Over the course of a year I see lots of students, enter some into exams or coach them for performances they need to present, I also see a variety of different approaches to these events. Some are great at lessons but then fall apart in a pubic performance. Others will not perform particularly well in lessons and then storm an exam and also those who say they perform well at home but can’t perform when playing for someone else.
As a teacher this can be frustrating but there are some strategies you can use to try and counteract it. Nervous children are probably the most difficult as they haven’t learnt to deal with nervousness and that is part of the role of the teacher. A child who finds this difficult may also find it difficult to contribute or take part in other activities at school, although this isn’t always the case but one thing that can help is if they play their exam material for their families or friends. As someone who was fortunate enough to be able to study music later in life one of the most daunting things I had to do was to perform a recital and be judged by 3 world class Trombone players, 2 of whom I already knew. I got through the experience but now I think that there is probably nothing I will ever have to do in the music world can possibly be any more difficult than that, so whenever I have to play a solo, particularly in a contest, I try to keep that experience in mind and it certainly helps. So a student who forces themselves to perform for their families or peers can experience the same feeling. This will be the most difficult thing that many of them will do as a musician, so when they come to play in front of a stranger in an exam it should be much easier for them to cope with.