Coping with Nerves
We’ve all been there. Pre-performance nerves are the most common feeling, even among
professional performers. Most of us will have experienced the symptoms; dry mouth, sweaty hands, the shakes – none of which are obviously helpful as a musician or actor. If controlled effectively, however, these feelings and sense of alertness can actually help to give a performance the edge. Here are a few things you could try next time.
In the run-up to a performance, eating and sleeping are essential. Healthy body, healthy mind! Stay focus, and confident that your hard work will pay off, and rest.
Know what you are playing, when you are playing it, and where. Check the venue location beforehand to avoid extra nerves on the day. Have a dress rehearsal if possible, or make one up yourself.
Practice in front of Others
Once you feel comfortable with your pieces, perform them in front of friends of family. Even a small audience will give you a good idea of what the real thing will feel like!
Love your job
Before you go on stage remember that music or acting is something that you love, and you are about to share pieces that you have enjoyed preparing and working on. Celebrate your journey, and everything you've have achieved so far.
Before you go on stage, take a few slow, long breaths. If you are doing a show, try this with your fellow cast members, it will unite you all, and help you concentrate as a whole team.
Don’t worry about mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes, so smile them away! Remember that enjoying your performance is far more important than a mistake of two, especially when they don’t knock you down or affect your performance. Your audience will appreciate and applaud your confidence.
When you walk into the exam room or onto the stage, smile at the audience. The act of smiling, even if you don’t really feel like it, encourages the release of endorphins (the body’s feel-good chemicals). These endorphins improve your state of mind and help you to relax.
So, yeah. Keep calm and smash that show!
Marlen Vasilopoulou, Music Director