Occasions or Events replace fear with purpose

This morning I had the pleasure of recording the South West of England’s finest organists and accompanists playing 2 hymns and the National Anthem for the forth coming remembrance day services. Afterwards, I took the chance to ask Colin Hunt had he always been a confident performer. He answered that he got so nervous when he was younger that he had gone into hospital because he had made himself so ill with nerves about a music competition he had entered as a child. He pointed out a few things that made him change his outlook on nerves and how it was replaced by a love for occasions and events. Colin said that he always wanted the audience or congregation to go away thinking, “that meant something to me” whatever the occasion or event. This focus took away from nerves and replaces it with a bigger picture view. I asked him to recall the time where his nerves just were not there and he recounted a time where he played the organ at the Cortson Hall in Bristol for 3500 people and from the stage, he could see little ant like people milling around which made it seem unreal and mesmerising. The event was a carol service and again, the event or occasion was more important than nerves and the bigger picture won over. It is a familiar picture of trumping fear with something more meaningful. Colin also pointed out that performances were always short when you are playing and that they are over before you know it. So even if it is uncomfortable, the performance will not be more than temporary.
Planning and taking control of the material you play also helps to move fear towards aspiration and fulfillment and thinking about the role that others play in the proceedings can give us a healthier perspective of what we have to do ourselves. Interesting thoughts from Bath’s Busiest organist.
Clive Stocker

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About clivemusic

I have taught music, enabling musicians to be confident about performing for over 20 years. I also train teachers and trainers to be confident in the classroom. Keyboard, piano and composing, arranging and singing are my musical loves. I love performing and play Jazz with a Quartet and also sing and direct my own Barbershop Quartet called The Sherlock Combs. I used to be an incredibly nervous performer, suffering from stage fright and through teaching music and learning many mind training techniques, come with me on a journey to confident performing.
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