Hey, Nebraska's here.

“Hey, Nebraska’s here.” Jack Kloecker, music education major

We most certainly are here and we plan to go BIG. Congratulations to our CMB snare line for doing well at the PASIC international competition on November 9. For complete article, go to http://www.dailynebraskan.com/news/cornhusker-marching-band-snare-line-competes-at-pasic/article_8bcc79dc-d3ee-11e7-9d76-77b8648791b0.html

As I read this article, and how confident the musicians were about their performance, that they were “in the zone”, it prompted me to think about dealing with my personal performance anxiety. At the opening of every year, when I talk with the 1st year music students, I usually tell them something like, “If you can do any other profession than music, I mean ANYTHING, then please change your major, because music is a difficult, challenging profession. It can be frustrating, it can be discouraging, but it can also yield the greatest rewards, accomplishments, even friendships, that no other profession can offer." 

I have horrible stage fright. I sometimes HATE, absolutely despise, performing. I prefer practicing. I can practice 8 hours a day and be quite content. I enjoy the music-making, preparation, musical puzzles we must solve, the rehearsals, the camaraderie of a chamber ensemble, blah blah blah… I am not wise enough to offer anything, but I can simply offer opinions, and what I’ve done to combat my own emotional demons about performance anxiety, which you can take or leave. 

I left music for 3 years to go to consider other career options—H.S. teacher, law school, hotel management, etc. In retrospect, a large part of my decision to leave music for that time was a fear of performing.

If you choose to perform music, then my first advice is DON’T DO DRUGS.  What I mean are beta blockers which many musicians use to “calm” their nerves. It only leads to more problems.  While beta blockers are not usually addictive, I admit I used prescription beta blockers once during a competition, and hated every second of it. During the performance, my playing felt boring, flat, but it WAS virtually note perfect. I didn’t feel like myself.  After I was eliminated in the second round, a judge told me, “I loved your playing, particularly the Mozart, in the first round, but what happened in the second? You were boring.” I never used them again.

So, how did/do I combat my nerves? This question will be answered in my next blog. Go Big Red!