The student played wonderfully at one of his student concerts and at the end of the concert my teacher went to congratulate her. “Superb performance!” he said, “You played wonderfully, well done!” Her dad standing next to her immediately commented, “Oh, but she made a mistake!”

Its funny how to the father, the mistakes seemed like they were the most important thing to him, but perhaps neglected the true artistry and the achievement that was displayed during her performance.

Think of it this way, if you were to do a math test and the test had 100 questions, even if you got 2 or 3 questions wrong on the test, would you not still end up with at least a 97% result? Which according to most marking schemes, is an A+ or a high distinction. In that piece of music she played there are probably more than 1000 notes on the page. Each of them she played beautifully and correctly except for maybe one or two notes. Does she not deserve an A+ or high distinction?

Although we want to strive to perfect the piece we perform as much as possible and we should work hard in doing so, sometimes it’s more important to focus on the bigger picture of the music we perform. It’s a display of countless hours of practice dedicated to a certain piece.

It’s about the beauty and artistry of the whole performance, even with mistakes included. It’s an opportunity to gain and build confidence you otherwise would not get in other every day activities. If you can perform in front of 50, 60 or even 100 people, doesn’t it make it easier to just play in front of 1 person in your music exam?

I applaud all the students that have signed up for the recitals, for taking a big step into building their confidence. We all look forward to a beautiful Saturday afternoon to hear what each and every student has to display.

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