After much schooling followed by a good amount of time on the other side of the table, I often feel like I have a handle on the performance anxiety issue. I’ve taught masterclasses. Part of my job is to qualm audition fears. Teaching undergrads usually means gently (or not so gently) urging self confidence.
Why then, after being fully prepared, being entirely aware of the beginning middle and end of an aria, and having fully experienced the sensation of singing in the exact location of this evening’s rehearsal, was I entirely stiffened? What can be so drastically frightening about exhaling on well-practiced pitches? I know all the mind games and techniques and know that there aren’t any lions or tigers or bears lurking around the corner. And yet something in the back of my brain says “that note is high. you don’t have any high notes.”
Ridiculous. I shall seek out dissertation topics which discover the rationale behind our totally irrational feelings.