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#106 Transforming Stage Fright into Stage Delight: A Guide for Parents and Teacher




By Christy | the Practicing Pro


The flutter in the heart, the slight tremble in the knees - every performer, young or old, knows about pre-stage jitters. But what if we could turn this anxiety into a celebration of music? Here’s how:

Start Early, Embrace how Sharing Brings Happiness to Others 
Begin the performance journey early. At Scotia Suzuki School of Music, our Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) class embodies this philosophy. Imagine tiny children, in their special costumes, creating music with their parents and advanced teen musicians. This happens at our school in March, April, May and again in June. By their third and fourth performances, their confidence blooms when they showcase their talents at a Family Fun Fair in June. This early exposure to performing nurtures a deep-seated love for music and sharing music with others, providing happy, positive experiences which banish future stage fright.

Explore the World of Live Music
Frequently attending concerts exposes children to the real and relatable side of performances. They witness firsthand that even seasoned musicians encounter hiccups, yet the show goes on. They continue on and are proud of their performance. The audience cheers for them, and it's a celebration of sharing, not perfection. Such experiences reinforce the understanding that mistakes are part being a human and part of learning and growth, making them less daunting and stressful.

Foster a Positive Performance Mindset
The "why" behind performances is crucial. Encourage children to see their performances as acts of joy and to learn to share their music as a gift to others rather than moments of stress and judgment. A positive reinforcement approach, focusing on their music and how it brings happiness to others, creates a nurturing environment for growth and confidence. They feel like they have something special they can offer to others. Children love to both receive and give gifts. They can learn that their music is a gift to others. One that money can't buy and few can give besides them which makes them unique and special. 

Embrace Stories of Resilience
Sharing stories of performers who overcame onstage surprises with grace and humour can be incredibly inspiring. Tales of musicians who face unexpected moments with a smile remind young performers that perfection isn’t the goal; resilience and the courage to continue on. A few of my favourite stories are about the smoke alarm that went off during a concert dress rehearsal from the fog machine and a faulty smoke detector! The alarm ran for 15 minutes, and the show rehearsal just went on. The firemen even came into the hall, and the show still went on. The children will talk about this forever! Another time, I was at a Highland Dance competition, and during the lilt dance, a dancer's skirt velcro came undone, and their skirt fell right down to the floor! She just hopped over her skirt on the floor, dancing like nothing happened!

Mind Your Self-Talk
Practicing positive self-talk and visualization techniques can significantly impact a performer's confidence. Encouraging children to envision a successful performance and focus on gratitude toward their audience helps develop a supportive internal dialogue. I like to thank the audience for coming out tonight "instead of staying home and watching Netflix" or something else like that, and this makes the children and adults smile and remember to feel grateful to be there.

Remember the Bigger Picture
Highlighting the broader purpose of performing – to share a piece of oneself with the world – helps put those nerves in perspective. Reminding children that their music has the power to uplift and inspire underscores the true value of their performance, far beyond a perfect execution. I love to remind them to look at the people's faces at the end of their performance when they cheer and clap. They are SMILING SO BIG!

Ensuring Comfort and Confidence
At Scotia Suzuki School of Music, we stress the importance of preparing for performances. Our concert guidelines are that pieces should be performance-ready at least three months in advance, discouraging the use of concerts as pressure tactics to practice. This approach ensures that performances become opportunities for genuine sharing rather than stress-inducing events. It’s crucial that pieces feel not just learned but comfortably mastered so that the act of performing is a relaxed, joyous expression from the musician.

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Nurturing a love for performance among young musicians involves more than just practice—it requires a supportive community, positive mindsets, and a focus away from perfection and toward “sharing joy” and “Making others happy”. By adopting these strategies, we alleviate performance anxiety, celebrate musical growth and the heartfelt sharing of melodies that are a gift to share with others. Our aim is for every young musician to step onto the stage not with trepidation but with a heart full of excitement to share their music with others. Guiding young performers through these steps not only equips them with the tools to tackle performance anxiety but also deepens their love for music and sharing it with others. The "journey from nervousness to joy" in performing is a beautiful transformation to witness and support.


Check out my Free PDF download Checklist for a Successful Music Practice for teachers and practicing parents.

Your easy checklist for successful home music practices from Christy, the practicing pro. Whether you are a new or seasoned practice parent or music teacher, this checklist will help you organize before, during, and after practices for effective and fun practices.

INVITATION from Christy Hodder:


Speaking of amazing practices, let me tell you all about the digital course, the Practicing Pro Academy. This is for the serious practicing parents and music teachers and is an at-your-own-pace, step-by-step, online course to bring you more effective, positive, and fun home music practices. Registrants receive a special package in the mail from me, and I am with you in person with Q&As to answer all your questions.

Learn more about PPA and join the waitlist HERE for the next Practicing Pro Academy course. It's only offered once a year so you don't want to miss it. The registration will only open for a few weeks and I'll let everyone on the waitlist know immediately so that you can grab one of the spots.

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