Gabrielle Aplin’s music teacher writes a guide for nervous performers

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Music teacher Clive Stoker tunes up at Noteworthy Music in Chippenham Music teacher Clive Stoker tunes up at Noteworthy Music in Chippenham

Chart star Gabrielle Aplin’s former music tutor has published a book written in his Chippenham home.

Clive Stocker, who has lectured at City of Bath College for 12 years, has spent two years writing How to Become a Confident Performer, a manual aimed at helping nervous musicians perform with confidence.

Nerves were not something the Sutton Benger songbird Aplin was said to suffer with.

Mr Stocker, 41, of Queens Square, said: “She was one of the naturally confident ones. She’s worked very hard; she was always performing.”

But like many of those auditioning for college places, Mr Stocker himself used to be plagued by nerves every time he went to play the piano in public.

He said: “It was dreadful. My mouth would go dry and the blood drained from my arms and my fingers went stiff. I thought constantly about making mistakes.

“I was 15 and playing at an old people’s home and I totally lost it, I forgot what I was doing. I stopped playing the piano for a few months after that. That stayed with me all the way through uni.”

About 10 years ago Mr Stocker went to see Tessa Kirby, a hypnotherapist in Bath.

She enabled him to change his mindset so that performing was something he enjoyed, not feared.

He realised perfection was not the be all and end all.

“Comparing myself to other people was one of the most devastatingly negative things I did,” he said.

“Removing that enabled me to get on. It helped seeing other people who didn’t seem to have talent but didn’t care. They were just so excited to be up there. Some people aren’t very upset when every particular detail doesn’t go right.”

He said he had been someone who was, but neurolinguistic programming helped make him comfortable not being the best.

He advises: “By all means practise, but you don’t have to be the best to be good enough to make people have a good time.

"Look at the audience, what are they thinking? If they are happy, why are you worrying?

“And if you make a mistake, keep going and 95 per cent of people won’t notice.”

Mr Stocker’s book was printed in Chippenham by CPI Antony Rowe and is available for £12.99 from Noteworthy Music on Station Hill.

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