Controlling Your Nerves

We had a patriotic program at church yesterday, and I was nervous. Why? For the following reasons:

1.   Patriotic music makes me very emotional, more so than even Christmas music.

2.  My concentration had been off in practice the day before, therefore I felt pressured to concentrate even more during the program.

3.   I was playing an offertory that I only play once or twice a year and had not practiced it as much as I should have.

4.   The prelude music was set for me to play with the fifth song, meaning I had to pay attention to be ready to start with the song on the CD.

Being nervous is not a new feeling for me. When I played my first offertory in church, my legs shook through the entire song! People often look surprised when I tell them that I get nervous. They say that I never look nervous or that they cannot tell that I am nervous. (That’s the point!)

I used to be concerned that I could not get over my nervousness. But after years of playing, I have a theory on nerves. There is a difference between nervousness and adrenaline. The dictionary defines nervousness as “an uneasy psychological state.” Adrenaline is defined as “a hormone…that helps the body meet physical or emotional stress.” Figuratively, adrenaline “is used in speaking of a high state of excitement.”

I look at adrenaline as a nervous excitement. Mentally, I prep myself to use the nervousness as adrenaline to give me energy as I play. The adrenaline then subconsciously gives me more stimulated concentration and focused confidence to perform.

Again, this is just my theory. I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

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