On being present

I’m struggling a bit with the solo I am preparing for our bell choir concert. I can play the piece perfectly, but it has become a bit stale for me, and I’m making random mistakes each time. The mistakes are always different. Someone suggested to me that I am not in the moment enough, that I’m distracted. I think this is probably correct.

I’ve been doing a bit of reading about how to be “in the moment” for a performance, and I found this piece by David Leisner enormously interesting: Six Golden Rules for Conquering Performance Anxiety.

I like rule number two the best:

Do not judge what just happened or is about to happen. Self-judgment during a performance is futile because it takes you out of the present and into the past or future and destroys the natural flow of your thoughts and physical actions. Whether the judgment is positive or negative, it introduces a verbal aspect into an activity that is most successful when it is non-verbal.

Although rule number four probably speaks more directly to my problem:

Be on stage, not in the audience. Be in the giving mode, not the receiving one. Be in the music, in the moment. These are three ways of saying more or less the same thing. You cannot be performer and listener at the same time. Leave the response to the audience.

The entire piece is worth reading, and probably applies to most artistic endeavors, not just music.

Posted on October 12th, 2009 by Katxena