Earlier today I had the pleasure of performing at the Dodson Series Concert (these are concerts held once a month in the Dodson Room in Irving K. Barber Learning Centre), and I’m happy to report that all of the performances (all by UBC Music students) went very well!
Like pretty much anyone ever, I get a bit nervous before I play. I used to get a lot more nervous than I do now, but with every performance I gain better control over my adrenalin. As I sat down at the harp, I took a deep breath in, imagined the first few bars as I wanted them to sound, and then began to play. I knew that I had that piece down cold. I’d practiced well, and I had just played it in the dress rehearsal, and nothing was going to go wrong. One of the most important things I think I did today was keep breathing while I played – it’s easy to forget when you’re nervous, and not breathing makes it very easy to get tense and tired which can sabotage your playing.
I finished the piece, and I don’t even remember playing a wrong note. I stood up, smiled, and bowed, letting the applause wash over me. After pouring all that energy out into the audience, it felt so good to feel all the appreciative energy of the audience come back to me. A few people came up to me afterwards to congratulate me on my performance and let me know how much they enjoyed it. I think those people who come up afterwards are my favourite part of performing; knowing I’ve played in a way I’m proud of makes me feel great, but knowing that I’ve been able to connect with and inspire another person so much that they want to come up and thank me for it makes me feel amazing.