Since our perception of time ‘stretches out‘ when danger looms (for example, in performance), there is much more time to ‘think’.
Enter ‘The Little Voice’. You know – the one that says “You are going to miss that shift, you’re gonna miss it……. Told you so.”
When the nerves hit, that little voice can be very destructive. Much has been written about ways to get rid of it. I say, give it something useful to do!
We spend a lot of time working with sensory motor issues when practicing, and tend to neglect the rational component of the cognitive process. When the pressure is on and that rational ‘voice’ doesn’t know what is going on, panic ensues.
On the other hand, if you load that little voice with useful information – “I am now playing a diminished arpeggio. It is a c# diminished arpeggio, because I am going to d minor. Diminished arpeggios have a particular feeling because of the tritone relationships across the strings. Next I have a big shift – it sounds like a 10th, but my hand is actually moving a minor third…” and so on.
Now, when the voice intrudes, it has something supportive to say and can buttress confidence and memory. That makes it easier to relax and enjoy!