The Effective Trick I Use to Calm My Nerves, Instantly

I don’t consider myself a particularly nervous or anxious person (well, my friends might beg to differ about the anxious part; the world downtown Los Angeles can be a scary place, okay?). I grew up as a drama nerd, performing in musicals, singing in choir, playing piano… Wherever there was a stage, my spotlight-loving self followed. And yet, when it came to piano performances, I would always suffer from the worst bout of nerves, right before it was my turn to play—think clammy, shaky hands; shallow breaths; and lots of shivering. (I blame this piano-specific reaction to the unfortunate experience I had once of forgetting my piece halfway through playing—so traumatic.) Needless to say, this is not the ideal state to be in when you’re about to (attempt to) play Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in front of a solemn adjudicator. I would do what I could to overcome the crippling nervousness—wear gloves, sit on my hands, sip hot tea, take deep breaths… Nothing seemed to really work, and I always started every performance with a pounding heart, shaky hands, and vague feeling of nausea. Then, one day, my voice teacher (funnily, not my piano teacher) taught me a breathing trick that forever changed the way I deal with anxiety-inducing situations. Keep scrolling to find out what it is!