I have two hopeful messages to share with anyone who suffers from stage fright…
First, you are not alone.
Second, please do not despair.
I am talking because I know.
I, too, suffer from stage fright. I, too, know the devastating effects it can have on your mental clarity, emotional state, and physical awareness and execution. But I have also learned a wide variety of practical ways to transform feelings of dread and frustration into healthy nerves that can be our best friend.
To that end, we are going to change the way we think and feel…
- by understanding what performance anxiety really is,
- by clarifying our motivations for music-making,
- by aligning our thinking with reality,
- and by re-framing our attitudes toward performance.
We are also going to change the way we behave…
- by practicing having stage fright,
- by seeing how it affects our bodies,
- and by responding with simple, but effective counter-measures.
We are going to eliminate unproductive and destructive thought-feelings we no longer want to have in our brains and bodies.
We are going to override those primitive emotional and physical responses that, by predisposition or conditioning, prevent us from performing as well as we know we can.
We are going to learn that performance anxiety is not a permanent character trait.
We are going to learn that mastering our nerves is just one more challenge to overcome, just as we learn to master our scales, chords, rhythm, and technique.
And, along the way, we are going to touch upon many aspects of what it means to be human… with honesty, humor, and courage.