What is stage fright? Why do we have it? How do we deal with it? The fear of making mistakes, forgetting notes or parts of music while playing, being not able to be the best when we want to... I am sure these questions and thoughts trouble many students. Being nervous before the performance is totally normal. When adrenaline kicks in, we experience a faster heartbeat, sometimes become sweaty, or in extreme situations have shaky hands. It is a natural body reaction of unknown outcomes.
There are many things we can do to minimize the effect of stage fright. Most of them should be applied during a practice session.
- Practice from music sheet days or even weeks before the performance to revive the memory of notes, dynamics, articulation, etc. The worst thing that can be done is to play piece(s) over and over again from the memory for a long period of time. The muscle memory is established but the brain engagement is weakened if you don't pay attention to details.
- Another good method is playing at home, but imagining a public performance, thus trying to elevate adrenaline level. Inviting friends and family over to your home to hear you play is also a good way to prepare for public performance.
- Practice focusing on piece(s) rather than yourself will bring the best out of you. The more we play publicly the better we are at dealing with our nerves. Additionally, get rest before the performance so your mind is not distracted by fatigue.
The more you practice these suggestions, the more we minimize stage fright!
- Dr. Boban Martic, Piano Artist-Faculty