Many parents ask me how to help their children with stage fright and nerves. It is becoming more frequent that children are encouraged to do classroom performances or music nights and dealing with nerves is hard! Even now I still get nervous when I have to perform and even in our community music groups because I want to deliver great material for you all.
For children though it can be very daunting heading up on stage to perform a piece or to share a presentation in front of classroom peers.
These are my five tips for helping with stage fright in both preparation and the performance:
NERVES are ok!
It is expected that your child will be nervous about performing especially if they have worked hard for this opportunity. Instead of saying, “You’ll be fine” you can give them other suggestions like, “I’m sure all the other children are nervous too. Let’s make sure you feel nice and ready for your performance or presentation”. Some children also respond to have a checklist of tasks to complete before their performance.
Practice makes confident performers
From my personal experience we always perform better when we feel confident about the piece we are playing. If your child is someone who has serious stage fright then going through their piece and knowing it super well really helps them. It is also a great tool to encourage them to perform it with confidence at home!
Small performance opportunities
With many of my students I always encourage small performance opportunities in our class time and include it in their home practice. These can include simple exercises or a piece performed in front of their families, allowing children to introduce themselves, giving the child an opportunity to create their own song. I also recommend making it a safe and fun environment to get things wrong and reinforcing that that is part of learning.
ABC Performance day
Accept: On the day of the performance let your child know that they are ready to go out there and do their best because doing their best is all that matters.
Breathe: If your child is feeling quite anxious beforehand they can do some simple breathing exercises to calm them down. Go to a quiet space and focus on deep breathes: TIP use a straw to help with this and encourage your child to breathe out through the straw.
Centre: Another great way to reduce nerves is to get them thinking about what they are performing or speaking about. You can get your child to close their eyes and visualise their piece eg. where their hands go on the piano, the mood of the song, the character they might be performing or why they love this song or speech.
Last but not least let your child have fun with their practice and their performance opportunities. Don’t forget to encourage their achievements of performing even if it is something small so they attach a positive experience with their nerves!
Miss Lauren teaches piano, guitar, singing, drama and musical performance for primary and secondary school aged children via My Musical Child. Lauren is an accomplished musician, singer and performer with a special interest in Theatre and Education. She performs regularly in a variety of musical theatre and choral settings.