Earlier last semester I went a concert which included Massiaen’s Quartet For The End Of Time. The performance was okay, but the one thing I remember very clearly, beyond anything the performers did, was the looks on their faces. None of them looked as if they wanted to be there–from walk out to final bow.
The walk out, or even just the the way you prepare yourself on stage, sets the tone for your performance. I knew from the moment I saw the performers that the performance was not going to be one of those goose bump, tingly-feeling causing performances.
So smile. Walk on and prepare yourself with confidence. “But I’m not confident!” you say. It doesn’t matter. Smiling makes you look confident, and a confident looking stroll onto stage goes a long way. So does smiling and standing up between pieces and a good bow. Fake it.
Many people have said to me that I don’t look nervous on stage, that I look in control. Which is not at all true. I’m terrified. My hands shake, my heart feels like it’s going explode, and I go into this weird trance state that I can’t control. In short, it’s a good time (if you’re into that sort of thing). I’m really good at faking it–and projecting the illusion of confidence. And smiling and a good walk out has a lot to do with that.