What to Do After Your Performance to Prevent Future Performance Anxiety

By Ryan Rivera

Ryan RiveraAnxiety-reduction strategies for after a performance, to help reduce anxiety the next time you perform.

Many brass players experience some type of performance anxiety when they go on stage. Some find this anxiety to be exhilarating, potentially helping them get into the zone of the performance. But most find it to be a distraction, causing them to experience stress on stage that takes away from the joy of creating music.

Most strategies to reduce performance anxiety take place before the performance begins. The idea – rightfully – is that it’s important to control your anxiety first, because once you’re on stage the music becomes more important. But performance anxiety tends to be recurring, and one of the reasons it persists is because of what brass players do after the performance is over.

That’s why it’s important that you also use anxiety-reduction strategies after the performance is over – to prevent you from feeling as much anxiety the next time you have a performance.

Ways to Reduce Post-Performance Anxiety

• Accentuate the Positives

There’s no such thing as a truly terrible performance. Even if you dropped your instrument, cried, and ran off stage, chances are that something positive still came of the event. But after experiencing performance anxiety, there’s a tendency to only focus on the negatives.

You need to change this mindset. You can do this by trying to list out – either on paper or in your head – all of the truly, 100% good things that you managed to accomplish during your performance. Because the truth is that only the good aspects of a performance matter – you can always improve on the flaws, but successes can never be taken away.

• Keep Your Mind Busy

After the performance, keep your mind busy as well. Once you’ve accentuated the positives, you should try to remain active so that you can’t let yourself dwell on any negatives. Go exercise if you can or chat it up with people you care about. Do something so that you don’t allow your mind to worry about what you can improve. You train regularly – you know what you can improve – and how you did on your performance has no bearing on that. Don’t allow your mind to replay the night over and over and try to catch any mistake, because it won’t help you improve and can only hurt your potential to play anxiety free after.

• Avoid the After Party

Not every brass player has this option, but if possible it’s best to avoid partying it up after the event is over. Your goal should be to relax, so that you learn to associate the performance with a relaxing experience. Parties only add to the anxiety high you experience after the event is over. Performance anxiety is about a mindset – as far as the music is concerned, playing in a concert hall is no different than practicing in your room. Your job is still to produce the same sound at the same pace. The only difference is that this time there is an audience. So for many, it’s in your best interests to treat your performance as a day like any other, rather than celebrating its completion.

Methods of Relieving Anxiety

These types of anxiety reduction strategies are just a small sample of what you can attempt to help you reduce your anxiety. Some people like to replay their entire set one last time once it’s over so that their final memory isn’t the performance, while others find relaxation strategies and other devices to relieve them of some of their anxiousness. Regardless, it’s important to remember that reducing performance anxiety is something you need to commit to, and what you do after the performance plays a big role in that commitment.

About the Author: Ryan Rivera had his own stage fright whenever he needed to go up in front of an audience. This anxiety caused him several problems, until he used the techniques above which helps others with their anxiety issues.

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