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Play It Cool: pianist’s Ultimate Guide to Conquering Stage Nerves

pianist trying to conquer stage nerves - Salvador Dali style

As a pianist, one of the most common challenges you may face is playing well in a practice room, but faltering in front of an audience. But don’t worry, as outlined in “The Ultimate Pianist’s Guide to Conquering Stage Nerves,” there are various ways to overcome performance anxiety and improve your stage presence as a pianist such as regular practice, performing in front of an audience, and adopting a positive mindset.

Preparation and Practice

First, it’s important to understand that if you’re making mistakes when playing for an audience, it usually means the piece is not ready. To ensure the piece is ready, try playing it 7 times in a row while you are by yourself without making any mistakes. This is a trick one my great mentors taught me. If you play it 7 times in row without mistakes, the piece still has some big holes in it. To remedy this, practice the piece starting in different spots. This will help you solidify the memory and “play it cool.”

Performing in Front of an Audience

Another important aspect to consider when “conquering stage nerves” as a pianist is to perform in front of an audience more often. Schedule a mini rehearsal and play the piece in front of people (not just your mom or dad) a month before the concert. This will give your brain and the piece time to mature and feel comfortable.

Recording and Imagining

Recording yourself can also be a helpful tool. Practice imagining you are at the concert hall and it’s your time to shine. I usually go for a fast run to raise my heart beat and mimic the nervousness I feel right before practicing a piece to see how well I do.

Practice Slow

Practicing slow is also a powerful strategy. It’s harder to play slower and still bring out all the details and nuances in the piece. By practicing slowly, you will be able to focus on the details and prevent yourself from rushing through the piece, which is a common cause of mistakes.

Don’t be too Hard on Yourself

Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. If you make a mistake, what’s the worst that could happen? Nobody is perfect and mistakes are bound to happen. It’s important to learn from them and move on. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of your performance and the progress you’ve made.


In summary, playing well in front of others as a pianist requires a lot of practice, the right mindset and a healthy dose of self-confidence. Remember, the more you perform in front of others, the more comfortable you’ll become. And don’t forget to practice slow, record yourself, and don’t be too hard on yourself if mistakes happen. By following these tips and strategies, you’ll be well on your way to conquering stage nerves and delivering a confident and polished performance.

Seeking Professional Guidance and Support

The tips and strategies outlined in “The Ultimate Pianist’s Guide to Conquering Stage Nerves,” are by no far complete. Therefore, you should consider seeking professional guidance and support. Having a knowledgeable and experienced piano teacher to guide and support you can make a big difference in your performance. Luis Hernandez specializes in performance preparation and techniques that can help you deliver a confident performance.

On the other side, consider working with a piano tuner and repair service in your area. This can help you ensure that your piano is in top condition and ready for performance. With the right preparation, mindset, and support, you can conquer stage nerves and deliver a performance that you can be proud of. So, start practicing, performing and seeking professional help, and you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of piano performance.

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