Friday, April 8, 2016

     “They say,” “It has been said,” “Research proves,” “Everyone knows that.” Who are “they?” Who was the “it” that said? “Whose research? There is nothing that everyone knows, everyone knows that.  How many times have we read or heard these words when someone is trying to make a point? The point is that it doesn’t matter who said what, based on whatever or whoever knows what; the point is that when we are trying to make a point, we will use whatever we want to prove it. So what’s the point? The point is that there are certain events or situations in life that have been suggested to cause great stress. I am now facing several of them at once, wondering why I feel tense. Hmm. Let’s look at them: 1. Speaking before a large audience 2. Acting before a large audience 3. Playing the piano before a large audience 4. Moving to a new state where I know almost no one 5. Watching my body age daily. I am not looking for sympathy by any means; just reasons for the tension and an instant solution to prevent a total meltdown which will crease my face and threaten my resolve.

     In my amateur research over the past week, I have learned  more than one important lesson. I share these with you, hoping that if you can’t use them now, you will put this list in your “look-at-this-someday-when-I’m-bored” file.

1.  Musical performance is not about the performer; it’s about the music.
2.  Most people want you to succeed.
3.  Most people don’t have the courage to stand before an audience.
4.  Most people admire performers just for having the guts to put themselves out there.
5.  Performing is the most vulnerable we can be. 
6.  Our inner critic is the enemy; not the audience.
7.  Moving is not for the feint of heart.
8.  Aging has gone viral, and there’s no way to escape it. We’re all in this together.
9.  Oatmeal and camomile help.
10. Breathing and physical exercise work best.

     Whether your performance is on stage, on a tennis court, in your kitchen, on the first tee or starting a 10-hour drive to visit your grandma, there will always be a certain degree of tension or anxiety. If you’re human, you will feel it. If you’re weak, you’ll avoid it. If you’re strong, you will survive it and your confidence will soar. What performance is on your agenda this week?