The feeling of playing a piano piece in front of a large audience can seem nerve-wracking and might be slowing down your confidence. However, having stage fright or any form of performance anxiety is common and quite normal.
Different people have different reasons triggering their performance anxiety.
Whether it’s your first time or a third time, you could still be feeling as anxious as before: don’t get alarmed by this feeling. Even the most experienced pianists feel nervous before getting on the stage. What is important is how you combat this feeling.
Here we have outlined five proven ways to help you conquer your performance anxiety.
Most times, being confident is not enough. Playing or performing in front of strangers is scary.
It’s the fear of making an error in front of these strangers that might be triggering your anxiety. This happens to most of us!
For some, confidence comes naturally, and for others, they have to build upon it. Analyse your weak points, and work toward nailing them. Perhaps you are unsure about particular parts in your piece or frequently forget them. There are several ways you can practice and memorise your performance piece like a pro.
A proven technique is to film or record your performances. Once you start recording your performance, you will reflect on your weaker points. This will help you improvise, and also bring out your performance nerves. With the camera in front of you, you will get the sense of an audience ‘watching you’. The more you record, the more it will help you overcome your anxiety.
Performing for Small Groups
The benefit of performing in front of a small group is that it helps you overcome performance anxiety one group performance at a time. It will also boost your confidence and possibly get you some feedback on where you can improve.
Some days you can plan on performing in front of your family members and other days, in front of fellow pianists or musicians. This way, not only you will play more courageously, but it will reveal areas that require more attention for improvement.
As your concert date approaches, then start arranging small group performances.
Performance anxiety is normal. Even the most advanced musicians get them after years of performing. Whilst continuing with your practice, consider incorporating a range of mindset management to help you prepare better for your performances.
Control Your Thoughts:
To help you stay focused, consider meditation. There are several apps and videos online which can help calm your mind. Include a series of breathing exercises into your routine before commencing your practice.
Be More Resilient:
Staying active and looking after yourself is as important as practicing your music. Go for a short jog or walk to get blood flowing which will make you more resilient, and less anxious.
Take breaks and get involved in doing other activities such as cooking or reading to help you prepare better. Involving yourself in other activities will help you feel rejuvenated, and you will come back to your practice feeling more focused.
Most importantly, let your mind and body get enough rest. Ensure to get a minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep, and let your fingers and arms recover from playing the piano keys.
As your concert date draws near, you should consider planning on stage rehearsals.
Real setting rehearsal will get you familiarised with the piano, feel the stage and its space and further ease the stress on the day of the performance. And while you’re at it, make it a dress rehearsal. This will make a huge difference in your performance and confidence, so go all out
Whether you are confident or not, practicing the music composition should not be taken lightly.
The old adage of “Practice makes Perfect” holds true here as it will build muscle memory and help you memorise the piece to the point where you will be playing with confidence.
Performing in front of a live audience is never easy regardless of your experience.
However, incorporating the above points of:
- Self Analysis
- Mindset Management
- Small group performance and
- On Stage Rehearsals
into your routine, will go a long way into helping you stay motivated and conquer your performance anxieties..
The Pianoforte is a family business, and we are passionate about all things piano. For us, music is in our blood, and with the family of pianists, we have seen it all. For any expert advice, please feel free to reach out to us here.