Jettison Concert Jitters

Concert season is here! Let your students’ hard work shine in an anxiety-free performing experience. Remember these tips, and you’ll project a calm, focused professional air.

If you are nervous/anxious…..

  • Give one of your more mature students a simple object to keep in his or her pocket. If the student senses you have “gone over the edge” at any time on concert night (irritable, jumpy, short-tempered), he or she can quietly walk up and hand you the object as a reminder to take a deep breath.
  • Prepare a spoken welcome to the audience on note cards and practice it with friends before the concert. Do this especially If you have trouble speaking in public.


If your studentsare nervous…….

Think about how you will use the final moments with students before they walk out onto stage.

  • Speak and move slowly and calmly;
  • Engage students in vocal exercises that are relaxing for both the mind and vocal tract;
  • Encourage students to locate their friends and parents in the audience before they begin singing;
  • Remind students that a performance is simply one step on a much longer path of musical development;
  • Focus students on the fact that this concert is a celebration of accomplishments, not an amplification of inevitable weaknesses. 

If students seem nervous after they are on stage, walk up to the risers and tell a brief joke or story. Let students know they can trust you, and that you are all in this together.

From Getting Started with Middle School Choir, 2nd edition, by Patrick Freer

Patrick K. Freer is associate professor of music education at Georgia State University. He is a leading expert on working with adolescent choirs.


–Sue Rarus, November 16, 2011 – © National Association for Music Education