Stage fright? 12 harp learners share what works for them
Do you get nervous when playing for others? Even if it’s friends and family? Maybe your heart races, or your hands get shaky. Does your mind go blank and you lose your place and start making mistakes you’ve never made before? Well today we’re going to be hearing from 12 people who play the harp (just like you!) and the strategies they’ve found that have helped them manage their stage fright.
These are harp learners from all around the world, and they are part of my harp membership community! Let’s get started!
1. Karen Amberson
“I find that if my audience is smaller and less formal, it’s much easier. I can tend to put myself under undue pressure (throwback to when I was a child at piano). I really want to play the harp out of joy instead.”
“I’ve played at a senior apartment community and other small groups too. It’s such a great way to build up confidence and encourage others at the same time.”
“At Christmas I played in front of my Grandma’s senior living residence for the first time, and my daughter danced in front me, which took away the stress of “all eyes on me” .”
“I have to simply forget anyone else is there and focus on my playing. When I do that, everything is peachy.”
5. Katherine Lowe
“I think the best remedy is to play in front of others as often as possible! Just do it! ”
(I wanted to add that these days, performing as often as possible just means taking any opportunity you have. Like playing for people in your home, anyone who passes by even if they’re outside your front door! Maybe people on the phone, if you’re having a chat to a friend, why not?)
“I find it helpful to chat to the audience initially, or between songs if it’s an informal atmosphere, as it breaks the ice and helps me relax. Lack of sleep, lack of food and eating or drinking the wrong things can really affect my focus and ability to think clearly.”
(This made a HUGE difference for me! When I started chatting to my audience I started seeing that they’re just real people like me which made a huge difference to my nerves!)
“Here are some things that help for me:
- I choose a piece I’m absolutely comfortable with or even a piece that’s quite a bit below my level, so I know I won’t worry about the piece itself as much.
- I like to take videos of myself playing the pieces. Playing on a video is not quite as intimidating as playing in front of a crowd, but it still adds extra pressure. Sharing the video almost feels the same as performing.”
“I’ve found that especially non-musicians are more impressed by hearing an arpeggio piece, even if it’s more simple than other pieces you can play! Tape yourself to hear how you sound, and which piece is the easiest and most pleasing to the ear and heart. Your friends and family love and support you, even if you miss a few notes. ”
9. Barbara Mitchell
“I only play something I know very well. I keep the sheet music in front of me as support, even though the song is memorised. I also found that putting the fairy lights on my harp guides people’s attention even more to the harp and away from me!”
“Breathing is very important! Then you take the time to let the notes ring like they’re supposed to do. Even easy pieces can sound eloquent if executed with ringing time.”
11. Tara Carolin
“I practice performing by sharing music with my sisters or nieces on video. They are a kind audience, and I can critique my form when I play back the video.”
(So when people ask you to perform, maybe you should get them to perform a little bit first and then you’ll look great in comparison!)
OUR MONTHLY MEMEBERSHIP
When you join, you’ll receive:
- Video courses & sheet music – to guide you through your practice times
- Discussion forums – to ask for help, share advice and share your progress with other harpists
- Community groups – a safe space to connect, make new friends, and talk about the victories and struggles as growing harp players!