How confident are you right before your performances? Do you go into a performance feeling you are going to do your best or are you filled with anxiety and doubt for weeks or days before the big day? Do your palms sweat, is your stomach in knots, is your heart racing in anticipation of the performance? Some think that confidence is a personality trait but did you know you can control your level of self-confidence? Whether it is piano performance, interviewing for a job, or speaking in front of 5000 people, there are specific things to do that can help lower your anxiety.
1. Steady Practice on Your Own
Great performance skills come through constant practice. Remember practice makes permanent, not perfect – so see our other blog on best practice techniques. To perform well in anything constant practice and hard work is an essential confidence booster. Try to rehearse the introduction several times, know exactly how you are going to start, and this will build your confidence to get past the beginning – the toughest part for most of us!
Before any performance, it is good to maintain a positive and pleasant expression on your face. Smiling helps to build confidence. Smiling relaxes the body, that is, it increases the level of endorphins that reduce stress and anxiety, It calms the nerves and creates a sense of well being and promotes a pleasant attitude not just from you but from the people around you.
A smile relays self-assurance and confidence, which tells the audience that you are enthusiastic and happy about your message. Act confident; they will not see how nervous you are or whether your legs are shaking or your heart is racing. So, smile, look confident even if you are not.
3. Do Light Exercise
It is always good to exercise the body before a performance – it can get rid of some of the adrenaline. A brisk walk, some knee bends, jumping jacks all help to remove anxiety and reduce tension. Sitting is passive and motionless, tension can build. Standing five minutes before the performance allows your body to warm up and gets your body ready for action!
4. Responses to Stress
Believe it or not, stress is not the main issue when preparing for a performance. Stress will be there, it is how we react to the stress that will suggest whether we will fail under the pressure or excel. You should be able to adjust to performance settings, trust your training, your teacher and your rehearsals. It is also important to have experience with different performance environments, which will help you to feel at home when you want to perform.
Sometimes you get to practice on the actual instrument you are giving your performance on, sometimes you don’t. Some techniques like mental imagining help to build confidence. Recent studies have shown that imagining the performance your head results in some of the same chemical and psychological effects on you as actually doing it!
5. Concentrate on You!
Those that tend to be anxious have more fear about what others will think of them than the actual performance. If you are concerned with the faces of those who are bored or not enjoying the performance it can lead to a very disruptive performance – for everyone. Stage fright is an outcome of not being secure due to either a lack of preparation or lack of comfort with the audience. Practice is the first step. Second, is to know that most everyone in the audience is rooting for you to succeed and not fail! Think of those that are in attendance that supports you, that are proud of you. Your teacher, your parents, your friends. Think about the party after! Talk to yourself positively before and during a performance. The audience wants you to succeed, they want to be entertained. If you make a mistake, it’s ok. Do not worry about it, it’s in the past as you cannot do anything about it anyway, just continue. This will boost your confidence and you will make it hearing the applause!
Nothing builds confidence like a successful musical performance. Cadenza Music Academy is the place to have those experiences. Get started today!