Piano Playing and Performance Anxiety

I'll never forget the first time I played the piano for an audience.

It was my first concert and it was fairly full up. I was to play my first CD "La Jolla Suite" containing 12 pieces. There was to be one intermission and the whole concert lasted about 80-90 minutes.

Let me tell you that I was very nervous. So nervous I didn't think I was going to make it through. Suffice it to say that I really didn't enjoy myself. After many hours of trying to figure out why I was so nervous, the answer came to me - it was because I was self-conscious.

I was worried about how I looked, what the music sounded like, etc. I couldn't relax because I was too concerned about what the audience was thinking about me. And to this day, giving concerts is not my favorite thing. I realized that I didn't like being the center of attention.

What to do? For most people, myself included, playing in public is a fearful experience. Many suggest that you keep at it and eventually the fear will dissipate. But I ask myself why do it in the first place if you are scared. I have no hard and fast answers like many of the public speaking books would have you believe work. The truth of the matter is that some people are more comfortable in front of others. But one thing I think works is this: Start playing for very small groups of people and work your way up.

This desensitization process works better than most other methods because you learn that the audience is just made up of a large group comprised of smaller groups. If you can play for just one or two people and feel good about it, you are solidifying this experience. Then as you gradually play for more and more people, there is no fear because you do not carry it with you.

You see, if you play first for a large group, of course you will be self-conscious. But, by gradually building up, you don't create a situation where fear is generated in the beginning. Consequently, you don't carry it with you into larger performance spaces.

Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at http://www.quiescencemusic.com/piano_lesson s.html for a FREE piano lesson!

In The News:

Hearing aids for music  Healthy Hearing
Music Week  Music Week
JP Devine: The music of summer  Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

Piano Lessons and Perfectionism

Are you a perfectionist? Does every note have to sound... Read More

Patriotic Music: Surprising Secrets About Those Flag-Waving Sounds

Whether played by a marching band, an orchestra, or a... Read More

What is Piano GHD Syndrome?

Do you remember the movie, Groundhog Day? In this wonderful... Read More

Lori Nuic Sparkles

A soulful vibe along with an amazing voice is what... Read More

Fiddle Tab Makes Learning Fiddle Fast and Easy

Learning fiddle tab is so intuitive and so easy that... Read More

How to Stop Thinking and Start Playing

Learning how to improvise is confusing for most. The sheer... Read More

Guitar Performance - Make The Most of It!

Getting ready for any type of guitar performance can be... Read More

Facts about MC Big Proof

Facts about MC Big Proof"If I was you, suicide would... Read More

Self-Expression Without Criticism

When I was 9 years old I played the Saxophone... Read More

Chords or Melody First... Which is Best?

There are basically two ways you can compose a piece... Read More

5 Ways to Enjoy Your Music Files

OK, say you've got one thousand of your favorite MP3... Read More

Composing for Dummies

When most people hear the word composer, they automatically think... Read More

Home Run Gigs

Are you still playing your heart out to small audiences... Read More

Managing Your Time, when Music isnt Your Day Job

You CAN do everything.Repeat.You CAN do everything. What you cannot... Read More

Bono: From Music To Fashion To Helping The Poor

U2s lead singer Bono isn't content with being part of... Read More

Origins of the Mathers Family

Eminem's roots can be found in Scandinavia through his mother... Read More

Piano Playing For Adults: More Fun Than Sex And Not Nearly As Dangerous!

OK, so I lied about the fun part.Maybe piano playing... Read More

Oh My Aching Head! Can Music Really Make You Feel Better?

We all know, if only instinctively, that music has a... Read More

New M3 with Competition Package

The new competition package available for the BMW M3 is... Read More

The Ostinato - What It is and How to Use It

Ostinato means "repeating pattern" and is used frequently in all... Read More

Turn It Up: Plugging Into The Perfect Guitar And Amp Settings

Yowza! Did you hear that hideous noise? It sounded like... Read More

Top 50 Music Quotations

Discover the phenomenonal complexity of music and reflect on the... Read More

Green Day: Punk Rock Masters Taming Mainstream Radio Their Way

Before they got together as Green Day, Billie Joe Armstrong,... Read More

Are iPods Changing the Way We Listen to Music

They're everywhere, and not only are they everywhere, they look... Read More

How Many Guitar Chords Do I Need To Know?

Guitar chords, (chords played specifically on a guitar,) differ only... Read More