little girl in pink dress playing piano on stage

Performing is a vital part of a musician’s education. But, the idea of playing or singing in front of an audience can be intimidating! Nervousness is entirely normal, and by thorough preparation, musicians will be able to control their nerves and become confident performers.

Music Selection

Your teacher will help you select your music. Pick something that you enjoy and is realistic for your ability level. You should not choose a piece that you “think” you can learn before the recital. Do not sing that song with the high note that you can sometimes hit on good days. Instead, set yourself up for success by picking music that you love and can confidently perform.

Practice & Memorization

Practice more than you think you need to, and rehearse until you can play the music without thinking about it. Can you play your piece when someone is talking in the background? As a singer, build a puzzle, color a picture, or go for a walk as you speak through the text of your pieces slowly. Forcing yourself to multitask in this manner will prepare you for distractions during the performance.

Know Your Music

You may be able to play your piece, but do you truly know it? Performing a piece is much different from simply being able to play the notes correctly. In order to create a beautiful and compelling performance, ask yourself questions about the music. Why does your character sing this aria? How does the movement you are playing fit into the larger context of the whole sonata? Historically speaking, why did the composer write this piece? As you study, you will develop a greater appreciation for the music, create passion and conviction about your expressive choices, and make your performance truly special.


One of the best ways to deal with nerves is to eliminate the unknown. Talk with your child about what the experience will be like. What are you going to do the day of the recital, and what will he wear? If he knows what the performance space looks like, have him close his eyes and imagine what it will look and feel like to walk onstage. Think through the steps of sitting at the piano bench and starting to play.

Secondly, ask some “what if?” questions, and discuss them with the teacher. What if he forgets the first notes of his piece? What if he mixes up his fingering during that one tricky part? Talking about these scenarios will take away the unknown elements and replace them with solid, realistic plans of action.


Through all of the stress, the nerves, and the fear of failure, why do we continue to step on the stage? Young musicians think the reason is to impress people and get the applause, and yes, you should feel accomplished! But, true satisfaction comes from realizing that performing is not all about you. Instead, you are a communicator of beauty. Music has the power to move people in wonderful ways, and you have the ability to be a part of that! In discovering how you can use your talents to serve others, you will find joy and excitement through the process of performing.

(Click here for information on Harmonia performance opportunities)