Conquer Your Nerves!
Overcome your piano-playing anxiety with stage fright tips!
Do your nerves get the best of you when you play piano?
Stage fright can range from a few butterflies in your stomach to a full-on anxiety attack -- and everything in between.
No matter what level of severity you struggle with, stage fright keeps you from playing your very best.
On my main stage fright page, I talk about what I think the root cause of performance anxiety is, and how to start overcoming stage fright. It's a process, of course -- it takes time!
In the meantime, here's where I'll share some tips and techniques to help you through performing.
My Top 5 Stage Fright Tips
#1: Be Prepared.
There's no two ways about it: the less prepared you feel, the more nervous you'll be. Not enough practice = anxiety.
I'll be honest for a moment. Left to my own devices, I'll procrastinate. Like many people, my days are often "the tyranny of the urgent." In college, this became obvious when I'd wait too long to begin the in-depth practicing needed for a performance. And boy, did I feel it!
So the first, and most important, of my stage fright tips is to really prepare. Know your songs inside and out. Listen to recordings. Learn about the composer. Immerse yourself in knowledge.
#2: Breathe Deeply.
You've heard it before, I'm sure. But have you actually tried it?
Long, slow, deep breathing is a physical signal to your body to stop the adrenaline flow. You're literally giving your body instructions to calm down!
One or two deep breaths isn't enough. You need to take 5 to 10 minutes and breathe in and out slowly and deeply. Some people find counting helpful. I definitely close my eyes and tune out the world.
#3: Have a banana.
Some musicians call it a myth, others swear it works!
The idea is that a banana's potassium, along with other nutrients, acts as natural stress relief. Having something nutritious and slightly filling can also be comforting to an anxious stomach.
Try eating a banana about 30 minutes before a performance, and let me know if it works for you!
Stress not only makes your heart beat fast and your mouth dry. Anxiety also lives in tight muscles and clenched jaws! In fact, stage fright affects your whole body.
I hold anxiety in my shoulders and neck. It's always an obvious sign to me, sometimes even before I realize I'm stressed!
Simple stretching can relieve your physical tension. Try stretching along with deep breathing.
#5: Do something else.
I've read articles about pop stars and classical virtuosos who experience stage fright, and have before-performance rituals to help stay calm and relaxed.
Whatever you love to do that relaxes you, do it before you perform! Some ideas to try:
- Listening to your favorite music on headphones
- Playing video or cell phone games
- Taking a walk
- Having a cup of tea
So, before you perform, you're spending time doing things you love. Instead of pacing and worrying!
YOUR Stage Fright Tips
What works for you?
What helps you unwind, relax, and give your best at performances?
I'd love to hear your story. Send me an email!