10. Practise the music
It sounds obvious, but by being happy with the notes on the page you can reduce your nervouseness. It's never too late to do some practise, and by being honest and practising the bits that really need some work (rather than the bits you like) you can always make a difference.
9. Practise the other bits
If you're worried about walking onstage, bowing, page turns, etc then practise them or find a solution (photocopy the page). Don't leave this to the last minute
8. Practise in front of others
Always a tricky one, but if you start with people you really trust and move on to playing in front of people who'll make you nervous
7. Stand up straight!
The catchphrase of parents everywhere....but sometimes they have a point - you don't want your performance to come across as timid or fearful. By standing like you mean it your audience will be more convinced.
6. Eat well
Don't 'not eat' because you're nervous and don't eat rubbish - make sure you have food that's healthy and keeps energy levels up (bananas can be really good). If you're performing somewhere you don't know make sure you take something with you as you don't want to be going onstage having eaten only the 3 wine gums you found in your jacket pocket!
5. Get some sleep
Obvious really - you'll play better if you're properly rested
4. Leave plenty of time
Work out how long it will take to get to the venue and then add at least another hour! So, you might be incredibly early, but try running to the hall, changing in 30seconds and getting on stage... not recommended.
3. Be comfortable in the performance space
If you can try out the stage before the performance and make sure that the lighting is right, you know how to get on and off the stage, and you won't get lost backstage. When the moment comes to play make sure you adjust your music stand if you need to, tune if you need to and take your time to be ready to play. What seems like 3 minutes of adjusting the stand whilst the audience waits is only 20 seconds and can change the performance immesurably! The audience don't mind - they want it to sound good!
2. It's not the end of the World
It really isn't! Performances can come with a lot of pressure, but they very rarely go as badly as you might think. Even if they do the experience can only make you stronger and you'll live to play on another day.
1.Nervousness = technique
Nerves aren't a separate issue from your technical ability. Just as you practise and overcome technical problems with your playing, so you can overcome nerves... but it does take work and practise - the situation won't change overnight. The main thing to remember is that nervousness is not unchangeable and is not always a bad thing - in fact some of the best performances come when you're a bit nervous and the adrenaline rush when it works is unbeatable.
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