Playing with Conviction: The Impact of Confidence on Stage and Beyond

Estimated read time 2 min read


In the past few weeks, my son’s percussion group participated in several competitive performances, culminating in a profound learning moment not just for them, but also for me. These experiences, especially one at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE), revealed an essential truth not only applicable to music but also to our professional lives.

A Performance of Technical Mastery:

The group’s performances were a showcase of their hard work and dedication, living up to the high standards of O’Fallon Township High School’s renowned music program. At SIUE, while most feedback echoed familiar themes of technical proficiency, one piece of advice from the guest conductor struck a different chord.

The Unseen Instrument: Confidence:

Praise for their skill was accompanied by a nuanced critique: the group needed to play with more confidence. This suggestion transcended the usual focus on technical aspects. Confidence, as the conductor explained, wasn’t just about easing nerves; it significantly influenced the audience’s experience. He posed a compelling question: Have you ever felt anxious for a performer, so much so that your primary joy came from their successful completion of the piece rather than the quality of the music itself?

A Reflection on Professional Resonance:

This insight resonated with me deeply, mirroring my own experiences in a recent sales pitch contest. It wasn’t the fear of my peers’ judgments that unnerved me (well not completely), but a lack of confidence in my knowledge of the services I was pitching. This revelation highlighted a universal truth: confidence, or the lack thereof, profoundly impacts our performance and the perceptions of those around us, whether on stage or in the boardroom.


The lesson from that day at SIUE extends beyond music, serving as a reminder of the power of confidence in all our endeavors. As we strive for excellence, let us also cultivate the confidence that transforms not only our performance but the experience of our audience, be they concertgoers or colleagues.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

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