I am nervous.
A show is coming up.
It is in a surrounding I have never experienced before — An intimate performance for a small group — no microphones to hide behind, no stage to distinguish yourself from your audience, no amplification of the PA to make you sound larger than life, no reverbs to cover your mistakes.
A bare and naked performance.
And I am scared.
But that is the very reason I choose this as a career – the everyday uncertainty, the opportunity to tell people stories, connect with them and inspire them to make a positive change in their lives. Or at the very least, get them thinking.
Sure, we have done such a thing among friends. But for strangers who have actually bought tickets — not to eat, drink and enjoy music as a side dish — but to come and listen only to you and your music!
This is where I have to draw upon my experience and familiarity.
I have practised, yes. But there is a huge difference between Practice and Rehearsal.
Practice for me is what I do in my comfort zone. At home or in the jam room. I am allowed to make mistakes, to stop and return to the part which didn’t quite work out.
But rehearsal is a trial performance. An attempt to create the situation you will be in. No stopping if you make mistakes, no re-doing the song, no chance to correct yourself.
This helps you familiarise with the problems that might arise. The mistakes you might make. And that is what gives you experience.
Yes, experience can be gained not only from real live stage performances but rehearsals as well. And these are necessary since you can draw courage from them when required.
As soon as you find fear catching up with you during live performance, you remind yourself: I have done this before. I have dealt with this before. I know how to get out of this situation. I will not panic.
I have gone through this numerous times. I have made mistakes on stage, and it is not because I did not practice. It is because I panicked and let fear take control instead of drawing courage from the experience of my rehearsals.
When people say on stage “I am nervous”, it is less about accepting the fact and more about letting go of it, so that they can focus on what is more important — what they know, what they are familiar with — what they have Rehearsed.
No matter how much you have practised, if you haven’t rehearsed, you are bound to make mistakes. I have seen seasoned musicians mess up badly on stage coz they have not rehearsed enough.
Familiarise yourself with the stage, the audience, the ambience. The more you perform, the more you rehearse, the more confident you will be on stage, the better your performance will be.
That is one of the biggest reasons why the #SundayJam at muziclub is so popular. Not because it is a free performance stage where you come and enjoy a Sunday evening.
It is a stage where students and artists get to do trial performances — rehearsals.
Since there is no judgement from the audience, it is easier to try out new stuff. Coz you know that even if you fail, there will be no judgement — only positive encouragement.
This is why students are encouraged to perform at the Sunday Jam. It is a mandatory requirement to advance in your levels.
Sunday Jam helps you rehearse for the actual real-life performance. It makes you familiar with all the mistakes you can make, and more.
So that when you go out in the real world, you are prepared to handle them.
You will have the experience and the power to draw courage from that experience.
And deliver the best performance of your life.
This article has been contributed by muziclub co-founder Hardik Vaghela.