Gloria Campaner’s music has a mission. Stage fright? No fear. The travelling pianist prepares young performers to escape stressful situations such as stage fright and performance anxiety. In India, it was the intense collective workshop held in collaboration with the Neemrana Music Foundation which brought music students to learn the art of freedom from performance anxiety. It has a collective curriculum which includes different breathing techniques, brainstorming, yoga, telepathy training and freestyle playing. She conducted two workshops in Delhi—Delhi School of Music and the Italian Institute of Culture. She taught the students about bravery and self-respect. The school groups were then allotted different free spaces to prepare for a brief performance followed by one where Campaner jammed with them. Her next workshop is scheduled to be held in Beirut, Lebanon.
The 33-year-old dark-haired Venetian pianist is a versatile spirit: in between global tours, she is a DJ and runs her own electronic band, dances the Tango. Tickling the ivories wasn’t a smooth sonata in the beginning. Campaner debuted with the Venice Symphony Orchestra as a pianist when she was 12 years old: her first musical gift was a red and white baby piano on her second birthday. She would arrange her puppets and dolls as the audience.
When she started playing professionally Campaner realised that the audience was real this time. She was struck with stage fright. Later she would understand why it happened. “It struck me that while all great music schools, universities, academies, and teachers taught the nuances of music, they did not teach how to perform on stage without doubts or fear.”
Campaner’s sessions have evolved as she tunes into methods to make her students confident enough to face the audience. A decade ago when she had started touring, she “saw the other side of the stage”. She noticed that some were experiencing nervousness and stage fright. She recognised that the root cause of their shortness of breath and sweating bouts was anxiety. The Italian pianist believes psychological stress and psycho-physical stress are the biggest challenges that all performing artists face. This became the trigger for her to hold workshops to soothe young players into giving their best.
The workshops are titled C# or See Sharp which teaches lateral thinking to instrumentalists of all classes, ages, and levels. The feedback encouraged her to take her work to the next level. To upgrade her skills Campaner travelled to Kerala where she learned yoga. She explains in her charming Italian accent, “Yoga stems from a philosophy of the unity of body and mind, which is the strongest message that one could embrace in life. Whatever I teach in my class is also adaptable and suited to people practising sports and other disciplines.”
Campaner’s See Sharp workshops are held periodically when she gets time off from her own concerts; sometimes free of charge. This year she plans to focus on classical pianist and composer Beethoven whose 250th birthday falls in December 2020. The result, she hopes, will be a series of performances dedicated to Beethoven’s work. Her mission goes beyond music sometimes. She spreads awareness against rhino poaching and abused women and children as an orchestra of causes.
When Campaner saw her students suffer shortness of breath, sweating bouts, and other such issues, she recognised the root cause and decided to tackle the problem