51 thoughts every musician has before playing a concert

The angst, the nerves, the obligatory assessment of the toilet facilities: musicians, you’ve all had these thoughts before going on stage, right?

backstage thoughts

1. Ah, the dressing room. Where the magic happens. Warm-ups, tension, nerves, the possibility of a perfect performance. It all starts here!

2. OH MY GOD THE TOILET IS HORRIFIC.

3. Seriously, I don’t even think a dog could use that toilet. This is an environmental health issue. 

4. Still, the rest of the room is nice. Flowers, those lights around the edge of the mirror…

5. Ooh, and a kettle! And those little cartons of milk that never go off!

6. In all seriousness, how many of those milk things could I put in my case without anyone from the concert hall knowing?

7. Let’s say I legitimately would have four cups of coffee before going on stage. That’s two things of milk per cup, so eight free milk things! Come to papa! I’ll never want for long-life milk again!

8. Ah forget it, the kettle doesn’t even work.

9. Time for some warm-ups.

10. Arpeggio.

11. Arpeggio.

12. Scale.

13. Scale.

14. Arpeggio.

15. I wonder if anyone can hear this outside of the dressing room? I hope so.

16. I’ll play a bit louder and faster just in case. 



17. I’ll just try the beginning of the piece I’m playing tonight. Make sure it’s all in order.

18. Uh-oh.

19. I can’t even play this piece any more.

20. NO! You’re overreacting. It’s fine. Try it again, slowly.

21. I’ve literally forgotten how to play this piece.

22. OK. Don’t panic. Let’s try another section from the same piece.

23. Or maybe I’ll use the toilet. 



24. Just remembered the toilet is a disaster area.

25. Right, going to have to nail this piece before I can relax. What about an easier section to warm up with?

26. Yes. Yes. This is more like it. Seems to be going fine. Panic over.

27. Oh man, I’m playing this like a god. This concert is going to be absolutely ace.

28. Toilet.

29. Well, that was a trial. Hope I don’t need the toilet again before I go on stage.

30. Ah, how nice. Some ‘good luck’ messages on Facebook. I’ll just have a quick scroll…

31. Hmm. Not that many messages actually. And didn’t people used to send flowers to dressing rooms?

32. “Good luck tonight hun xxx” - what does that even mean? Why do people think I need luck? 



33. Wonder how many people who said yes to the Facebook invite will actually turn up.

34. There should be some sort of enforceable law about confirming your attendance to an event via Facebook. If you say you’re coming, you legally have to come. Otherwise how do you know if they really will come?

35. Is it ridiculous to do some physical exercise? I’m kind-of killing time here.

36. OK. Let’s do this. Press-ups. What’s the worst that can happen?

37. Going well! I am a modern musician, an athlete, a rounded artist who knows that the body is also an instrument, a multidisciplinary dilettante!

38. I think seven press-ups is more than enough.

39. There’s time for one more little run-through, isn’t there? Yes. And after it sounded so excellent a few minutes ago, I’m convinced nothing has changed.

40. I am the worst musician of all time and I am not fit to perform this work of genius in private, let alone in front of paying guests.

41. Maybe I could change careers.

42. Landscaping always appealed. Working outdoors, no out-of-hours work…

43. Could I be a counsellor for nervous musicians?

44. It’s too late. You have to perform. There’s no way you can get out of this now.

45. Unless…

46. Damn. No windows in this bunker. 



47. Do I have time to go to the toilet?

48. No, you’re being silly. You don’t need the toilet. Not again. You’re just nervous.

49. Hang on, I do need the toilet.

50. FINE, LET’S DO THIS. And then I’ll play some music. Maybe.

51. Stop thinking about the toilet.

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