I feel my legs giving way. I try to hear the music of my act, but I can't catch any of the notes. I raise my gaze and don't see a single face in the audience, just pitch darkness. The one thing I see is the signs of emergency exits. They’re so high above my head that they seem about to collapse on me. Applause.
You’ve just read what I experienced during a performance a few years ago.
Do you do close-up? Stage magic? Parlour? Or are you a street magician? In any case, I believe that at least once in your life, you've felt anxious or nervous before a performance. As you have read a few lines above, it happened to me too.
First of all: it's normal.
We are human beings; we are not automatons. Just as we want to convey emotions with our magic, it's completely acceptable that we magicians also feel them. Therefore, feelings of fear and anxiety are completely understandable. However, how can we mitigate them to perform at our best?
The study of emotions and how to attenuate their intensity is a subject I am well-versed in and continue to delve deeper into each day. On one hand, I explore it through my master's degree in clinical psychology, on the other hand through magic, performing on stages all around the world.
Let me tell you fifteen techniques that come from the world of psychology, from my personal experience, and from observing other artists I've worked with over time: you can choose to use them all, one or none. We'll cover techniques for at-home, the day of the performance, thirty minutes before, one minute before and during your magic show.