It seems early to start thinking about recital season, but some of us are already getting ready to head on stage – and getting nervous about it. Stage fright is something that affects most musicians and students, and for some people, it becomes so bad that they stop performing altogether. But, it doesn’t have to be that way! These are our favorite tried-and-true tips for getting over performance anxiety.
- Avoid caffeine. It won’t make you more energetic because combined with nervous jitters, it will make you even more nervous and jittery! Instead, drink citrus juice, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure. Just don’t drink too much, or you might need to run to the restroom before intermission!
- Get to the performance space early. If you’re already nervous, struggling with your GPS and fighting traffic will just make things worse. So, get to the venue a few hours beforehand and give yourself extra time to warm up before you go on stage. If you’re performing at a place you’ve never been before, try taking a dry run a few days before the performance. That way, you’ll know where you going and what the space looks and feels like.
- Practice scales, long tones, or an easy piece you already know before going on stage. It will make you feel more at peace and in control of your performance.
- Visualize success. Imagine yourself performing perfectly in front of an adoring crowd. Try to hear the applause and cheers! When you think positive thoughts, your actions will follow, and you’ll feel more confident.
- Learn to improvise. Even the most seasoned musician will experience a broken string, cracked voice, or technical difficulty during a performance that’s completely out of their control. As they say, “a failure to plan is a plan for a failure,” so focus on preparing yourself in case the inevitable happens. Learn to improvise so that you can get yourself out of a bad situation on stage. Knowing that you can handle even the worst situations will help calming nervous feelings before a performance.
- Relax your body. Try yoga, meditation, going for a run, or stretching. If you’ve tried the Alexander Technique, which helps eliminate muscle tension, this is a good time to put it into practice. If you haven’t, give it a try at our workshop on October 26, called “Calming Your Nerves.” You’ll leave with some more concrete practices to help you eliminate fear before you head on stage!
What techniques for reducing stage fright have worked for you?