As the Adjudicator, I always attempt to create the most positive experience possible, regardless of the level of student’s preparation and the final outcome. Smiling I responded slowly, “Does it feel the same as if you were going to do something exciting like go to a birthday party… or maybe go on a trip?” The youngster replied, wiggling his fingers in front of his tummy, “Not… exactly. It’s feels a BIT different.”
In order to ensure that his first evaluation experience was going to be the best possible, I needed to teach him a stress management skill in seconds! I immediately responded with as much enthusiasm as possible, “Oh, YOU have SMART juices in your tummy. That’s GOOD! Those juices will help your brain be even SMARTER than NORMAL. The ONLY time those juices DON’T work is if you’re SCARED of them.”
Obviously the young pianist was experiencing the effects of adrenaline. The only way to harness the adrenaline before the phase of Flight, Fight or Freeze kicked in was to somehow convince him to embrace the feeling with confidence and keep breathing normally. Cheerily he said, “O-kay.” And the performance began.
After the entire evaluation process was done, the student remarked with a big grin, “It WORKED!!
If we fret as adults about exposing children to stressors, then how can we teach them the crucial coping mechanisms and help them gain, as a consequence, much needed self-confidence?
Stay tuned for my next Blog, "I only Play for Myself."
© Copyright 2014 by Heidi Peters. All rights reserved. Winnipeg, Canada.