The phrase “grace under pressure” first gained notoriety when Ernest Hemingway used it in a profile piece written by Dorothy Parker. Parker asked Hemingway: “Exactly what do you mean by ‘guts‘?” Hemingway replied: “I mean, grace under pressure.”
Musicians struggle with maintaining their composure under the intense pressure of competition. Many wilt under this pressure, being unable to maintain the high level of performance they regularly exhibit in rehearsal. Those who fall apart, do so because they have completely lost their perspective of what’s really important. Peak performance can only come from the musicians’s heart — from a performance which is inwardly driven by the love and passion for the performing and NOT by a worry about the outcome. When you can learn to play from your heart, just for YOU, because you are passionate about playing, then you will truly be freed up to transcend your normal limits and be a model of performance — grace under pressure.
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