Self-Confidence in Performances

During my 2011 violin recital, I was very scared, missed a couple of notes, and afterward was convinced I had done a terrible job.

A couple of weeks ago I watched the video of this particular recital. To my great astonishment, I saw that the song I played was not perfect, but overall it sounded amazing. I realized that an audience is not there to critique, and even though they might notice mistakes, they will appreciate the beautiful thing you have just brought into their world.

I recently went to my brother’s bass recital. The first performer seemed very nervous and he missed the last note of his song. He was so sad. I imagine that he felt like I did after my 2011 recital. But what he didn’t realize was that no one cared about his wrong note. The rest of his song was great, and we all understood that it takes a lot of courage to get up in front of people you don’t know and play your instrument.

How Can We Gain Self-Confidence?

  • Attitude.  I believe that our attitude greatly affects the way we perform. In one part of a TED Talk I watched, the speaker explained how if you stand in front of a mirror with your feet apart, your hands on your hips, and your shoulders thrown back for three minutes, your self-confidence will boost. It affects the chemistry of your brain and helps nervous energy lose its grip. I call this the Superman Pose.
  • Conscious Practice. Whether you have a recital coming up or you are acting in a play, practice is a guaranteed way to become confident. Consciously practice your recital piece or your part in the play so much that you could do it in your sleep. Then when stage anxiety comes, it will not be able to stop you from performing well.
  • Positive Self Talk. This works well with the superman pose or really anytime, anywhere. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” This really applies here. We believe what we tell ourselves. Never engage in negative self talk. The negative things stick just as much as the positive.

Just remember that a performance will never be perfect. But with self-confidence, it can feel perfect.


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