i get nervous performing

dear heather,
I’m studying music in college, and it’s my first year at the university. I get unusually nervous before performing and usually mess everything up, but when I’m in the studio, I sound fabulous. I’ve seen other people perform, and I know they’re nervous, but they can at least not let it get to them…

That’s a horrible feeling. I get nervous in front of audiences too. And so do many of the greatest performers!

Performing is a skill like any other; you just have to learn it. The trick is to keep your natural nervousness from getting in the way–and channel it into excitement instead, while also staying relaxed and focusing on what you’re doing.

Most people learn to perform just by doing it a lot, and with little tricks they pick up along the way. I don’t know what you’ve tried, but one thing musicians recommend is concentrating on the pleasure of playing your music and striving for goodness, not perfection. “Great” moments will come later.

Another idea is to practice performing a piece in your studio without stopping, maybe with an audience of friends. Or picture the worst that can happen. Let yourself feel anxious–and then relax. Right before the performance itself, slowly relax the muscles in your body and try and breathe slowly and deeply.

Whatever you think you’re “messing up,” I bet it’s not as bad as you think. The majority of the people in your audience may not even know the music!

take care,

Posted in: Help Me Heather, Sucky Emotions, Sucky Emotions
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