photos by Cady Russell
Many musicians have stage fright. Even Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen had crippling stage fright that he soaked in vodka before performing live.
This year the Applied Music program decided to implement two live performances per semester. Some students are more nervous than others, but overall they are enjoying the class despite whatever nerves they may have.
“It’s going to force them to go out and perform in public,” James Hairston, Applied Music teacher, said. “As a musician, you have to get comfortable performing in front of the public. At first, it’s going to be awkward, but the reward of performing in public and that feeling, they’re going to benefit from that.”
Hairston has been teaching music for 12 years, and 11 of those years he spent teaching middle school students.
“It makes me a little nervous, the idea of performing live,” sophomore Lauren Sanders said. “I feel like if I really liked what I was playing and had practiced, I could perform live and it would be fun.”
Many of the students taking this class feel well-prepared for their required live performances.
“I have stage fright when I am playing horn or doing a piano audition or recital,” sophomore Jonathan Bartling said. “However, when I play piano for my church or seminary classes, I do not have stage fright.”
In this class, students are given a soundproof room and 90 minutes to practice their instruments in preparation for their performance.
“I feel prepared,” Sanders said. “I’ve been practicing and learning a lot these past few months, and I think I’ve finally gotten to the point where I know enough that I can face the new horror of performing live.”
It is estimated that 5.3 million Americans suffer from social phobia, and performing live is a big part of a musician’s career. The Applied Music program acts as a way for young musicians to conquer these fears in order to showcase their talents onstage.
“Right now there is a lot of push back and a lot of students are not on board with this because they are uncomfortable,” Hairston said. “Being uncomfortable in any situation is awkward. The benefit of performing live and getting that feeling of acceptance is priceless.”
Written by Samantha Moore, Staff Writer