Why is it that we can be so caught up in what other people think of us that it informs our life? As artists, why do we feel the need to perform? Like Sally Fields said, “You really like me!” We crave affirmation and attention.
But I think this is misguided. And a true artist doesn’t perform for the accolades. She performs because she HAS to. It is her truth. But how powerful the ego can be in getting in the way of the craft. We worry so much about the performance that we forget about the truth underneath it.
In college, I performed the Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor, Opus 54, at a concerto/aria competition. The year before I had competed with a Mozart concerto but didn’t win. This performance was different. I remember diving into the piece and feeling guided by the composer. I had an out of body experience where I was watching my performance and feeling it as if it was part of me. This had never happened to me, as I was in the past so worried about impressing the judges by having a “good performance.” I was able to get out of my way, truly get out of my brain, and just BE in the music. Let the music be the impetus and my body the conduit. It transformed my playing, it transformed my performance.
I, along with two others, won the competition, and was able to perform the concerto with the orchestra. It was one of only a few transformational moments in my life.
Which leads me to question:
What happens when we stop performing and just BE?
What happens if we focus on the art instead of the performance?
Have you ever experienced anything like this?