Music performance anxiety (MPA) is a complex phenomenon triggered by multiple factors, such as genetics, the environment and one’s experience, emotions and behavior.
In fewer words, music performance anxiety is the feeling of anxiety that often times people experience when performing in front of an audience. This anxiety during performance can lead to other downside effects, such as the loss of concentration and poor performance by musicians.
Even though music performance anxiety can be caused by many factors, one major root of MPA is problematic thinking. Often times, artists have negative thoughts that produce anxiety and damage their performance. If you are a musician and you have experienced any of these thoughts
“If my performance is not perfect, I am a failure”
“I had a bad performance today and I will always be a terrible performer”
“I made a mistake during my performance, everyone noticed it and my performance is ruined”
“The audience was quiet, they probably did not enjoy my performance”
it means that you are suffering from music performance anxiety. Even though being anxious before a performance is something normal for artists, excessive anxiety which damages your performance is counterproductive. Here are some recommended steps to deal with music performance anxiety as an artist/musician:
Get help from experts
You need to find a trained therapist who can help you control your anxiety through breathing techniques and other cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Use beta blockers
This piece of advice is linked with help from experts. Depending on the case, therapists can recommend you medications, also called beta blockers designed to manage anxiety during performances. However, T.E.A.M. agency strongly advises you to only use beta blockers after consulting an expert.
Talk to your support group
Talking to people about your problems might make some feel weak, however admitting some of the issues you are facing can actually be a sign of strength. If you are facing the problem of music performance anxiety you should talk to your family and closests friends about it. If you have other musician friends try asking them how they cope with feeling anxious before a performance. Building a support group to deal with your anxiety will have positive effects, as this can boost your self-confidence and lead you to find new ways to combat your music performance anxiety.
T.E.A.M. agency is also available for consultations regarding on how to deal and improve your music performance anxiety.