Recently I was asked to play for the graduation ceremony at Vilnius University which will happen the next Wednesday. I planned all new pieces that I've either never played before or didn't touch for at least a few years.
So I started practicing them on my home organ and a couple of days ago decided to have a test play at the church. Unfortunately another graduation ceremony was about to happen and instead of rehearsing, I ended up performing for hundreds of people that day. I didn't choose to improvise on purpose, I just wanted to experience the feeling of playing in public music that I thought I'm not ready to perform yet.
So in a way it was a test for me. Kind of like an experiment. One side of me had to do the subjective part of performing and another - sort of looking at the situation objectively and discovering how I felt.
I felt quite helpless. I felt afraid. I felt scared out of my mind and risking everything. I knew hundreds of people downstairs are listening to me.
What kept me going was that I realized there was no one to save me, kept reminding myself that I'm a professional at this, and then I resolved not to stop.
So if you are ever put in a situation like I was when you have to face the music and play unfamiliar pieces that you thought you are not yet ready to perform in public, my main advice for you is not to stop no matter what. Regardless how you feel, regardless how scared you are. Just keep pounding those keys until you hit the end of the piece.
And don't forget to breath. Notice I don't tell you not to be afraid. Breathing will help you to avoid panic.
Just breath and keep going.
[This post was written by Ausra]