A FiddleHed named Sue wrote me asking about how to overcome stage fright. Like anything else, this is something you can practice. And even if you think you’ll never, ever perform, I think you might find the following tips to be helpful…
Learn the music as well as you can before performing.
Practice audiation, hearing it in your head and visualizing yourself playing the tune.
- Warm up before you perform. Either at home, or somewhere at the venue where you’ll be playing.
- Play some simple things so that you feel like a fiddler.
- Practice relevant scales and technique exercises.
- Go over the tune or piece you will be performing.
Simply pay attention to your breath.
Allow it to be calm.
- Stretch your body. This will help to relax your mind.
Do this every time you play so that it becomes a natural part of your process.
Start by playing in front of a trusted friend.
Then play for someone else.
If that goes ok, then try to play for a few people you know; your family or a few friends.
It’s just like learning a tune. Take on small challenges to gain small wins. Keep doing this and eventually you’ll be playing in front of others more naturally.
Fear is the mindkiller
- Remember that most people in the audience won’t notice your mistakes.
- FiddleHed Joanne says, “The first time I played onstage with others really made me improve quickly. When I made mistakes I realized that 99% of the crowd didn’t notice. So I just kept going. It’s lovely just to make people happy and want to dance which was only ever my aim really.”
- You will always be your worst critic.
When practicing or performing, work towards a casual attitude.
Think, “No big deal. I’m just playing the fiddle and having a little fun.”
Then there’s the standard advice: imagine everyone in the audience is naked. This may be an unsavory vision! But it might help you to approach things more lightly.
I don’t feel much stage fright when I perform with Diego’s Umbrella…but I’ve probably played almost 1000 shows with them. But it’s a trusted crew, and I’m not the center of attention. I do still get nervous before doing Karaoke and certain public speaking and social situations.
FiddleHed Donna wrote me to say that she gave a (big) little recital…Thank you for all the WONDERFUL suggestions and insight, so helpful. My first and only “public” recital so far has been for my four year old granddaughter. She told her mom and dad “Grandma plays the violin good!” So easy to please a 4-yr old 😁
Most people want you to succeed. Have you ever seen someone onstage struggle? I tend to want them to succeed, and I think most people are the same. Remember that people watching may want to be doing what you’re doing, but their own fear has held them back…
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