The Performance Mind

Hope you’re enjoying my crazy little poems- I write them as an attempt to iron out the anxieties and thoughts in my head and hope they may provide a different perspective for other artists/ musicians.

I’m aware how many people suffer from performance anxiety or stage fright and how often the remedies we are given don’t work. The picture attached caught my attention when at the Tate Britain on Saturday. I feel the different sections represent the different minds you can adopt when anxious and how everything seems disconnected and alien.

    

Trying not to care is the beginning of the end
Be aware that you do care, but that caring will make you spend

Every thought and feeling and mood on caring alone

The energy and love for the art withered and cold to the bone.

Perhaps caring wasn’t worth it-Those who give no shits

Often give the best performance And avoid all panic and fits. 

But why do those who love suffer for their art the most?

Performing is running naked, like confronting a ghost

Every part of you is on show, every ounce of what you love

And you pray the music will be there, that your preparation is enough

But nothing’s ever good enough for those who suffer from art

Things I ignored in practice suddenly tear up my heart

I worry I wasn’t true to myself and that the music wasn’t divine

I ask for reassurance from the audience, for any little sign

That I proved myself to them even if it wasn’t how my dreams play

And they tell me it was fabulous, that my playing made their day 

And sometimes they see through me and tell me it was tense

And I’ll cry and try once again to relax and make it less dense. 

When will I be able to state that playing in my room

Is just the same as a recital, an audition, my heart would go boom

But when you get up to perform you’re always torn away 

Of what calm what joy and what love you experienced yesterday

The energy is no longer focused on the love and the sound

But now on proving yourself to yourself and trying to the world

It’s only when other people watch that I dissolve to this state

Because I know they could love me too, but I’m surrounded by this hate

A hatred for exposing myself incase it goes tits up

But a hatred for not trying, even though trusting brings me luck.

Be truthful on what you love and hate and explore exactly why

The petty judgments from other people make you cry and sigh

So stop trying to stay true to your music, your art, your love

Stop caring about not caring, it’ll be easy and pleasantly pure as a dove.

  

The Artists

Yet another poem to help the days flow by and keep myself motivated on arty things! 

  



The artists learnt to love before they could draw. 

The drawing came easy, loving was the chore

Judged, destroyed, rejected, criticised

It would seem the love had gone from inside
The artists learnt to listen before they could play

The playing came easy but the listening would say

‘That was horrific- play it again’ so again they would try

But trying didn’t work so the artists would cry
The artists learnt to live before they could act

The acting was easy but the living slapped back

When most people live they don’t have to ‘do’

But the doing was the acting, so their living was too
The artists learnt to feel before they could write

The writing came easy but the feeling was… Shite 

They wrote what they felt but when feelings all were gone

They’d write someone else’s to prove nothing was wrong 
The artists learnt to smile before they could dance

The dancing came easy but the smiling was pants

A smile always expected from each pretty face

Until the smiles weren’t natural, but in a darker place
Before the art, learnt to love, listen, live, feel and smile

These things came first, their art took a while

So if their art be absent, or taken once more

True artists have all learnt how to be sure

That the love for their art will never die 

However deep it goes, it will return to fly high

But should the loving, listening, living, feeling and smiling hide

The artists will find what they learnt  first, what made the art, on the inside

Should I practice or should I just be?

  I am much more relaxed about my practice now a days. I have enough time to do everything and can wip out some constructive practice when needs be. But the rest of the time I’ve found to be a struggle. I understand that the time you spend mindlessly repeating a certain phrase can translate into excess tension and strain but this is a comfortable solution. Being constantly ‘constructive’ and ‘alert’ is a difficult mindset which is easy to wander off from.

I think I’ve discovered that just like when you’re leaning to meditate, it’s important to set an intention but not criticise your mind for wandering off. Conversely, bringing the attention back to your intentions whilst having a heightened awareness. 

Perhaps it’s better to only practice when you feel like it, but often I’m convinced we aren’t to sure what we feel like. I’ve decided that if I’ve taken out my cello, began to practice for ten minutes and still have no desire, then I can resign my attempts and return later with a fresher mind. Simply having this trust and agreement means that I actually find myself doing that very little and that time seems to pass very quickly.

I hope you all enjoy the work you do and don’t feel discouraged if your mind wanders- it’s what it’s designed to do.

Happy being!

Hattie 😘 

 

Tension

JANNA R

Push Pull

Tense Release

Hold On – Let Go

Bounce

Down Up

You shout

I tense

I punch

You cry

You take my hand

I spin you round

Then we sing

Finally we fly

What is it – that thing flying all around

The invisible energy sound

It passes through the air

Catching us unaware

I tense up when you tap your pen

Will it someday end? when?

I slam the door

You eat ice cream more

The energy flows round the house

Like a cat chasing a mouse

You put my words in your back

Perhaps one day it will crack

I put your feelings in my gut

Feeling sick, bleeding and cut

Where can I put these feelings?

Why is it me staring at bare ceilings?

So I go for a run to blow off steam

While you go buy another tub of ice-cream

When will this madness end

Can I put…

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I’m worried that I now look boring when playing

Since addressing the impact my technique was having on my body, I discovered that much of the tension I was creating was from extreme movement of my body and head and neck. I discovered that although  I thought my movements were freeing my music, they were clearly impacting on my body in a negative way. Since this breakthrough, I’ve focused on the fundamentals of the Alexander Technique in my playing. A big part of this was releasing the tension in my neck and back to allow fluid movements in my arms. Since discovering that my sound is much more beautiful when I am stiller and the music much simpler, I’ve tried to incorporate this stillness and balance into my playing and musicality. I’ve certainly noticed a difference. The thing that scares me is how dull I look when playing in this way. I feel fantastic and far more connected with the music, though am not convinced that this is expressed to my audience. I know that prevention of injury is much more important that swaying to look pretty, but I felt comfortable moving. It’s what I’m comfortable with and what I was addicted to. Like anything, it will take take time for me to get used to my new technique and fully imprint a twinkle in my eye and smile whilst remaining stiller and yet far more sophisticated… Hopefully!