The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Psychologist gives tips about lessening performance jitters

By Kenney Kost/managing editor

Musicians can learn to play their best by learning to overcome anxiety and understanding the psychology of performance, according to a speaker coming to NE Campus Feb. 18.

Playing Your Best, a Day with Dr. Bill Moore will run 9 a.m.-3:45 p.m. in College Hall (NCAB 1111). Seating is limited. A box lunch will be provided. To reserve a seat, contact instructional associate Patricia Asher at 817-515-6105 or at patricia.asher@tccd.edu.

Music department chair Karen Parsons said NE has had speakers on the topic of performance anxiety in the past but believes this one is different.

“Those very words [performance anxiety] are so negative and are not the whole picture,” she said. “Dr. Moore’s approach comes from knowing and practicing the necessary skills that lead to a great performance, addressing the psychology of preparation and performance.”

Just as athletes prepare and practice, musicians should practice performing, Parsons said, and TCC’s music departments are working to develop this in their students.

“Musicians must build up the physical and mental stamina to perform an entire recital or concert,” she said. “Dr. Moore also speaks about that very tricky point of trusting one’s self to know that the preparation is enough and to let go and perform in the moment.”

NE music major Alex Gillen said trusting himself is one of the harder aspects of playing in front of people. A guitarist of eight years, he said he strives for perfection, which amps up the anxiety when performing.

“When I’m by myself, I can do it perfect, you know, spot on,” he said. “But when it comes time to perform, you slip up. I’m more comfortable by myself. It comes out much easier without the pressure. I think, maybe the nervousness psyches me out sometimes. I mess up because I am nervous.”

Moore will discuss his book Playing Your Best When It Counts, Mental Skills for Musicians. 

Parsons said attendees can expect to put in some thought during the workshop about their own preparation skills.

“Attendees may be enlightened about some aspects of music performance and preparation they may not have thought about before,” she said.

The fact that faculty are being strongly encouraged to attend, even receiving a professional development credit for the day, is something Gillen finds relieving.

“One thing I find comforting: It’s not just for students. It’s actually geared toward faculty,” he said. “The experts who are teaching us, they still get the anxiety. They need this just as much as we do, and that is definitely a comforting feeling.”

Moore is not a musician. He is a psychologist, Gillen said. The information is applicable to many areas of life.

NE music instructor Gerald Ringe shared Gillen’s feelings.

“Everyone can benefit from the study of music and performance,” Ringe said. “Jerry Seinfeld, in one of his stand-up segments makes light of the fears of mankind. He says that the No. 1 fear is public speaking and the No. 2 is death. The elements of performance can be translated to every individual within public speaking.”

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