Overcoming Performance Anxiety, Pt. 2: Developing Growth Mindset

Performance anxiety in students isn’t simply restricted to recitals and other performances, but shows itself in lessons, too. If you’re a private teacher, think of how many times you’ve heard students claim they play better in their practice than they do in lessons. Students feel the pressure to “perform” for their teachers. If we can foster a growth mindset in our studios, we can create an environment where students understand their performance at that moment isn’t a judgement on their abilities, but a step in the process of improving their musicianship.

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Overcoming Performance Anxiety, Pt. 1: The True Purpose of Performing

It was late 2018 and I was driving to go teach a piano lesson. On the radio was On Being with Krista Tippett, and she was interviewing the great cellist, Yo-Yo Ma. At the time, I was helping my students prepare for a recital, which was just a week or so away. In the interview, Ma said something that really hit home and was so relevant to the mental preparations my students were making heading into their recital. In regards to performing, Ma stated:

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Stage Presence Is a Teachable Skill

When preparing students for a performance, the emphasis is understandably on playing the music to the highest level achievable. Our job is to teach music, so if our students are playing with proficiency and musicality, then we’ve checked all the boxes, right? Not so fast.

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