The Benefits of Performance
For the average person the idea of standing in front of a room of people, eyes shifted directly on you, expectedly waiting in silence is a daunting prospect to say the very least. For me this has never really been the case. It isn’t as though I’m a typically loud, outgoing and energetic person by nature, but rather my early introduction to performing music in front of people has assisted me to this state. So early an introduction in fact, I actually can’t pin-point my first performance.
Reports from those close to me however seem to recount it was my kindergarten nativity play, absolutely nailing a vocal solo as one of the three wise-men, draped in re-used linen robes and a bejewelled crown atop my 5-year-old head. As embarrassing as this is for me, and wildly humorous it is for family to produce the photos and short snippets of video at every family event, it was indeed the beginnings of a huge progression in confidence for me that has aided me through a vast range of situations and tasks in my life. Continued performances at assemblies in primary and high school, and my private music tuition has made speeches and exams in high school a breeze. Presentations through my bachelors and master’s degrees a piece of cake. And given me an air of confidence in job interviews and other professional scenarios. I don’t get nervous or anxious for these tasks, giving me an ability to think clearer in high pressure situations than others that haven’t had the same opportunities I have.
As previously mentioned I can’t remember my first performance, however I can remember the first time I appreciated how much performance has assisted me. It was first day of my HSC exams, English paper 1. I amble down the path to the senior area of my high school to see the majority of my cohort in various states of panic.
Frantic studying of notes, hysterical conversations with friends about how much of the syllabus they remembered, to those sitting silently with headphones on seemingly staring into an apocalyptic abyss. I immediately wondered why I was able to keep such a clear, calm mind. Was Darwin’s theory of evolution correct and I, as a superior being somehow managed to dodge nerves and anxiety altogether? Or had 13 years of performing guitar and singing in front of people given me confidence in more situations than I had previously thought? Most probably the latter.
Being the next Prince or Madonna is not the only instance where regular musical performance can be justified as beneficial. I am forever grateful the opportunities that my musical tutors and teachers gave me in performance, and will use the skills obtained through these experiences in many circumstances throughout my career and day to day life.