Anxiety is experiencing failure in advance.
For organists it means something like this:
- I will freeze and panic when others will be watching me play.
- My fingers and feet will press the wrong keys which in turn will lead to even more mistakes.
- My congregation will not be happy with this innovative hymn harmonization.
- I will forget half of the piece while playing from memory.
- I will not be able to turn pages for myself during the performance.
- I will surely mess up registration changes because they are too complicated.
- I'm not good with music theory and harmony.
- My improvisation will be boring and meaningless.
- Compose music? No, I don't have any good ideas.
Seth suggests another path:
Experiencing success in advance.
How about this:
- When others will be watching me play, I will feel such a great joy because they are cheering for me. They want to be changed. It's a privilege like no other.
- If I make a mistake, I will repeat it several times. In no way I will try to cover it up. On the contrary, I will build on it. This is a great way to spice up the music a little and find out what kind of musical adventure awaits me around the corner.
- My congregation consists of smart people. Therefore they will see this innovative hymn harmonization in the light of the text of the hymn stanza they are singing and will appreciate it even more so. The more it will spark discussions after service, the better. Boring things will never get noticed. Boring things don't change people. Only remarkable do.
- If I forget half of the piece while performing from memory - no big deal. I will improvise the ending in the same style. In fact, in the middle of the piece I will consciously stop playing what's written and start improvising and developing into a longer piece. Old masters did it all the time. If it worked for them, it will work for me, too.
- If I get into trouble while turning a page myself, I will again improvise a section with one hand and smoothly turn the page with the other hand.
- Who said the registration changes have to be decided in advance? I will change such stops which I feel be interesting at that moment. Turn a piece into an organ demonstration.
- Music theory and harmony is a wonderful exploration. They can seem boring and useless only when I don't apply them practice. Instead, I will experiment with one new scale, mode, interval, or chord a day (or a week).
- My improvisation doesn't have to be complex, advanced, and long. I know three-note major and minor chords. It's amazing how complex, advanced, and colorful they sound in many combinations, textures, and registrations.
- I don't have to compose like Buxtehude, Bach, Widor, Durufle, Franck or any other master, living or dead. I want to be myself. Therefore everything that comes out from my head is unique and priceless (actually, it doesn't really come out of my head. I just let this creative energy of the Universe flow through me).
It works, when you write it down. I can't wait to hear about your next adventure (and the one after that).