I am here to attest that stage fright for flutists is a very real condition. When I began performing (even at a young age), I had a few very LARGE problems that prevented me from performing at my best. In fact, they prevented me from performing a lot of times because they were such a big deal.
First, my heart would start beating rapidly,.. very rapidly. I was always worried that I would have a heart-attack before I even got on stage!
Next, my tongue would get dry. I mean dry as the Sahara desert. It felt like a wooden block inside my mouth, and I couldn’t “feel” it quite right either.
Lastly, my brain would feel like it was wiggling which caused a very “dizzy” feeling.
Oh, what a problem these were!! I was a very good flutist, and I knew that. But, I couldn’t seem to control my body during these performance situations.
Well, fortunately for anyone reading this here, I have the fix. I no longer feel as if I’m going to die when I perform.
I’m giving you 3 of my very best tools to combatting the stage-fright monster:
1. Get used to being in front of crowds, period.
Find whatever opportunities you can to put yourself in-front of a group of people. Exercise your leadership skills at a church function, youth group activity, or in a school peer-situation. You’ll find yourself daring more and more to speak up, and let others hear your voice. Once you find out that reactions are mild, you’ll get more and more bold. This “bold-ness” is what will take your confidence level to a new place which will allow you to find more calmness in your performing life as well.
2. Perform pieces that are below your level.
Yes, choose the “Mary Had a Little Lamb” type pieces and strut your stuff! You know that you can do it, and it’ll show. Worm your way up the levels performing all the way. Where you find your break-downs (mentally or physically) is where you have exceeded not only your playing abilities, but your confidence abilities as well. Always perform below your level for maximum awesomeness.
3. Perform the same pieces many, many times.
You know, they say practice makes perfect. Well, practicing in your living-room isn’t even close to the same as performing in front of a crowd (especially on stage). So, practicing “performing” is what makes it all possible, and easy. I promise. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. Over and over. And, I’m telling you the truth. The more performance experiences you can line up for yourself the better. It doesn’t matter if the crowd is 1, 2, or 2,000. It’ll feel the same, and you’ll start learning to cope.