Updated: Sep 14
Performing on stage can be both exhilarating and nerve-wracking for many musicians, both those who are experienced and new to the experience. Performance anxiety, or what is often referred to as stage fright, is a very common challenge faced by many. Learning how to overcome performance anxiety is a very important and crucial skill to learn to help enhance stage presence and overall musical experience. Today we’ll be sharing some ways to help combat stage fright so that you can thrive during your next performance!
Preparation is Key
- As straightforward as it sounds, preparation truly is key. One of the most
effective ways to lessen performance anxiety is to prepare your music and have
a thorough understanding of your materials. Not only does this help with
confidence, but it can help minimize the fear of making mistakes. Having
focused and purposeful practices to help prepare for performance make a
huge difference. The more confident you are in your abilities, the less room for
anxiety to take hold.
- Have you ever tried to replicate the performance space you’ll be in?
Replication of the space will help desensitize you to the pressure or fear you
feel on stage. Don’t feel like you have to have an exact clone of the space, but
familiarize yourself with the size of the stage by marking it out with tape, or
invite friends and family to act as a mock audience to help you prepare for the
real deal. These are just two examples, but doing simple things like this can
help you get accustomed to the nerves or adrenaline rush you may experience.
Relax & Take a Deep Breath
- Relaxation exercises such as deep breathing or meditation can aid in calming
your nerves before a performance. Taking slow, deep breaths is proven to help
reduce physical tension and lower your heart rate. Slowly inhale through your
nose and slowly exhale the air from your mouth. Try this to center your mind
and your body.
- Picture yourself performing on stage. Do you hear the applause? Do you see
the satisfaction of a great performance? Picture all the things you did right in
your performance, the flawless execution. Having a positive mindset can help
anticipate a great performance rather than stress out over a less-than perfect
- To go along with positive visualization, we need to also speak positively about
ourselves and give positive affirmations. Instead of telling yourself “You’re going
to mess up”, say “I am more than capable of doing a great job.” Challenge
yourself to speak with confidence and positivity rather than negative and
harmful inner dialogue.
- If you feel like you need someone to support you and help you get out of your
head, consider a performance coach or a therapist who specializes in stage
fright and performance anxiety. Not only can they provide you with multiple
strategies to overcome the fear, but they can also personalize techniques for
you as a performer.
These are only a few of the ways to help overcome stage fright, but at the end of the day they are all techniques to help you along on your musical journey. Overcoming anything is a gradual process, so remind yourself that you are working hard and that you can do it! By nurturing a positive and patient mindset, you will find yourself embracing the stage and having newfound confidence.