Most piano teachers encourage their students to perform as regularly as possible, but how many of us give our students strategies for coping with performance anxiety?
We’ve all seen students who were perfectly prepared for a recital or exam, simply crumble on the day. It wasn’t a lack of ability, or drive, but simply that performance anxiety got to them.
Some nerves are to be expected for any big performance, but we need to stop nerves from turning into anxiety. This is where Dr Noa Kageyama comes in. Noa runs a fantastic blog, The Bulletproof Musician, about performance anxiety and performing at your best.
I’m so excited to have Noa on the show today, and I know you’ll all get a lot out of his expertise and insights into the “mind game” of music performance.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Why teaching performing skills should be a part of your piano teaching
- Visualisation exercises you can do even with your youngest students
- How to turn off self-criticism when performing
- How you can help your students to focus during their performance
- What diaphragmatic breathing is and why you should be teaching it
- How to practice the lead up to a performance
Items mentioned in this podcast:
- The Bulletproof Musician
- Beyond Practicing Course
- Why Practicing While Distracted Is Actually Very Important (Sometimes)
- A Simple Technique to Prevent Choking Under Pressure
- Your Brain Isn’t Wired for Consistency
- Make it Stick the Science of Successful Learning
Thank you for Tuning In!
There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, and I’m grateful that you’ve chosen mine.
Being a full-time teacher myself, I know how busy teachers are and how much time, effort and passion we put into our students. Sometimes, the last thing we want to do in our time off is listen to more piano teaching stuff! So, well done for using this time for self-improvement.
Whether you’re at the gym, on the bike or in the car, I know that you and your students will get lots out of what you learn in the long run. Just make sure you try out some of the ideas before they get lost in the business of your next lessons.
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How do you help your students cope with performing?
Do you have any other strategies that Noa didn’t mention? Something that has helped you in your own performances?
Getting ready for the Webworkshop Friday, I found this page. First, I am a student, not a teacher, and I am terrified to play before anyone, even sometimes, my teacher. I found your thoughts on drawing people in interesting. I also love to sing and have been told not to look at my audience, to look above their heads. I don’t do that, I look at them, make eye contact with them and enjoy that very much. Nervous, yes, but not to the point I can’t sing. But have no way of knowing how to do that with the piano. For the Christmas season I had to play in two piano recitals (am taking lessons from two teachers)s. The first one went horrible. Before the second one, my teacher had me play for her husband (our church music director and I know he will know every mistake I make.) That worked out well, and when I got to the second recital, the piece went much, much better. By the way, I am one of the older students, 79 years young. One teacher I am taking from is a group class and all but one of us is over 70.
What a great show this one has been. I’ve been saving it up, because I thought Noa would be amazing to hear speak – and he was!
I’ve spent 30 years as a professional musician and teacher, and for the last 10 years, I’ve also coached sport. The strategies that cross over between the two are quite fascinating. One in particular is diaphragmatic breathing and the core whilst playing, singing, running or swimming. Diaphragmatic breathing is essential to reduce heart rate and blood pressure which in turn can help to alleviate the effects of anxiety. When you diaphragmatically breathe, you are physically taking more air into the lungs and more oxygen in the blood means the heart doesn’t have to pump as hard to get oxygen into the muscles.
In 2016 my own little personal challenge is my AMusA in classical voice which requires 35mins of music from memory. So I’m going to work on those on-ramps with myself – thanks for the tip, Tim!
Here’s a link to Wikipedia on Diaphragmatic Breathing – worth a read if you don’t know what it is! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diaphragmatic_breathing
Thanks Paul. Interestingly, my mytherapist recently helped me with diaphragmatic breathing – turns out I’ve been doing it wrong all along. As you say, it’s fascinating how much crossover there is between high performance in multiple fields of discipline. Thanks for your comment!