When I perform, there are two voices going on in my head. One is encouraging, focusing on the beauty of the music and that I can make this piece sing. The other is worrying, putting emphasis on the fact that I don’t know this piece well enough and that I’ll mess up any second. I’ve tried getting rid of the second voice entirely and yet it always appeared.
That’s when I realized the harsh truth. Sorry to break it to you, but that second voice will always be there when you perform. The second voice is part of our “fight or flight” instincts. The second voice wants us to choose “flight” so that we can get out of the performance limelight and get back to our safe desks so we can safely peruse safe statuses on Safebook. But that’s not what music is about.
So what is there to do if we can’t get rid of it? We dance with it. The encouraging voice, the one that wants to make music, the real you, is still there. It has to lead the second voice like a seasoned ballroom dancer. The second voice will have its doubts, saying that she’s not a good dancer and has two left feet, but the first voice has to quell them, letting the second voice know that “We got this”.
Sometimes feet will be stepped on, absolutely. The fact of the matter is, however, that we’ve went a step in the right direction of leading our worries with our burning passion to make music. And that is beautiful.