Recitals & Events


Performance Anxiety

QuestionQuestion
Anna J., Canada

Can anyone point me towards resources to help a student with performance anxiety? She’s 13 and used to willingly play and sing for anyone who’d ask, but now she’s extremely resistant even as she’s a fabulous and sensitive musician. I’ve never felt like much of a natural performer myself and feel keenly my own struggles to play in front of others so I don’t feel like I have tools to help her (other than empathy!).

Answer
Nancy L., Ohio

Gordon Harvey created a program entitled “Playing in the Moment” that you can find in the Supplemental section of the Store [link to program in teacher store, link to program in student store] … excellent resource for a multitude of performing/focus challenges.

Answer
Jayne J., Colorado

I’ve had students with performance anxiety and it’s a very real thing. I agree with Nancy; that program has a lot to offer. One thing to stress: don’t force her into it. Always make performance optional, and encourage her to find a reason to want to share her music. Start small, having her play for family and friends, and gradually branch out. Perhaps playing a duet alongside her will ease her nerves. Have her practice shifting her focus while playing from “playing the right notes” to “having fun making music.” She had to find her own ‘why’ for performing.

Answer
Jenny D., Australia

Following the breath ..mindfulness training.

[answer author="Nancy N., New Hampshire"]

You may be seeing the result of her transition from confident preteen to self-conscious teen. My daughter’s dance teacher saw it consistently around 12-13, and said “We leave them alone for a while until they adjust to their bodies.” I saw it in my daughter who I’d counted on as a willing soloist in my church junior choir: suddenly she was barely audible! But I think their earlier training helps them adjust through their their growing pains; my daughter got through it: she was a cantor at the Christmas eve service at 16!

Original discussion started January 10, 2020

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