Beyond Stage Fright - Managing Performance Nerves
Welcome to the Manage your Performance Nerves 5-day online course. I’m Charlotte Tomlinson and I’m a musician and performance coach based in the UK. I specialise in helping musicians move through out-of-control performance nerves and all the physical tensions that can go with those nerves, into a free, joyful and inspired performing life. This short course aims to start you on the first steps of a journey to help you find ways to manage those nerves so that you can perform to your full potential and enjoy the whole experience. There'll be a short video for each day of the course but it’s worth checking out the written part of each day, because I’ll be adding more details there.
You sing or play an instrument because you enjoy it and because the thought of playing all that wonderful music is so enticing. You also want to be able to play in front of other people with freedom and enjoyment, knowing that you’re performing to the best of your ability. But perhaps at a certain point you recognize that your performance nerves are getting out of control and are starting to have a negative effect on you. They are impacting your enjoyment of the music and then performing starts to become an unpleasant experience to be endured rather than enjoyed. What’s important here is not to try to get rid of those nerves altogether or to fight them into submission; It’s more a case of finding ways of bringing them back into balance. You need nervous energy in the form of adrenalin to perform but what you want to cultivate is a healthy dose of that nervous energy. This both stops you from being complacent but more importantly, gives you the fuel, the excitement that can enhance your playing.
So what are the steps you can take to support yourself in this? The first to understand your own experience of nerves and how they show themselves. They might be completely different from anyone else’s. Are they physical symptoms – clammy hands, racing heart beat? Do you notice that you tense up before you perform? Or do you feel anxious, doubting your own ability and giving yourself a tough time?
Whatever your feelings, there is so much you can do to help yourself and the beginning of that journey can start here, with this short course. Over the next few days, we will look at four different areas in turn: understanding the fight-flight response, practice, the Inner Critic, and the performance itself. The activities related to each lesson will be reflective work with some practical tips to put into action and I really encourage you to do those activities. They will help the learnings to stick! Tomorrow we’ll be exploring the fight-flight response and the impact that can have on performance nerves.
Resources and further reading