Performance Anxiety: The Hobgoblin of Perfection

piano-ology-performance-anxiety-the-hobgoblin-of-perfection-featured-photo-by-david-shvangiradze-on-unsplash Photo by David Shvangiradze on Unsplash

Who would suggest that a mispronounced word or two or occasional hesitation ruins an otherwise articulate and eloquent speech?

Likewise, why should an occasional missed note or hitch in rhythm ruin an otherwise artistic musical performance?

“Perfection”, whatever that means, may happen on occasion. Enjoy it when it does, but do not let it torture you when it doesn’t. In fact, thinking that we can make perfection happen is part of the problem.

And so, let’s all breath a huge sigh of relief by accepting that we are all imperfect members of the human race.

This lesson is so vitally important that it is worth repeating out loud:

Nobody’s perfect!
Nobody!
N-O-B-O-D-Y!
Not you… not me… nobody!

Not even the best of the best!
Making mistakes is a natural part of being human.
Got it?
Good!

But let’s not stop with merely forgiving our imperfections. Let’s take a moment to give ourselves some credit, too… by realizing that playing a musical instrument is an absolutely amazing accomplishment. Even an imperfect performance of the simplest music is an astounding feat of intelligence, dexterity, coordination, memory, awareness, and emotion… a celebration of many wondrous things so essential to our humanity.

So, next time you are performing and make a mistake (this will happen), instead of going to the miserable place that screams “I suck! I am such a failure! What a poor excuse for a human being!”, simply shrug, smile, and think think to yourself “Oops! I made a boo boo!” and keep on going like nothing ever happened!

learn more… A Word about Beta-Blockers

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