Dealing with Performance Anxiety: 4. Breathing, stretching and practice strategies
Any musician can be affected by performance anxiety and what we have to learn is how to deal with it. The first step is to accept that nerves will be there, no matter how much we wish they were not. Once we can accept this, we can then go on to learn how to manage these feelings while preparing for, and giving a performance. There are many strategies for when we are about to go on stage. These include ensuring that our breathing is regular and deep. Basic stretching of arms and shoulders can also help to keep the blood flowing and help guard against cold clammy hands.
Playing to as many people as possible in the weeks leading up to a performance, can also be very beneficial in keeping nerves under control on the day. This could be a very informal performance to family in your home or perhaps to friends over Zoom. Ultimately, the best way to learn how to deal with our own personal anxieties, is to face them in informal situations before the big day.
Jill Morton, Principal Tutor of The Piano Teachers' Course UK
Jill enjoys a highly successful and varied career as soloist, chamber musician and teacher. Her performances have taken her throughout Britain and across Europe and have received critical acclaim. Since making her professional debut in 1994, she has performed in all the major concert halls in Britain including the Royal Albert Hall, London.