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Holiday Stage Fright! Helping Kids Fight Performance Fears

December 10, 2013

Holiday Stage Fright

It’s been three and a half months. 18 weeks. 115 days.

He fully expected to be a virtuoso by now.

My little 10-year-old trombonist was positively quaking in his Vans over his first band performance this week.

This is too hard!

I make too many mistakes!

Why do I have to practice SO MUCH? 

I want to quit! 

The death knell of many a childhood ambition. I shouted it in the car after being stuffed into flesh colored tights and a leotard one too many times. I cried it on the piano bench. Those are just the times I remember. Who knows (my mother, most likely) how many things I tried and failed to persist?

Gabe tells the boys that persistence, like quitting, is a muscle that must be strengthened. Quitting, if allowed, will grow strong, and persistence, if not exercised, grows weak and flimsy. Just like we strengthen the muscles of our arms and legs to move our bones and keep our bodies strong, we must also exercise the discipline of persistence.

Simple wisdom, challenging implementation.

The other night, as the wails soared toward heaven from the back bedroom, a friend of mine sent me a collection of verses someone had sent to her. Words to soothe a tousled soul. Simple enough to share with a child, but sincere enough to comfort the parent as well.

After all, He loves them more than I do.

I’ve been taught there is no fear of mine is too small to bring before the Lord, yet I never thought to assure my child the same.

We prayed together, that night, casting his fears up to his heavenly Father, and he stopped crying then. Comforted but the knowledge that courage, and strength, and persistence come from God, not our own resources.

We can do hard things….with God who gives us strength.

Even play the trombone, on key.

And so he did, perform beautifully, confident and serious in his starched shirt and Santa’s hat, tooting out King Wenceslas like the three-and-a-half month old pro that he is.

p.s. I typed up the scriptures for my boy to keep in his pocket. It occurred to me that this season is chock-full of performances, large and small and in between. If you’d like to do the same, click the image below for an easy-peasy printable!

Printable Encouragement

Download a printable of encouraging words for your child to keep in their pocket. Click for a free download.


Do you have any terrified angels or shepherds in your house?

Singing solos, playing tunes, dancing sugar-plum fairies?

How do you over come pre-performance jitters?


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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2013 7:23 pm

    Ok now this is my thing:) As a music teacher, I work with these young first time recitalist all the time and here is one thing I can recommend….get him to imagine himself doing it, on the stage. imagine doing it and doing it well. The more you can practice that in your head, the more comfortable you will be when you are on the stage. Most kids try to keep themsleves from thinking about it. Part of the preparation is the what you do in your head, and telling yourself, I am getting better and better at this all the time….Enjoy the moment.

  2. December 11, 2013 3:38 am

    What I should say also is, thanks for writing and creating such a beautiful blog. Being rather new at this, I am loving your observing your creativity and seeing the possibilities:)

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