Dealing with performance anxiety

Concerts are nerve racking. So much preparation goes into a rock concert, so much is expected to go well, so much shame can overwhelm the player if he messes up. More often than not, the performers get butterflies in their stomach, they feel sick, some of them even puke before stepping on stage. Also, sadly, many musicians are unable to tame their nerves and crash miserably in front of the audience.

It is tragic. But, what can be done?

I’ll talk about the act of performing and what the performer  can do psychologically.

So, let’s put it in situation: You’re about to go on stage and the internal monologue goes something like this:

“- Will I be able to remember my part? Will all the gear work? Is my costume all right? Is my instrument in tune? Are my limb nimble and trained to do what I ask them to do? Am I prepared?”

The concert is about to begin and the musician is riddle with doubts.

But he is forgetting something very, very important: the other musicians.

If he is part of a band, he can rely on the others! As a matter of fact, the audience came to see just that: the very special relationship the musicians have with each other. They care about the rest, but they are here to “see” a band. Have you noticed that people go “see” a concert and not “hear” or “listen” to  one?

What the performer could have worked on is the bond he has with the other performers. That would have helped his performance anxiety. Instead of being obsessed with his own stuff, he can focus on having a good time and make a party happen with his buddies with music, through music. I can assure you that even if he messes up, but everyone on stage stays relax and friendly and makes a little joke about it, the audience won’t care that much. On the contrary they usually are delighted  to witness the intimate workings of the band. And, to them, it’s the most valuable thing they could see.

My advice: prepare, practice and rehearse, yes, but do not forget to interact with the other performers before going on stage and make sure you keep the fun alive while you play. The crowd will love it: They can’t get that on YouTube.