No, I’m not talking about the color of one’s skin, which seems to dominate the news these days. I’m talking about what color a performer wears! In fact, there was an article recently by Dr. Noa Kageyama, a sports psychologist who works with music students at the Juilliard School, who writes a great blog called “The Bulletproof Musician.”
His post, “Does Clothing Color Provide A Performance Advantage?” asks the question, “So could something so seemingly trivial as the color of our dress, shirt, or tie give us an advantage in performance and audition/competition settings? Or is this just much ado about nothing?”
He quotes statistics that in the 2004 Olympics, when boxers and wrestlers wore red, they won significantly over people wearing blue! And a further study revealed that people who wear red have a more positive self-image. (However, thatʻs not to say that if you wear red, youʻll make fewer mistakes!) But — in the 2008 Olympics, athletes who wore red did not significantly do better than those wearing other colors.
Have you ever heard of chromatherapy? According to Aquatics, a bath remodeler, it’s the use of colored lights in your bath to put you in certain moods: White is pure and clarifying; Yellow is hopeful and stimulating; Turquoise is serene and stress reducing; Red is bold, energizing and courageous; Green brings harmony and balance; Orange invigorates the soul; and Magenta reduces anxiety while boosting creativity. I presume that wearing those colors brings on the same effects, or being in a room painted in those colors puts you in certain mood.
So to my latest crisis: I’ve already started fretting about what Iʻm going to wear for my two Bach concerts in August, and at this moment, I donʻt have a single thing to wear! I’ve started shopping but so far have found nothing that fits the bill and unfortunately, my local consultant has forbidden me to wear black.
Organists have the additional challenge of needing to wear clothing which does not impede their movement — sleeves can’t be too long, and long dresses have their own special challenges because you don’t want to step on the hemlines when you’re playing the pedals.
I’m going to keep shopping and looking. By the way, the color dress I wear will not be an indication of my politics!