About Stage Fright

Whether being a musician or not, how does one feel about performing music in front of people? It is terrifying, isn’t it? I understand the terrible feeling, because I experienced it a few times. It was during a chapel service at Asbury University when I performed in front of people “The Fireworks” by Debussy. Months before the chapel service, I practiced the piece several times using my listening skills until I was set and memorized the piece. The day came. As I started and continue to perform the piece, I remember feeling very insecure, which grew into cold feet, and the cold sensation started rising up towards my knees. I recall skipping a few measures of the middle section of this piece, because I had a memory lapse. This experience felt like receiving a bite from a poisonous snake without even knowing that happened. Afterwards, I went to my piano teacher’s office on campus, and told him how I felt. From then on, I learned the lesson that memory by listening is not always dependable. Therefore, analyzing a piece for memorization is more practical, because this action will help create a mental map in one’s memory. Though there is no guarantee of a perfect performance, there will be a feeling of peace, knowing that the work was done.

Author: Daniel Tsukamoto
Photo by oldskool photography on Unsplash

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1 thought on “About Stage Fright”

  1. Dear Daniel,
    I know the feeling very well from my singing time. I once sang a recital. It went really well. The next song came up. And I did not have any clue about which song was coming now. My pianist started playing. Still, no memory came back.
    And then some magic happened and my voice automatically started singing the right words and notes. I still don’t have an idea how it happened…

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