Dealing with Performance Anxiety: 2. Feeling Secure During Performance
My two tips on feeling secure during a performance are: first, prepare your repertoire to a level that “you truly know that you know”, and second, be fully involved in and focused on active and intense listening during actual performance.
To help with point one, try to break your piece into small sections and talk yourself through each of them to know what exactly is happening there (notice every detail in the score: key, harmony, texture, dynamics, etc.) and what you are “doing” in each of them (playing scale patterns/leaps/slowing down/getting louder, softer, etc.). Make sure you can play these “miniatures” perfectly well in any order.
For point two - active listening does need practising, just as everything else. If we intensely follow and listen to what and how exactly we are playing right now, this keeps us “in the moment” and helps us to be engaged with actively making music. This always feels satisfactorily creative and does not leave any space for worrying or anxiety.
Ilga Pitkevica, Principal Tutor of The Piano Teachers' Course UK
Ilga lectures extensively around the UK and Latvia on piano teaching, and on the history and teaching methods of the Russian Piano School, on which her own rigourous training was based. She also often organises masterclasses and concerts in Cambridge. These have included the annual Cambridge Piano Weekends, organised jointly with Gonville and Caius College for several years.