As everyone is gearing up for the school year, and all of the performances that comes with that, I wanted to post this interesting study done by a Harvard graduate.
In a study by Chia-Jung Tsay, who last year earned a Ph.D. in organizational behavior with a secondary Ph.D. field in music, nearly all participants — including highly trained musicians — were better able to identify the winners of competitions by watching silent video clips than by listening to audio recordings.
When you play in a master class or for your teacher, you may get comments about how you look while you play. Do you make faces when you make a mistake? Does it seem as though you didn't breath throughout the entire performance? Were you stiff and mechanical? Were you fluid in your movements and smiling?
While we all would love to believe that all that matters is the music, this study dismisses that for an all inclusive approach to music making. A performance is as much visual as it is auditory; even for the classically trained musicians in the audience.
So when you get up on stage and are preparing to perform, project the feelings you want your audience to pick up on. Project confidence...and breathe.