You're at gathering with other musicians, some musicians are playing some are listening. As you take it all in, an uneasy feeling creeps up, then someone asks you (que horror music) to play, and that feeling suddenly envelopes you. As you look around at the musicians, you realize that feeling is Dread and it invited Intimidated along. You think “I'm not as good as these other musicians,” “I'm going to embarrass myself,” You politely try to decline and hope your let off the hook...
Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.
- Theodore Roosevelt
I think we have all been there, probably more times then we would like to admit. I know I have. Well I have 6 reasons why you should say yes!
1. Remember,other musicians are just like you: Try not to let your internal fear put other musicians on a pedestal before you have given them the chance to give encouragement and compassion. They have all felt like you, and if you are truly happy being a musician it will shine through (I know it sounds cheesy but it's true) 2. Every Musicians Journey is different: take a deep breath and stop comparing yourself to other musicians. Enjoy where you are on your journey and use that enjoyment to push through that feeling of dread. Allow other musicians support you and be apart of your journey. 3. Think (not too hard) What's the worst that can happen?: Honestly, what is the worst thing that can happen? OK, You just might make a mistake, so what, every musician makes mistakes. Every musician is vulnerable when performing and they haven't died from it.
Because one believes in oneself, one doesn't try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn't need others' approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her. ― Lao Tzu
4. Think, What's the best that could happen?: Well, the list of good outways the bad. You will gain experience, make new friends, bring joy to other musicians, bring joy to yourself, and encourage another musician to get out there! I could go on, but I digress. 5. Play what you Love: When we talk about something we love and find great pleasure we light up. The effect is the same if not more intense when we play pieces we love. Your audience will feel your pleasure and happiness. It's also much easier to overcome nerves when you play a piece that you can lose yourself in. 6. Remember your accomplishments: Don't compare your accomplishments, but think of where you were and where you are now. You are allowed and should be happy about how far you have come.
The next time that feeling of dread shows up remember these 6 reasons to say yes and play on.
Your Happy Musician