We all get nervous before a big show. But how you handle that nervousness has a huge impact on your performance, and can mean the difference between a great gig and an absolutely terrible one. Here are some tips you can use if you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming performance.
If you have never performed live before, your first show can be an especially frightening experience. You can reduce your anxiety greatly by conditioning yourself to play music in front of others. Try playing through your full setlist, or at least a large portion of it, in front of friends or family members. This will usually help you get used to the idea of performing for a crowd, and you’ll usually receive some great encouragement as well.
If you are comfortable with the stage you will be playing on, you are much less likely to get nervous and make mistakes during the actual performance. Try and arrive early for soundcheck, or if possible even visit the venue a few days in advance to get a feel for the acoustics, stage setup and equipment.
Filming your practice sessions and uploading them online can have a similar amount of pressure as performing live. If you can get used to the idea of being recorded, you should be easily able to adapt to live performances where all eyes are on you (and you will probably end up being filmed as well).
Warmups should be a crucial part of your backstage routine. Completing a proper warmup will make you much less susceptible to mistakes. Be sure that your warmup routine is rigorous enough to get you fully ready for the stage. You should always come up with your own routine since this will give you optimal results based on what you are going to be performing. Try taking some popular warmup exercises and modifying them to suit your needs. You can check out some of our exercises for more inspiration.
Remember that playing music is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, for both the audience and the performer. The more energy you put into your playing, the more positive feedback you will get from the audience in return. Good luck!
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