How to Beat Stage Fright with Dr. Noa Kageyama

image of someone with stage fright about to give a presentation

Whether you’re a musician, athlete, actor, dancer, public speaker, or just get tongue-tied when you’re put on the spot, you’ve probably been frustrated by nerves and jitters. At a crucial moment, you go blank, get overwhelmed, or choke. Or maybe you’re simply tired of putting forth lackluster performances when you know you’re capable of so much more. The good news: anxiety may be universal, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Dr. Noa Kageyama is a performance psychologist on the faculty of The Juilliard School and the New World Symphony. Formerly a conservatory-trained violinist with degrees from Oberlin and Juilliard, Noa specializes in teaching musicians how to utilize sport psychology principles and demonstrate their full abilities under pressure. He has conducted workshops at institutions and programs ranging from NEC, Peabody, and Eastman, to The Perlman Music Program and the National Orchestral Institute. Noa’s work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Musical America, and Lifehacker. He maintains a coaching practice and authors The Bulletproof Musician blog, which has 100,000+ monthly readers.

In communique with Savvy Psychologist Ellen Hendriksen, Dr. Kageyama offers a brand new attitude on acting your fine beneath strain.

Building on years of sport and performance psychology studies, in this episode you’ll learn:

  • The difference between a practice mindset and a performance mindset
  • When preparation becomes overpreparation (and how to know when to stop)
  • What is “masked practice” and how it leads to overconfidence
  • How a superstitious-seeming pre-performance routine can help your performance
  • To what extent our audience really notices our mistakes
  • The best way to react when you actually make a mistake
  • How re-creating the gold standard doesn’t lead to your best performance (and what actually does)

Listen to the whole interview with Noa and Ellen using this article’s audio participant, or on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

Check out Noa’s excellent blog at to learn more about how to perform at your best and access some great free downloads, like practice hacks and a Pressure Proof mini course. You can also access Noa’s teaching through Juilliard’s free online EdX course Perform at Your Best: Foundations of Performance Psychology.

Image of mic and venue © Shutterstock

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