Overcoming Performance Anxiety
You know that nervous feeling right before performing in front of people? You know that feeling where your stomach starts turning, your mind starts racing at 100 miles an hour, and all you can think about is how much you wish you would have prepared just a LITTLE more so this wouldn’t have happened?Frederic Chopin once commented, “An audience intimidates me, I feel asphyxiated by its eager breath, paralyzed by its inquisitive stare, silenced by its alien faces.” You might be wondering, “If a famous composer like Chopin gets nervous while performing, what chance do I have in overcoming this fear?”
The solution isn’t simple, and it varies depending on the performer. However, the best thing you can do before any performance, whether it’s during a lesson or in front of a crowd, is to never start a piece without being mentally prepared. Before a performance, get into your zone. Imagine yourself in your most comfortable environment, whether it’s you practicing alone at home or wherever that may be. Close your eyes and remind yourself of the countless hours you spent preparing for this moment. Take a few seconds after you sit down at your instrument to collect yourself, and remember to trust yourself. So next time you’re in this situation, sit down, relax, and don’t forget to breathe!
– Eric Young, B.A., Piano Instructor