Performance Anxiety

UVic 2nd year clarinetist Alex Chernata took these notes during a session on performance anxiety.

  • Practice.  You have to know your instrument to find success in performance.
  • Mentally train yourself.  Replace fear of difficult passages by practicing with only your fingers to build confidence.  Try to keep your practice sessions as accurate as possible to your performance.  More specifically, pretend that you are performing when practicing and/or wear the same clothing to rehearsals with your pianist and the concert.  These methods prevent placing you into a situation that is unknown to you and prevent those pesky intrusive thoughts.  Look into training your sub conscience positively!
  • Before your show, place yourself into the shoes of the audience.  What do you want your music to say and how can you achieve that goal?  If you reach yourself emotionally, you’ll likely do so with others.
  • Performance stress is not necessarily a bad thing.  It can give you a boost of adrenaline and surprise you.  This is exactly how your body behaves under stressful situations outside of music. You must tame the beast and keep it manageable.  Fear is a completely different matter and must be dealt with.
  • Have a back up plan.  If you think you may get lost in performance during a specific spot, make yourself a mental note of where you can come back in.



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