Posts Tagged ‘nervous pianist’

The Church Pianist: Tips for a Nervous Church Pianist

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Being nervous can definitely affect the church pianist!  I can remember my early years of playing for church….knees knocking together….heart beating fast, etc.   I could barely keep my foot on the damper pedal for my leg shaking so bad!  Ever been there?

I enjoy visiting our local nursing homes and playing the piano for the elderly.  Sometimes I will play an upcoming offertory for church at the nursing home; allowing me the  opportunity to share the piece in a more relaxed setting before playing it at church.

Joy Morin, of Color in My Piano shares some practical tips for the nervous pianist.

Dealing with Performance Anxiety by Joy Morin of Color in My Piano Blog.

The Church Pianist: Help! I’m Nervous!

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010


Ever been nervous while playing an offertory?  I’ve never met a church pianist who hasn’t dealt with this issue. (including myself).

A question from one of my readers…

How do you address the issue of nerves with your students? I am completely comfortable playing congregationals, but as soon as it is time for the offertory my hands start shaking!

A music professor shared some sound advice with me several years ago, about my being nervous to play or sing at church.  I’m human too 🙂

He said, being nervous reflects on self.. thinking about how I will sound or look when I’m playing or singing in front of others.  Then he said what I didn’t want to hear….PRIDE.  I know…pride is a sin and therefore…well…

So true!  If you think about it…being nervous hinders us as church pianists from being effective communicators through music.

I still get nervous at times, but this wise man’s words have rung in my ears many times… as a gentle reminder to forget self and focus on the message of the song.  Ultimately, I should rely on God to help me convey His message of truth in song.

I also find it easier to play for congregational singing as opposed to playing for an offertory.  During the offering, the church pianist is more on display right?  🙂  Just forget about all those eyes watching you and focus on the message of the song. I like to sing along in my head as I play…which draws me into the song.  Just ask God to give you peace.

Either my parents or piano teacher once advised me to imagine myself just playing in my own livingroom when having to play in church.  I found this helped me to forget the audience and focus on what I was playing.

I will have to say that experience over time does wonders to ease the nerves.  I’ve been playing for church since about age eleven.  I’m ancient now!  Well…just 46.   But…long enough to have gained some experience.

God has a way of keeping me humble if I get too prideful 🙂

There is another side to being nervous.  Maybe the pianist hasn’t prepared enough and therefore he or she is nervous.  Valid reason! Or…it could simply be…the pianist has chosen a piece above his or her level.  If you can’t play it at home without struggling after sufficient practice…then don’t play it.  It’s better to play a simple piece well than to play a fancy piece poorly.

In closing, I’d like to  encourage all church pianists, including myself, to focus on pleasing God with our music and so much will just fall into place.

Thanks for your visits and comments!  I pray for you all as you seek to please the Lord with the talents He has blessed you with.

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