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Advice for performing with Social anxiety disorder?



New member
Jan 10, 2020
Okay, so I am a violinist and have been doing lessons for more than 5 years. In a couple of months I have a big performance. I'm not going to be a soloist so I'll have other people on stage with me but I am so so nervous about it. Whenever I perform in front of people (even in front of my teacher sometimes) I get very anxious, my arms and legs shake like crazy. Its so frustrating because I've practiced and put in the work but my anxiety ruins it every time I play in front of others.
I was diagnosed with SAD a couple years ago but cant get therapy/help due to it not being covered with insurance. Before one of my violin exams I even threw up because I was so nervous.
The performance is semi-important, most of my teachers/principal/other important people from school are going to be there and basically a crowd full of random people. I also want to make a good impression on the head of music so I can get into an ensemble next year.
I dont really have the opportunity to perform in front of others that I dont know, so I can't really get some practice on playing in front of crowds.
I'm mainly scared of making a mistake, no matter how much I practice I'm never 100% confident in myself because I know I'm going to be shaky (literally and figuratively haha)
What can I do to help/alleviate my anxiety? Any performers or musicians can give their advice on this or what they do before going on stage and things like that? I'm terrified of messing up even though my teacher says that my playing is really good.
This is my first time posting on this forum so I'm sorry if there are any mistakes. Thank you!


Well-known member
Dec 17, 2019
London, ON
Violinist? nice!

The easiest, quickest thing to learn is breathing to help anxiety. Anxiety has a physical and mental factor, and they play off one another. If you physically feel nervous, you brain will start thinking nervous thoughts, which will increase physical anxiety, which will increase mental anxiety...

So, break the cycle. If you can calm your thoughts, your body feel calmer, calm you body, your thinking will calm.

So -breath. When you feel nervous - slow down your breathing. count to four with each time you inhale or exhale. This will help slow down your heart and the physical butterflies, and help your thinking. It takes a bit of practice but it works.

I'm an artist, and I find drawing or painting helps me, because as I get lost in what I am doing, I forget the anxious thoughts and feelings. Be confident in your skills, let the music and physical aspects of playing take over.