What performing on stage can teach you about risk management

Flickr Image w/ CCMusicians take risks all the time. We know that every performance, every creative activity involves taking risks. So we practice to minimize them; not only alone but also in front of the public. Same was the case with me: I started playing the piano when I was nine, and gave my first public recital after one year of training. With approximately ten to fifteen performances a year, I was ready to perform Mozart’s K488 in front of five hundred people with a thirty-member orchestra, when I was twelve. But this was only possible because my mentors helped me to make a road map of small risks that would lead to a break-through.

Throughout our studies, we –musicians– go on all sorts of small halls to perform and to make mistakes so we can learn from them. Those are safe spaces to learn and also to experiment. There is of course no guarantee that we can avoid mistakes all together but practice teaches us to react to them instantaneously, and the damage will be manageable (after approx. 5–6 performances, we’ve probably seen all the possible weak points).

In the end, what in a great concert hall looks like a divine moment, is a result of painfully long hours of collecting experience. Practice is what gives musicians the confidence in their own abilities. Only this way consistent high quality performances can become the standard and risks remain controllable.

So, start small; make yourself a road map of safe stages and then go on that stage, allow to fail, learn, and start again!

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