As the June EN Music Studio Recital quickly creeps up, nervous students have come to talk to me about their fear of performing and playing the piano in front of an audience. Why is it so important for students to have a chance to perform?
I used to feel this very same way about performing, especially around my teenage years. The thought of walking up in front of everyone to the piano, and performing a piece by memory was absolutely terrifying. What if I tripped? What if I forget my piece halfway? What if I play a lot of wrong notes?
The truth is that I have lived all of these nightmares and more. Sure, they were embarrassing at the moment, but they made me a better piano player. It is during a performance, when the piano player is completely in tune with himself/herself and the instrument. Under pressure of other ears, we become aware of all ten of our fingers, our postures, our pedaling, and the sounds we are creating. This is the awareness that we should always have when we are making music. By fine-tuning this awareness and sensitivity, we become better musicians. After performing many times, a student will become in control of their performance nerves, instead of letting the nerves take over. However, it is the bad experiences that will help pave the way for great performances!
For the beginner piano student taking lessons, a performance is more of an opportunity to showcase the technical work they have done. Being a beginner in any subject is never easy, and it is great for piano students to know that they have peers that are learning the same thing. Music students should always be proud of the progress they made, because that progress was earned through consistent practicing. To be able to perform a piece with the notes, rhythm, dynamics and phrasing memorized is no easy feat, and is worthy of celebration! Of course, there may be some mistakes due to nerves, but the more we practice performing, the easier it will be to get comfortable with the technical requirements of piano playing.
As my former piano teacher once said, all music is meant to be heard. Don’t just practice in solitude! Pour your heart into the music, and then share it so others may enjoy your artistry!