How to Beat Stage Fright with Dr. Noa Kageyama

Leave stage fright, jitters, and nerves behind by developing key performance hacks as told by Juilliard performance psychologist Dr. Noa Kageyama.

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD
2-minute read
Episode #188

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 conversation with Savvy Psychologist Ellen Hendriksen, Dr. Kageyama offers a new perspective on performing your best under pressure.

Building on years of sport and performance psychology research, in this episode you will 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 full interview with Noa and Ellen using this article's audio player, or on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

Check out Noa's excellent blog at BulletproofMusician.com 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.

how to be yourself ellen hendriksen bookPre-order Ellen's forthcoming book HOW TO BE YOURSELF: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety. Get even more savvy tips to be happier and healthier by subscribing to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or get each episode delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for the newsletter. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

For free, helpful downloads to fight social anxiety and be your authentic self, visit EllenHendriksen.com.

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All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD

Dr. Ellen Hendriksen was the host of the Savvy Psychologist podcast from 2014 to 2019. She is a clinical psychologist at Boston University's Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CARD). She earned her Ph.D. at UCLA and completed her training at Harvard Medical School. Her scientifically-based, zero-judgment approach is regularly featured in Psychology Today, Scientific American, The Huffington Post, and many other media outlets. Her debut book, HOW TO BE YOURSELF: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety, was published in March 2018.