Performance Anxiety

Recital weekend is HERE. Oh my god.

If I think about it too hard my body starts to feel like a live wire.

For the past month I have been playing for roughly 4-6 hours a day in order to prepare for a 40-minute solo recital. One piece I have been working on for 6 months, another for 2 months, and another for just 10 days!

I don’t really know how many people are going to show up– I’m not expecting too many. My divorced parents are coming to Michigan from two different states. My 7-year-old private student and her mom are coming. My girlfriend is coming. Maybe my housemates, too? Although, can’t be too sure about that at the moment.

Not gonna lie, I have really high expectations for myself. The recital is short and the music isn’t very challenging. I specifically chose pieces that I thought would reflect me as a person and musician. I have a very specific idea of what this recital is going to look like in my head, and I’m afraid that the end result will not reach my expectations. I am constantly reminding myself that this is supposed to be fun and not stressful.

Well, it certainly has been stressful. Consistently stressful, actually! Sometimes I am honestly in disbelief that I chose a performance career path, because performing can be a freakin’ nightmare sometimes. Anxious thoughts take over my brain whenever I think about performing, and sometimes they have a debilitating effect on my physical and emotional endurance while I’m playing. It sucks.

But lately I have had some affirming moments in the practice room and in lessons with my teacher because I have been practicing so hard. I can see my hard work pay off on a day-to-day basis and it’s really fun. I find that the more I practice, the more I feel connected to my instrument and confident about myself. I have to hold on to these thoughts as I perform on Sunday night. I have to practice hard for the next three days to make sure I am prepared.

And after this is all over? For all of April I’m gonna dedicate my time to learning Irish fiddle tunes because I’m heading to Ireland in May. I can’t explain how ready I am to relax. March has been an exhausting month. But I can’t think about that yet! Recital first! Wish me luck– I’ll report back next week.

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