Years ago there was a Canadian TV personality named Art Linkletter (1912-2010) who was famous in Hollywood for interviewing kids. His show “Kids Say the Darndest Things” was not only incredibly funny and entertaining, it gave all the adults a chance to step back and really listen to the way kids think. As a private piano teacher, examiner and adjudicator I have the privilege of hearing children think aloud on a daily basis. Often, I hear comments that are simultaneously hysterically funny and pedagogically enlightening!
Recently a young teenager about to begin her performance quickly turned to me and said expressively, “I’m not USED to thinking and NOW I AM; and it’s MAKING me NERVOUS.” In my mind, I was howling with laughter while I thought A+ for honesty; A+ for discovering the power of thought; A+ for discovering that preparing for a performance without much thought contributes to performance anxiety; A+ for bravely telling me and giving me the chance to make a quick reassuring comment; A+ for carrying on with the performance; and A++ for the examination process for giving the student such a valuable learning experience.
As a performer, I happen to feel very comfortable on stage. Why? The best way I know to insure one stays calm, cool and collected on stage is to think a lot during the preparation process. That’s probably why my students complain that I make them think too much. It's okay because we laugh a lot too. I also find knowing the difference between practicing to improve and practicing to perform is key. The magic recipe of quality and quantity of practicing is an art. And most of all, it is important to remember learning never stops. So have fun embracing the challenge of making great music!!
P.S. Did you know that astronauts have to train the same way as musicians? Ask retired Canadian astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield.
Stay tuned for my next Blog: "My Tummy feels Funny."
© Copyright 2014 by Heidi Peters. All rights reserved. Winnipeg, Canada.