74% of musicians we spoke to said they suffered performance anxiety and 56% said they suffered from this on a regular basis.
This National Stress Awareness Day, we want to recognise the stresses that being a professional musician can bring and help you to manage them.
We spoke to BAPAM’s Dr Carol Chapman about how to stay on top of your performance anxiety.
1. Prepare well: not only the music, but also getting yourself and all your kit there in good shape and in good time
2. Prepare with a positive mindset: challenge negative thoughts and assumptions about how it will go. Tell yourself it is going to go well and that you will enjoy it
3. Remember that audiences are usually there to enjoy the music not criticize
4. Practice voluntary control of your arousal – increasing and reducing it. It can be done! Visualisation and relaxation techniques can help. Then you can adjust your arousal as needed
5. While performing, keep the focus of your attention on the task, not your self or the audience
6. Performances will vary anyway, even in very small ways. No-one ever does it identically or perfectly every time
7. Keep going regardless, remember to breathe deeply and refocus
8. Avoid post-mortems and excess ruminating after performances, especially while using drink or drugs
9. Try to gradually face up to playing situations you find challenging. It may be easier than you imagine
10. It helps to understand the causes of your fears and to work on overcoming all the symptoms: physical, mental and emotional
REMEMBER: Very effective evidence-based treatments exist, even for long-term sufferers and you may be surprised how quickly they can start to work. Don’t suffer in silence: get help!
Are you struggling with performance anxiety? Give our Help & Advice team a call or take a look at our advice section.