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How to stop anxiety from ruining your performance

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

Everybody will have to deal with nerves at some point in their lives, when they have to give any kind of performance, whether that is a concert, exam, public speaking. However, it is not all bad news as you can learn to control your nerves, so they don’t overtake your performance.

The most important thing to do is to recognise how your body and mind deal with anxiety and nerves. There is a list of the main symptoms in my previous post. Once you have learnt what your symptoms are, then you know what is normal for you. It is important to remember that everyone will experience performance anxiety in different ways.

This post will look at the ways that you can practically help yourself going into a performance. My next post will look at the how your thinking can affect your performance.


Prepare your pieces well in advance. For tips on how to practice, see my serious on how to practice. The music you will be performing needs to go deep into your memory. You need to know your music inside out and back to front.

If you are playing with accompaniment, get as many rehearsals as possible in advance. Get to know the music in its entirety, so there are no surprises in the other parts, learn when your cues are to come in. Build a relationship with your accompanist,.

Practice the performance. Practice walking onto the stage, getting set up, playing to an audience. Playing your music all the way through with our stopping, even if you make a mistake.

Plan what you are going to wear, is it something comfortable. Work out how you are going

to get to the venue.

On the day

Don’t eat anything to heavy leading just before the performance. Get yourself to the venue with plenty of time to finish getting ready. Make sure you have a good warm up.

Breathe. Take a couple of deep breathes before walking into the room, or onto the stage.

Remember to smile when you walk out. Make a discussion that the audience are your friends and want you to do well.

Remember that when you are performing time tends to slow down, especially in the moments before you start playing. But take your time to get yourself comfortable at the instrument. If you are playing the piano, check the stall is the right hight. Find the right notes to start your piece. If you are playing another instrument, adjust the stand, tune up again. Finally before you play to take another deep breath.

Enjoy the performance. Performing music in front of an audience is such a fantastic privilege. We are sharing a moment of beauty with the audience. I find it useful to have an image or an emotion that I want to carry across to the audience. If I enjoy my performance chance are the audience will do too.

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