This last Sunday, I invited some neighbors over for a concert. I was so nervous. My neighbors were so kind. They encouraged me to breathe and relax. I think I have identified a theme. My horse trainer always tells me to breathe. My piano teacher always tells me to breathe and my neighbor had to remind me to breathe during my concert. Breathe. Simple but not easy.
Breathe. It is a function my body does naturally without effort. It is a function that exists without judgment. It is something that grounds and relaxes me. It is also one of the most difficult things to remind myself to do when I get nervous and when I start judging myself. Those are the very times I need to breathe. I appreciate the people in my life who are bold enough to remind me to pause for a minute.
I have a lot to learn about playing for people. I need to learn to stop judging the sound that comes out. I do the work and now I have to figure out how to allow it to stand on its own. Now that sounds simple and I know that many people will not understand how nervous I get when I play. I have played all my life but I have always had trouble playing in front of people.
Even as a child I remember sweating, I remember my fingers slipping off the keys. I have met people who have stopped playing the piano because of recitals. That makes me sad. I am not saying that I Know how to overcome anxiety, but music touches people deeply and loosing that connection is just sad. I believe that music heals. It heals the musician first and her audience second. Breathe. It may be the best advice I have ever received.
I am going to continue to remind myself to breathe. I am going to continue to stop judging my playing when I am performing. I what makes this hard is that I have judge my music when I practice which means, I have to shift gears when I perform……and I need to breathe!