A Tip From a Teacher: Nerves vs. Self-Worth

I paced back and forth while scanning the crowd of familiar faces. It was Thursday, again. I had to perform my sonata from memory, and my nerves were off the charts. Every Thursday, the music department held a student recital to provide an opportunity for student musicians to practice performing. For this performance, I had invited my dad. He took work off early, and made the trip 45 minutes south to watch me.

At my turn, I sat on the piano bench, and tried frantically to remember the first part to the sonata. Adrenaline rushed through my body, and my mind raced. As I started the sonata, my mind went blank and my hands failed to remember the notes. Abruptly, I ended the piece, bowed and left the stage.

Back in my pew, I cried while leaning against my dad. I had failed in front of my peers, teachers and my parent. In that moment, I wished I could disappear.

Have you ever experienced a similar feeling? Failure does not sit well with anyone. Not one person alive looks forward to failing. But, in my experience, I learned something incredibly valuable.

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My performance does not dictate my value and worth as a person.

Unfortunately, as musician, from a young age I let each performance dictate my worth. My nerves and stress sky rocketed before each performance because I was about to learn how much I was really worth. But, after failing in front of my peers, teachers and parent, no one said anything to me about my failure; not even my private teacher.

Instead, they extended grace and encouragement. I was still of value.

So, if you are nervous before a performance, think about this: If I make a mistake, am I still loved and valued? Will my parents and friends still think I’m wonderful? Will I still love myself if I make a mistake?

Any mistake that you make while playing the piano, should never tell you that you are worth less, or thought of less.  You are loved and valued, and no amount of wrong notes or rhythms will ever change that.

-Miss Erica

Miss Erica teaches piano lessons in Shoreline, WA and surrounding towns. For more information, please see her website athttp://www.missericaspianostudio.org!

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