Music students learn early how to override powerful emotions of fear and anxiety through their recitals. These steps can be applied to other areas of your life.
1. Think Properly
Anxiety starts with simple thoughts which produce feelings, and your actions on those feelings become your habits. Analyze yourself in your daily activities and learn about your own response to anxiety. Consider if you are too self-absorbed and overly concerned about everybody liking you. That will never happen! Change the story you are telling yourself.
2. Eyes on You
At home find ways to create low levels of anxiety for yourself. For example: set up an audience of stuffed animals and perform for them, place a mirror in front of yourself and watch as you play, video record yourself with your phone. After you’ve gained some confidence, invite one or two family members or friends to watch you. Go through the entire motion of announcing the title to your audience, walking to the piano, sitting down and playing, getting up and bowing as they applaud your effort.
3. It’s All in Your Mind
Mental rehearsals are very effective and should always be part of performance preparation. Close your eyes and visualize playing each note. A mental blank in practice will likely translate to a mistake in your performance, so pull out the sheet music and burn it into your mind.
4. Give Yourself the Best Chance
Select music slightly beneath your current talent level; this will increase your chances of a flawless performance and help to build confidence. Part of your practicing for performance routine should include playing through your mistakes – something you would otherwise never do. If you make a mistake don’t stop or grimace, but keep going as if it never happened. Chances are your audience won’t know or will quickly forget.
5. The Escape
Rehearse until you reach perfection, but also bear in mind the reality that mistakes can happen . Part of practicing for performance is imagining the worst scenario and planning what to do if it happens. Now, tuck that away in the back of your mind, and focus your energy on your best performance.
And remember that life is a performance.
do the best you can
where you are
with what you have