How I deal with my performance anxiety? (Video)

I prepared a video as a meditation, or spiritual assist for tonight. I’m playing at my house of religious worship. It’s an open MIC event, and I thought it would be a relaxing opportunity for SHARING. Underline that last word and think about tossing PERFORMANCE out of your vocabulary. Key words– getting inside the music–GIVING it as a gift to others without expecting a return of any kind.

Expunge JUDGMENT.. and believing listeners are counting your note errors and the rest.

The best advice I can give is imparted in the footage below, followed by my dress rehearsal–imagining I’m at the piano, in a warm, loving space.

Here’s my mantra… quotes from Just Being at the Piano by Mildred Portney Chase:

“To be a pianist, in one sense of the word, is to think that a daddy longlegs on the window sill is dancing to your playing; it is to think that the breeze came through the window just to talk to your music; it is to feel that one phrase loves another; it is to think that the tree is the teacher of the tranquility you need in your playing; It is to know a loneliness that is crowded with the beautiful as you play.”

Performance Anxiety and the Pianist


2 thoughts on “How I deal with my performance anxiety? (Video)”

  1. Lovely performance of Fur Elise! I appreciate the emphasis you place on SHARING rather than PERFORMANCE. I struggled with performance anxiety throughout my performing career (very short-lived) in college as a piano performance major and still struggle with it today. It always gets the best of me, and I leave every performing venue feeling so disappointed about my performance. I went nearly 20+ years without ever touching a keyboard after graduating college. I’d love to begin playing again just for enjoyment. I started a master’s program in piano pedagogy/performance back in 2004, but soon discontinued after realizing how badly my skills had declined (not to mention feeling tremendous pressure from my instructor!) and how much time and energy it would take to get back to a “performing” level. I went back to school for music therapy instead. Now I teach piano part-time as I finish a masters in social work. Thank you for sharing what works for you as a performer, especially the imagery and the excerpt you shared from “Just Being at the Piano.” I plan to purchase the book soon!


    1. Thanks for your precious sharing, Marijane. Your journey sounds akin to mine, as I took a degree in Music Therapy in NYU, but decided teaching was my passion, and embarked on a long career in that venue. I think you will enjoy Just Being at the Piano. It’s a continued source of inspiration. I appreciated your like the Fur Elise rendering.



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