Millfield Musician of the Year – Performance Nerves?

With our inaugural Millfield Musician of the Year now well and truly underway, the music department is bustling with activity and excitement! Over the course of the week, nearly 90 individual performances will take place, with many of the performers playing in a solo musical competition for the very first time.

Everyone who has come out and performed has demonstrated tremendous talent, musicality and skill, not to mention enjoyment and love for their music. But in those few moments before stepping out and wowing the adjudicator, many start to have second thoughts about what’s about to happen – what if I don’t perform to the best of my abilities? What if the crowd don’t clap at the end? Should I be doing this at all?

Performance nerves are an issue for many musicians, professionals and amateurs alike. So, how do members of the Millfield Music Department deal with them? We’ve asked some of the Music staff how best to conquer those butterflies…

Mr. Cook, Director of Music – For me, your mind is exceptionally important in performance. Before you go on stage, accept where you are and don’t worry about the elements not in your control. The moment before I start a performance, I always take a deep breath to ground myself, which helps me to do the best that I can.

Mr. Boyle, Head of Instrumental Studies – For me, the best way to control performance nerves is to perform as often as possible and experience concert environments regularly. The nerves may never go away, but you will find new ways to conquer and enjoy performances!

Ms. Barry, Head of Academic Music – Accept that nerves are there – I still get them now! Don’t give up – the more experience you get, the more you’ll learn to cope. Talk to others about them; don’t be ashamed about feeling nervous. Occupy your mind, think positively!

Mr. Hughes, Head of Strings – Preparation is everything; you have to be in control of everything you can be in control of. Be as perfect as you can be in the practice room and try to replicate what you will do in performance whilst preparing. That way, if you do lose 2% in performance due to nervous, you will still be at a high level!

Mrs. Bracey, Piano Tutor – Create routines that will settle you in the concert hall; when I felt nervous, I would spend time reminding myself where middle C was before I began! Practice preparation is crucial – be sure to record yourself and watch back your performance in order to ensure that you are always looking to improve!

Hopefully, these pearls of wisdom should help you go out and smash all music you are a part, and maybe you’ll even learn to love performances going forward!

Be sure to come down to the Johnson Hall to watch the rest of Millfield Musician of the Year – check out competition details here.

The Millfield Music School Blog provides a fantastic insight into the musical life of Millfield School – from upcoming performances to concert reviews, insights into the music performed and details of the International Concert Series, keep up to date with everything throughout the year at:

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