TakeLessons Provides Tips For When Picturing The Audience In Their Underwear Doesn't Work

TakeLessons explores trick and tips for dealing with stage fright and performance anxiety.

As the American Music Awards draw near, the set list for the performing artists continues to grow - Justin Bieber, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson and many others are scheduled to perform on November 20th when the awards air. Of course, these artists have many years of performing under their belts. To them, one can only figure it's second nature to be up on stage performing for a crowd of thousands, let alone on live TV. But what about the rest of us?

TakeLessons (http://takelessons.com), the nation's fastest growing music lesson provider, has been helping students reach their goals since 2004 - for some, this may mean working on a specific technique or piece; for others, the goal may be to overcome stage fright, or performance anxiety.

Most musicians, at some point in their careers, have experienced stage fright or nerves to overcome. But forget the age-old advice of imagining the audience in their underwear - here are a few essential pointers that really work...

Step 1: Self-Assessment - Get to know yourself as a musician and as a performer. For example...
- What are your capabilities and limitations as a performer?
- Ask yourself: "What am I really afraid of?" Worst-case scenario, you run off the stage and everyone laughs hysterically. That's unlikely, and might give you perspective into the realities of what it is you are really afraid of.\r\n- Try not to confuse self-assessment with self-criticism!

Step 2: Gradual Exposure and Preparation
- Look for opportunities for exposure to mild to moderate levels of stress that challenge but do not overwhelm your coping skills, such as visualization of the performance.
- Other examples: practice performances, dress rehearsals, taping yourself and playing back.
- Be thoroughly prepared. Nothing replaces adequate time spent in rehearsal and practice.

Step 3: During the Performance
- Rather than blocking out the audience, or seeing them in their underwear, try seeing them as allies who are generally supportive and want you to do well.
- Remember, most performers have to contend with anxiety - it comes with the territory. You're in good company!
- Feelings of anxiety are natural, and can be used to your advantage.
- Act calmly, even if you feel nervous. The more you dwell on anxiety, the more you are likely to remain preoccupied with it.
- Try to overlook minor errors when you perform. Overall impressions are more important to the audience than note-perfect performances.
- Enjoy what you've accomplished. Others are more likely to enjoy it this way, too.

Step 4: After the Performance
- Temper such external feedback with internal beliefs and expectations you have already established.
- Asking others afterwards, "how did I do" without asking yourself first might be depriving yourself of a significant source of valid information about your performance: YOU.

View the full article, Coping With Music Performance Anxiety, on the University of Wisconson-Eau Claire website.

If your musical goals involve overcoming stage fright, TakeLessons hopes these tips help you perform your best. And if your nerves still get the best of you - don't dwell on it afterward. Celebrate your accomplishments, and keep working toward your goal. Teachers and students - do you have any routines or tips to help others combat their nerves? What have your own experiences been like? Let us know - head over to the TakeLessons blog, where readers can also find a list of the top iPhone apps for musicians, and join in on the discussion on Facebook (http://facebook.com/takelessons).