Am I Going Crazy?? - Dealing With Performance Anxiety

I couldn’t believe it was happening after 42 years of playing. Two weeks before a concert I’m practicing like a fiend for a solo harp and choral piece. It’s almost an obsession as the music invades my dreams, drive time, cleaning the house; even my husband heard the music in his head as he mowed the lawn because I was practicing so much! Every time I’d walk by the harp I had to sit down and start the metronome. “Can I play it through yet?” Nope. “Where are the trouble spots?” “Long, short, long, short” “Short, long, short, long” I practiced the eighth note rhythms until they were smooth. It never seemed to be enough.

I couldn’t believe it - I was in the throes of performance anxiety! All of my down-to-earth take a deep breath and play from your heart advice was out the window. I felt like such a hypocrite. Where was the easy going “spiritual harpist” energy that naturally flowed through me? I literally felt like I was going crazy as a deep empathy grew within me for those who so often experience performance anxiety.

Although it was extremely uncomfortable, “the show must go on” - and it did, twice. No one noticed my mishaps, except my husband who unwillingly had the part memorized. Tears flowed freely on the drive home as feelings of judgment, sadness and disappointment filled me. Why was this happening? What was this all about? I knew there had to be a reason.

As I stepped back, the vision became clear. This was a deeply personal, spiritual journey which felt akin to some sort of an initiation. It was time to fully move into my unique expression of music. Here's a sampling of some of the questions that started flowing from what felt like my soul:

"Do I love all the ways in which I share music?"
"Do I love all the places in which I share music?"
"Do I enjoy the time I invest in learning new music?"
"Am I passionate about the new music I'm learning?"
"When do I feel most at peace with my music?"
"What brings me joy?

I’ve had so many opportunities and experiences as a professional musician over the past 40 years, yet there’s more; and it will only happen if I have the courage to step into the unknown. There are fabulous classical harpists whose passion and purpose is to play the music of the masters. If I continue to push myself into those old familiar places, I’ll be denying someone else the opportunity to play their passion and I’ll be denying myself the opportunity to share mine.

I stand here now, after a 25 year spiritual journey into myself using The ORIGIN Method of Self-Discovery, deeply connected to my soul’s purpose and opening to the opportunities its expression will bring. Perhaps some of you may find yourself at this same precipice.

Music is a personal and unique expression of our human experience. As we choose to create and share music from a place of inner truth, raw honesty, and unbridled passion within ourselves, those who listen will joyfully experience the unique expression of our soul!

Play on and play with passion!!

-Amy Camie - MU Columnist

Amy Camie, is a professional harpist, recording artist, performer, composer, public speaker, author, and Founder of the Scientific Arts Foundation. Pilot research with her inspired healing harp CDs has shown they reduce pain, distress, and anxiety levels, and support brainwave and immune system function. Amy’s inspired music relaxes the body, calms the mind, and gently touches the soul. Please reach out to Amy through her website and social media!!

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