Confidence Conquers Music Performance Anxiety

Music performance self-confidence is an important mental skill that musicians must possess to be successful in music and life! On the flip side, self-doubt is the number one mental barrier that blocks musicians from confident, enjoyable performances.

A common challenge that musicians face is the ability to perform as well as they do in practice. There is a big difference between practice self-confidence and performance self-confidence.  Any musician can feel confident and look great in practice, but the challenge is having the same high level of confidence when performing under pressure—in high risk performance situations—in important public performances or auditions and  competitions.

Automaker Henry Ford was quoted as saying,

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”

This saying holds true for performers as well.  At any one time, musicians either think in ways that boost their confidence or in ways that hurt their confidence.   Our approach is to help musicians improve their thinking so they can feel more confident by helping them identify and discard thoughts or beliefs that undermine confidence.

It may seem to you that some musicians are blessed with a high level of confidence.  It is true that some musicians possess high levels of confidence in their ability and it shows in the performances.   However, confidence is not hereditary or is it a human right.   Confidence is the tangible result of positive actions that performers take:  building a positive self-concept, practicing positive self-talk, rejecting doubt and limiting beliefs, and establishing and maintaining healthy beliefs that reflect reality and serve to reinforce success and enjoyment in performance.

Having high levels of confidence is so important to conquering performance anxiety that we spend most of our time teaching musicians how to develop and harness the power of confidence.   If you would like to start developing and harnessing your music confidence for peak performance, contact us today!

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  1. Hi! I found this article because of the epic failures on every performances I’ve had. As a trainee for opera singing by a Sister. And on my performance the name of Sister is tagged. So on every events that require singing our school include me.My first failure was on our choir. The name of the Sister who trains me was tagged on my failure so I really felt bad. The second time was just awhile ago. We were asked to sing an opening prayer and we got really nervous but we still sung it normally for others but we can trace the nervousness on our voices. At first i thought it was just because it was just the starting of the program but on my solo on the ending prayer I sung it on an modern style when I was supposed to sing it on opera. And now I’m pressed because I might embarrassed Sister all over again.
    I know I’m good at opera especially during practice and it’s my forte but when it comes to performances i fail. I don’t feel nervous on acting, on dancing, and on singing modern songs. I plan on being a musician someday so I have to audition And now I’m starting to feel like I feel I will be more nervous and I’ll FAIL BIGTIME. Please help me. Singing is my passion so I really want to get rid of this anxiety. Please help me

    • Dr. Diana Allan says:

      Danice, thank you for writing. When we are extremely passionate about something, we care a great deal about it. I can hear that this is true with you and singing. We often have expectations for our performance as well and when we don’t perform up to those expectations, we feel like it’s an “epic fail.” When you write that you have had epic failures on “every” performance, I’m curious. EVERY performance? Think back and try to recall a performance that may not have been exactly how you wanted it, but wasn’t an “epic” fail. (write me again and let me know!) In addition to the CONFIDENCE you need to perform your best, FOCUS is really important. How and what you focus on during practice and performance will play an important part in creating or relieving anxiety. First of all, prepare as well as you can. Practice the techniques you are being taught by isolating each phrase and THEN, PERFORM the piece all the way through without stopping and without judging yourself or your performance as to how good it is. This involves turning off the evaluating thoughts in your head. You might record (video best) yourself so you can run it back and evaluate it AFTER you have performed it in practice. This type of practice will help you to practice TRUSTING yourself and your ability—an important building block of confidence. When it comes to performing, keep your focus on what is most important. Right now, it sounds like the most important thing is not embarrassing or disappointing yourself or Sister. If this is your main focus you will probably keep getting really nervous. What else could you focus on to keep you in the moment of performing and expressing the text of your music? Can’t wait to hear from you again.

      • Hello :) thank you so much for replying and you’re welcome. Well not all, but on the opera singing. I know in this type of music the singers should relax and just let the air and voice come out, so in my case i can’t relax. Mmm well, on my solo part on our Les Miserables song numbers I sung well but then my wig fell ( on the part where they try to yank Fantine’s hair) and i was able to catch it, then i got affected how most of the audience laughed on that part (i get very sensitive when i get laughed at even if it’s not a big deal) so i got distracted that i forgot that i have another scene coming. So i was a minute late for the scene. But overall until the ending part my singing was great! haha. Yes, I do admit I stress myself too much and how I over think too much. And I tend to doubt myself a lot. I have no idea. I’m the nervous type of person. Thank you very much!

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