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#2025575 - 02/01/13 08:27 PM Performance Anxiety tips
pianogirl87 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 108
Loc: New Jersey
What are some tips you give to your students about dealing with nerves right before they are performing? Or, is there anything you do with them to help them get over the nerves?

I've heard that performing often is a way to do it, imagining you're playing for an audience, or playing for a smaller audience before going to a bigger one, concentrating so much on the music that you don't think about the people out there, etc.

Are there any others?
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#2025577 - 02/01/13 08:32 PM Re: Performance Anxiety tips [Re: pianogirl87]
Whizbang Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 1311
I converted what my teacher told me into a PhD.

* Position yourself at the piano
* Hear the beginning of the music
* Deep breaths throughout

I struggle mightily with performance and shut down big time when people are paying attention. The above helps, but I'm still trying to figure out what to do.

Edited by Whizbang (02/01/13 08:32 PM)
amateur ragtime pianist

#2025580 - 02/01/13 08:35 PM Re: Performance Anxiety tips [Re: pianogirl87]
Joyce_dup1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 194
Loc: Chicago
It is the same as you would do when presenting a speech or any other event in public. You prepare. For piano, review the RH, LH, HT, dynamics, articulation, phrasing. Memorize in parts. Check your memory. Be able to play just the ending, just Part B, just A1, etc. Play stopping no matter what - even if you have to improvise or jump to another section. What if it happened during your performance? Be ready for it. You can't over prepare. Once you are confident that you know the material inside and out, you will be confident during the performance. There might still be some anxiety. That is normal and often helps the performance. A bit of adrenalin can keep you alert and focused. Try it. It takes time, it's annoying, but persevere and you will certainly see the difference. And that wonderful feeling of knowing you did your best.

Also, a couple performance tips. Practice step by step, walking up, seating yourself, turning pages if using music, lifting fingers gently at the end and placing in lap, collecting music and bowing. It all matters and you can tell the difference at a performance, who practiced their approach and departure from piano. Also, one tip I learned from years of public speaking. Walk to the front of the room as soon as you arrive, turn around and look out at the audience. It looks far different from that angle, then looking from the seats. It can be shocking and throw you off. It makes a world of difference if you are already prepared. I often have my students come up and sit at the piano, place their hands on the keys but not actually play. It encourages and reassures them before the actual performance.

Edited by Joyce_dup1 (02/01/13 08:44 PM)

#2025792 - 02/02/13 09:19 AM Re: Performance Anxiety tips [Re: pianogirl87]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 13739
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Preparation of the music being performed, of course, is the first step. Joyce_dup1 has some great advice on that end. However, that is not all that is entailed in the complex issue of performance anxiety.

Have practice performance sessions. If you can, hold a couple of group lessons before a performance. Don't just have them play, but discuss things that happened during the performance with the kids so that they can learn from one another on what to do. There is the issue of the "inner dialogue" while you are performing - where the performer is thinking about things other than communicating to their audience, like "I wonder what they think?" or "Darn! I made that mistake AGAIN!". They need to practice turning that inner critic off while they play and focus on what's next in the music.

You can also video record them at their lesson, which simulates the performing experience. Also recommend that they perform for music class at school, and/or for their family at home.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#2026103 - 02/02/13 11:47 PM Re: Performance Anxiety tips [Re: pianogirl87]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Here's what I teach my students:
The Glass Wall Effect -
How to Appear Confident (When You’re Not Feeling It)

My friend, Dr. Kageyama, teaches this at Julliard:
Saying ‘Bye to Stage Fright <- See his blog, dedicated to performing

5 tips for Performing Under Pressure

How to Teach Effectively - More Psychology Tweaks


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