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Stage Fright & Performance Nerves

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Scared To Go On Stage?

Taming The Saxophone
Taming The Saxophone: Vols 1, 2 & 3

There’s Nothing Wrong with a Bit of Fear

Most musicians get stage fright at some time. Some of the very best performers have it all the time, but learn to cope with it or even use it to their advantage. Fear of going on stage is extremely common, most professional performers agree that not only does stage fright never completely go away, a certain amount of it can help give your performance an edge. A rush of adrenalin is what allows animals to overcome very serious situations, whether it’s running away faster, gathering more strength to fight or more significantly making your brain focus on one thing. Also, the odd bead of sweat on your brow may give you a bit more charisma.

It’s easier than you think to deal with Performance Anxiety

Trying to completely conquer your fear of going on stage is a daunting prospect and probably not necessary. Don’t conquer your fear, control it and use it. The best advice I can give is to work on keeping your nerves under control or in balance. Too much fear or nervousness will, of course, get in the way of a good performance but if you can channel some the fear into excitement, you have more or less won the battle.

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Tips on How to Control Nerves and Anxiety

  • Don’t just practise until you know that you can play the music right, practise until you no longer get it wrong
  • Don’t take a big deep breath before going on stage, this will only cause hyperventilation and even more adrenalin, better to breathe moderately and evenly, concentrating on the exhale not the inhale.
  • Imagine the audience naked. Seriously, this can take your mind off obsessing about your fear and prevent you from worrying about making a fool of yourself.
  • Drugs or alcohol will not help to gain a permanent ability to control or balance nerves. Coffee may make you even more nervous or jumpy.
  • Allow yourself to make mistakes – the audience very often doesn’t notice, honestly!
  • Concentrate on your last really good performance, remember how well you played
  • Concentrate on the audience applauding and gaining something from your performance
  • Look at the audience and imagine they are your friends and family, they are not your enemy – they are there for you, not against you.
  • Keep fit, this will give you more self esteem and confidence
  • Wear something that you are comfortable in, but also that makes you feel like a performer. Not necessarily a suit or anything glamorous but it should be a bit different to your everyday clothes.

What Others Say about Stage Fright & Performance Nerves

Stage Fright Strategies This article is aimed at public speakers, but is still relevant.

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