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Overcoming The Fear of Playing Live

Overcoming stage fright is a common challenge for musicians of all ages. For young performers in middle school bands, high school ensembles, or even as soloists and small groups, the fear of playing live can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry, this article is here to guide you through the steps to conquer those nerves and enjoy the thrill of live performance!

Overcoming Stage Fright
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Start Small and Dream Big

Begin with Baby Steps:

  • Practice in front of friends and family: They’re your biggest fans!
  • Join a school band or music group: It’s more fun with others.

Overcoming stage fright is not just about facing a crowd; it’s about embracing your talent and sharing it with the world. It’s a journey that many musicians, young and old, embark on. For the budding artists in middle school bands, the dedicated members of high school ensembles, and the courageous soloists and small ensembles, the fear of playing live can loom large. But this fear doesn’t have to be a showstopper. This article is your backstage pass to overcome stage fright. With each note and every beat, you’ll learn how to overcome stage fright, ensuring that it will never overcome you. So, take a deep breath, step into the limelight, and let’s turn those jitters into a performance that will resonate with every heart in the audience. Get ready to conquer those nerves and bask in the thrill of live performance!

boy playing on trumpet
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Preparation is Your Best Friend

Know Your Stuff:

  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse: The more you practice, the more confident you’ll feel.
  • Visualize success: Imagine the applause and cheers.

Know your stuff—it’s the golden rule for overcoming stage fright. When you rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, each note becomes a familiar friend, and each rhythm feels like a heartbeat. This repetition is the key to unlocking confidence, transforming the daunting stage into a welcoming home. As you stand there, ready to perform, close your eyes for a moment and visualize success. Hear the applause and cheers; let them fuel your spirit. Remember, stage fright will not overcome you; instead, you will overcome stage fright with each practiced step and every envisioned triumph.

The Power of Together

Lean on Your Bandmates:

  • Encourage each other: Everyone’s in this together.
  • Learn from mistakes: They’re just stepping stones to greatness.

Lean on your bandmates; it’s the harmony beyond the music that fortifies us against stage fright. When we encourage each other, we build a symphony of support, ensuring that stage fright will not overcome anyone in the ensemble. Together, we are a chorus of confidence, where every note matters and every player has a part. And when mistakes happen—and they will—we remember they’re not the end of our song. They’re just stepping stones to greatness, lessons that teach us how to overcome stage fright. So, let’s turn our collective fears into a crescendo of courage and show the world the power of overcoming together.

skilled asian woman playing flute
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Solo Stars Shine Bright

For the Brave Soloists:

  • Pick a piece you love: Your passion will show.
  • Take deep breaths: It calms the nerves.

For the Brave Soloists out there, remember that overcoming stage fright starts with the music itself. Pick a piece you love, let your passion be the guide, and your performance will glow with sincerity. It’s this genuine love for the melody that speaks to the audience, more than any note could. And when the spotlight finds you, take deep breaths. Feel the music within you, steady your heart, and calm your nerves. This is how you overcome stage fright—not just by playing notes, but by sharing the story they tell. Your solo is not just a performance; it’s a narrative that you alone can weave, turning anxiety into anticipation, and fear into triumph.

Small Groups, Big Impact

Making Music with Friends:

  • Choose songs that suit everyone: It’s teamwork!
  • Have fun: That’s what music is all about.

Making Music with Friends is a symphony of collaboration and joy. It’s about choosing songs that suit everyone, because it’s teamwork that creates the most beautiful harmonies. When we select pieces that resonate with each member, we’re not just playing music; we’re weaving a tapestry of diverse talents into a single, stunning performance. And let’s not forget the most important part—have fun! After all, the heart of music is enjoyment. It’s this shared joy that helps us overcome stage fright, turning a potentially nerve-wracking experience into an exhilarating adventure. So, gather your friends, pick your songs, and let the magic of music remind you why overcoming stage fright is worth every note.

Stories of Triumph

Jenny’s Jazzy Journey:

Once upon a time, in a cozy little town, there was a middle school girl named Jenny who loved the smooth and soulful sounds of jazz. She had a talent for the saxophone, and her dream was to play a solo at the annual school concert. But there was one thing that stood in her way: stage fright.


Every time she thought about standing alone on that stage, her palms would sweat, her heart would race, and her notes would jumble. Despite her fear, Jenny’s love for music pushed her to sign up for the solo performance.


Weeks before the concert, Jenny practiced every day after school. She played her saxophone until her fingers ached and the sun dipped below the horizon. With each practice session, the notes flowed more smoothly, and her confidence grew.

Jenny also sought advice from her bandmates and music teacher, who shared their own stories of overcoming stage fright. They taught her breathing exercises to calm her nerves and visualization techniques to picture a successful performance.

The night of the concert arrived, and the auditorium was packed with an eager audience. Jenny’s name was announced, and with a deep breath, she stepped onto the stage. The spotlight was bright, and the crowd was a sea of faces, but Jenny remembered her practice and the support of her friends.


As she played the first note, something magical happened. The fear melted away, replaced by the joy of sharing her music. Her fingers danced over the keys, and her solo was a whirlwind of emotion and melody.


When the last note echoed through the hall, the audience erupted into applause. Jenny received a standing ovation, and she knew she had not only faced her fear but had triumphed over it.

From that day on, Jenny played many more solos, each performance better than the last. And though the butterflies never completely disappeared, Jenny now welcomed them as old friends, reminding her of the excitement and love she felt for music.

And so, Jenny’s story became one of inspiration for others, proving that with practice, support, and a dash of courage, anyone can overcome stage fright and let their talent shine.

The Band That Could:

In the small town of Harmony Hills, the middle school band ‘The Brave Beats’ was known for their passion for music but not for their confidence on stage. With their first competition looming, the members faced their shared nemesis: stage fright.


The band director, Max, decided it was time for them all to confront their fears head-on. He organized extra practice sessions, inviting friends and family to listen, creating a safe space for the band to get used to an audience.


As the days passed, the band members supported each other, sharing tips and words of encouragement. They even made a pact to turn every mistake into a learning opportunity, not a setback.

The day of the competition arrived, and the auditorium was buzzing with anticipation. The Brave Beats took their positions on stage, their hearts racing. Max gave a subtle nod, upbeat and the music began.


At first, the band’s notes trembled, but as they played, their fear transformed into excitement and a well supported sound. The melodies flowed, the rhythms were in sync, and the music resonated. The audience was captivated, toe-tapping and swaying along.


As the final note rang out, the crowd erupted in applause. The band that “could” had not only played their best but had also won their competition. They realized that together, they could overcome anything, even stage fright.

From that day on, ‘The Brave Beats’ became known not just for their music, but for their courage. And while the butterflies never fully disappeared, they now served as a reminder of the victory they could achieve when they faced their fears together.


American Psychological Association. (2020). APA Publication Manual (7th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

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