How to Get Over Performance Anxiety in Music

How to Get Over Performance Anxiety in Music

If you're a musician, you know that performance anxiety can be a real problem.

Whether it's giving a presentation at work or playing in front of a crowd, the fear of being judged can ruin your chance to shine.

Performance anxiety is a very real phenomenon for many musicians.

It can manifest itself in several ways, from shaking hands and sweaty palms to heart palpitations and full-blown panic attacks.

For some musicians, the mere thought of performing in front of an audience is enough to trigger anxiety.

But there is hope! 

By using some simple techniques, you'll have some tools to help you get over your performance anxiety and make the most of any opportunity. 

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Understand the Causes of Performance Anxiety 

The first step is to understand the causes of performance anxiety.

Musicians often feel anxious because they are worried about making mistakes, appearing awkward, or being judged by others.

Once you understand the source of your anxiety, you can begin to develop strategies for dealing with it.

For instance, you might want to practice your music in front of friends or family members before performing in front of a larger audience.

Or, you might try listening to calming music or taking deep breaths before going on stage.

By taking these steps, you can help to ease your performance anxiety and give yourself the confidence you need to give a great performance.

Identify the Symptoms of Performance Anxiety 

This can help you to better understand the underlying causes and develop strategies for overcoming your fears and anxieties around playing before others.

Some of the main symptoms of performance anxiety in music include:

  • Feelings of nervousness or panic
  • Increased heart rate or shallow breathing
  • Apprehension about what others will think of your abilities
  • Rumination on past mistakes or perceived failures during previous performances
  • Physical discomfort while performing (e.g., clammy hands)
  • Shaky hands or limbs while playing an instrument
  • Blocking out distractions while playing, angry outbursts after a performance
  • A loss of motivation after a poor performance
  • An inability to focus or concentrate during practice sessions

By becoming aware of these various symptoms and working with a therapist or coach to address the underlying factors that may be contributing to them, you can start to overcome your performance anxiety and reach your full potential as a musician.

Practice Relaxation Techniques to Calm Your Nerves 

Practicing relaxation techniques is a great way to calm your nerves and get rid of performance anxiety in music. 

One technique you can try is deep breathing.

  1. Slowly, breathe in and deeply through your nose; fill up your lungs.
  2. Then, exhale slowly through your mouth.
  3. Repeat this several times until you feel your body relax.

Another technique is progressive muscle relaxation.

  1. Start by tensing the muscles in your toes for a few seconds, then releasing the tension.
  2. Work your way up through your body, tensing and releasing the muscles in your legs, stomach, arms, neck, and face.

These techniques can help you to focus on the present moment and prevent you from worrying about making a mistake during your performance.

With practice, you'll be able to overcome performance anxiety and give a confident performance.

Visualize Yourself Giving a Successful Performance 

If you are looking to get rid of performance anxiety in music, one of the best things you can do is to visualize yourself giving an amazing, successful performance.

This involves forming a clear mental image of yourself standing on stage, perfectly calm and confident, and playing your instrument or singing like a true virtuoso.

By practicing this visualization regularly, you can train your mind to associate excellent performances with feelings of calm and positivity, which will, in turn, help you to overcome your nervousness and anxiety when it comes time to perform for others.

Furthermore, because visualization is a form of self-hypnosis and can work at an unconscious level, this technique has the potential to bring about real change in your ability to perform well under pressure.

Simply put, if you want to feel great about your musical abilities and give an outstanding performance every time, visualizing yourself doing just that is the way to go.

Take Care of Your Body Before a Performance 

Practicing a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep are great things to focus on when trying to lessen the effects of performance anxiety.

Eating well makes your body feel strong and energized, which helps to boost confidence even before you step onto the stage.

And by making sure to get enough rest leading up to the performance, you ensure that any physical exhaustion is minimized and that your mind will be at its sharpest during the show.

By focusing on these two simple things, you can minimize much of the feeling of dread that can accompany music performances, and ultimately improve the quality of your playing as well.

So next time you have a big show coming up, remember to take good care of yourself both physically and mentally so that you can perform at your best.

Prepare Mentally for a Performance 

This involves taking the necessary steps to reduce distractions and calm your nerves so that you can focus on delivering your best possible performance.

At the outset, this might involve something as simple as finding a place to practice where you won't be interrupted or upsetting your routine, such as by going for a run or relaxing with some yoga before warming up.

In addition, you can also incorporate techniques like visualizing yourself performing well and making a conscious effort to stay in the present moment throughout the process.

When done correctly, these steps will help you eliminate performance anxiety and embrace each moment on stage with confidence and ease.

And at the end of the day, isn't that what truly matters most?

Deal with Any Negative Thoughts 

One effective strategy for dealing with negative thoughts is to address them directly.

This can be done by challenging your unhelpful assumptions and replacing them with more positive, realistic ones.

For example, if you find yourself thinking that you won't be able to perform well in front of an audience, try instead to focus on specific things that have gone well in the past or reflect on your strengths as an artist.

By taking this approach, you will start to weaken the grip of negative thoughts, diminishing their power over your performance and helping you overcome any feelings of anxiety or self-doubt.

Remember that Everyone Makes Mistakes 

No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes from time to time.

With this in mind, it's important to cut yourself some slack and remember that a mistake here or there is not the end of the world.

It's often these very moments that can help us to connect with our audience on a deeper level and convey our artistry more freely.

So the next time you're in the middle of a performance, take a deep breath and try to let go of any negative emotions that might be holding you back.

Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and know that these moments can even help make your performance better in the long run.


The information in this blog post is for informational purposes only. 

Please do not substitute the content in this blog post for medical advice from a licensed professional.

Seek Professional Help if Necessary

If you find that you're struggling to overcome performance anxiety on your own, it might be helpful to seek professional help.

Many qualified therapists and counselors can provide support and guidance through this process, and they can offer valuable insight into how to deal with the problem effectively.

In addition, there are also several books and online resources that can help you alleviate feelings of anxiety and improve your performance skills.

With time, patience, and a little bit of professional support, you will be able to overcome the effects of performance anxiety for good.


Performance anxiety is a common problem that many people face. Learning how to get over performance anxiety in music is a skill to consider learning.

But by using the right techniques, you can overcome your anxiety and give a great performance.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you're feeling nervous about a performance, and you're sure to do your best.

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October 7th, 2022