Performance Confidence

Confidence for a Shining Performance

Playing for others is one of the privileges of learning piano. Everyone loves to hear music, but not many people learn how to play. When we play for others, we are sharing something precious.

Yet, sometimes when we are performing, we feel under pressure and forget that our audience is just there to enjoy our music. We want to play our best, but we feel nervous and our performance is never perfect. We notice our mistakes, because we have heard every note of our pieces hundreds of times and we know how we want it to sound. An important thing to remember is that most of our audience has never heard the music we are playing they do not hear the mistakes unless we draw attention to them. If we enjoy our playing, so will our audience. So, how do we enjoy our performance?

Remember you have developed a valuable skill that not everyone has and your audience values the opportunity to hear your music they are there to enjoy, not judge.
You will make mistakes and you are your harshest critic, but you have practiced and prepared well and it is your knowledge and understanding of the music that will show.
If you lose your notes or forget where you are, keep playing. Make something up, just play with purpose and play the most beautiful chords or notes you can imagine. Be creative. Listen. Your own music is valid. If you need time to think, play long notes semibreves.
When you slip, keep smiling. Chances are nobody will notice your mistake unless you pull a face. Even if they do, if you really lose your way, your audience will be impressed by your skill and confidence if you keep smiling.
Sometimes, it is true, we make mistakes and we begin to worry. We start losing confidence and the mistakes seem to snowball. So what to do then? Instead of thinking about the music, distract yourself. Think about ANYTHING else. Go through your spelling list. Do your times tables just stop thinking about your playing and go into autopilot. If you have prepared properly, before you know it, you will have made it safely to the end of your piece without even knowing how you got there.

No matter how well you play, your audience is on your side. If you play wonderfully, almost perfectly, your audience will fall in love with your music. If you struggle and make mistakes, your audience will become your cheer squad holding their breath, cheering you on to the finish line, admiring you for your courage. Whether a stunning performance or a genuine effort, everyone will be glad to be your audience.