Have you ever faced your time to shine, and felt overcome with an intense hesitation or worry about an upcoming performance? As the time nears for you to address your audience, do you suffer from sweaty palms? Is there a lump in your throat? Do you experience tremors, tension, stuttering, upset stomach or loss of focus? All of these symptoms are a sign that you may suffer from performance anxiety, which is a common problem that requires a little mental rewiring to get you on the right track.
Music performance anxiety develops from the thoughts, feelings and habits of a musician. The level of anxiety that one has will affect a musician's desire to perform, as well as their ability. Nadel Paris says that in order to deliver a high-quality performance, a musician must overcome the mental obstacles that create a barrier between wanting to perform and actually completing the act. When you feel anxious, pressure begins to build up that makes it impossible to pick up an instrument or sing a song.
Main Types of Performance Anxiety
There are three main kinds of performance anxiety that musicians encounter. The first occurs before a performance date is even mentioned. Fear of rejection or self-doubt regarding their abilities may hinder a musicians attempt to arrange a showing of their talents. The anxiety sometimes mounts to the point where a musician never feels they are truly ready to perform in front of others.
The second type of anxiety occurs during an actual performance. Gripped by fear of what the audience thinks of them, a musician's body might tremble. Sweat may form on their forehead, nose, neck or hands. These bodily reactions may also impact the way an instrument is played. Voices become tight or locked, emitting cracked, flat or quivering notes. The anxiety of a musician might be so high that they may actually self-sabotage their performance without even knowing it.
Anxious musicians often become quite distracted by the slightest movement or noise during a performance. They might take this opportunity to blame their inability to complete their set because of outside interruptions. This is just an excuse. Within themselves, they do not feel completely adequate to continue their performance. Musicians with performance anxiety often exhibit poor concentration, as well as loss of focus.
After a performance, the anxiety madness continues, which is
seen through a harsh, unforgiving critique of their presentation. The musicians
will nit-pick every aspect of their set and despite positive encouragement and
comments, they will continue to downplay and dismantle their ability.
Also read here: Jazz Advice by Nadel Paris You Need to Play Better