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Concert Pianists And Dreaded Mood Swings

Apr 8, 2008
"I just gave a great concert. I thought I was on top of the world and yet, here I am, three days later, feeling sad and apathetic. Do I need a psychiatrist? Am I a freak?"

Of course you're not. Let down feelings after a concert performance (even a successful one) are completely normal. How you deal with these feelings determine your level of emotional awareness and professionalism. Here's how not to deal with let-down feelings from an isolated concert event that you have given:

"I worked so hard for my concert. What do I do now? I'm too lazy to start learning new stuff."

The above quote deals with a professional's worst enemy... laziness. Remember that you are not in a position to be lazy in your given profession. There's too much out there to learn.

"Maybe I need a long vacation. I guess my inner child is crying out to me saying: 'Stop pushing so hard.' Poor, tired me... poor, poor tired me!"

If you are a professional that has just completed a huge tour, then you are probably in need of some babying and/or a vacation. However, a couple of concerts shouldn't really exhaust you to the point of feeling that an all inclusive Hawaii vacation is your only resort for physical and mental recovery.

"I did make some mistakes in my concert, even though I played well. I wish I didn't. I hate it when I'm not perfect. Perhaps that's why I'm so sad".

We are not machines. The word 'perfect' should be taken with a grain of salt. Trying your best is far healthier than seeking perfection. Worrying obsessively about mistakes of the past, or potential future difficulties, leads to a road of misery and non-productivity.

So how does a performer combat these negative feelings that occasionally surface in a post-concert situation? Here are some suggestions:

1. Immediately start a new project after a major event. True, you should enjoy the high of a post-concert event. Go for dinner or celebrate a good performance with family or friends. However, as soon as the high feeling is over, get to work.

2. Do not feel like you have worked harder than other concert pianists in preparing for a concert. Everyone is in the same boat. Occasionally, you will find performers who can learn and prepare for concerts quicker than you can. Big deal! Most of us have to work hard. It's normal.

3. Do not over-worry about what went wrong. It's silly to obsess about mistakes that are over and done with. Think of concerts as learning experiences. Apply those experiences to your next project. Whatever went wrong will be improved upon in your next concert.

4. When getting back to work, try remembering the basics such as goal setting, seeing small improvements as a source of inspiration, and collecting as much inner patience as possible in coping with the long process of learning new pieces.

No matter how well you play your instrument or how experienced you are on the concert circuit, you're not totally immune to feelings of let-down. After all, it takes months and months to prepare a proper concert program. Then, in a blink of an eye, the whole event is over. This often leaves performers thinking: "That's it... all that practice and that's it?"

The trick is to catch yourself becoming emotionally stagnant or depressed and reversing your situation through some of the steps outlined in this article. Education and self-motivation are truly wonderful qualities in successful stage performers.
About the Author
Come and join Daniel E. Friedman at www.musicmasterstudios.com for assistance in music education and comprehension.
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