Updated: Jun 9
Is stage fright getting you down? Here are some tips that can really help.
Stage fright can be one of the most upsetting and scary experiences for a singer. Due to the extreme competition in the performance arts world, there is not much sensitivity surrounding the subject, which can often make a performer feel inadequate and at times, even want to give up! It also means that support can be difficult to find.
The thing to remember is that every performer has experienced stage fright at some stage, what ever they say! Some of the most famous performers of all time experience it on a regular basis and they still lead extremely successful careers.
So whether your stage fright is mild or extreme, butterflies or full on panic attacks, there are some things that can really help you to over come this issue.
RACHEL'S TOP TIPS FOR OVERCOMING AND DEALING WITH STAGE FRIGHT
Don't believe what other performers say. Everyone experiences stage fright at some point and that is normal.
Make sure you are fully prepared for your performance. Knowing your song/s is an obvious first step but also make sure you have workshopped how you want to perform your songs. Mirror work or filming yourself on your computer is especially good for this.
If you can, do a pre concert performance for family and friends to give you confidence.
If possible, try to visit the space you will be performing in before the big day to make you feel more settled.
A couple of days before the performance, make sure you eat and drink healthily and get plenty of sleep. Don't diet but instead eat foods that will nurture and fuel your body.
On the performance day, try to stay away from too much sugar and caffeine. This can mess with the performance adrenaline. Also be aware of any medications you may be taking. Some anti-depressants also combine badly with adrenaline and some decongestants can dry the voice.
Aromatherapy oils can be great for calming. Have a bottle of lavender or frankincense oil to hand and give them a quick smell if you need to calm down. You can even put a bit on your clothing.
On the big day, make sure you eat before the performance but don't over eat too close to singing.
Take the time to do a good vocal warm up and get your body and energy levels ready for action.
Make sure your equipment is all ready to go and that you have planned your transport in advance.
It can be a good idea to take a bottle of water and a healthy snack with you for hydration and energy. Stay away from energy drinks like Red Bull though. They also don't mix well with adrenaline! Also, alcohol may seem like a good idea at the time but it will mess with your tuning, support and also dehydrates. It also stops you from facing and overcoming your fears.
Before going on stage, find a quiet space and start thinking about your songs and get in to character. Relax the shoulders, open the chest and let your breath flow through your body. Stand tall and in a confident way to tell your brain that you feel great. Smile and get the face moving.
Imagine you are hosting a house party and that your audience are your guests and that your job is to give them a wonderful and happy experience. Many thanks to the wonderful Lou Beckerman for this tip! It's easy to think the world is out to get you and that everyone is a critique but with the exception of a few other competitive singers out there, most audience members just want some time off from their busy lives and a good time.
Expect to feel uncomfortable and nervous during your first song or two. Allow yourself this much as you adjust to the experience of standing infront of the audience. Chances are the audience won't notice anything.
If you do feel a panic or anxiety attack coming on during performance, don't run away from it but instead face it full on like a real fighter! It is an uncomfortable experience but it will pass so just stand tall, go with it and try to focus on what your song is about. A panic attack is a bit like a big wave. It seems scary as it approaches but soon washes over you. Having water on stage can also help with this. If you find you are getting hot flushes, just drink it away in-between songs.
What ever happens to you on stage, it is never the end of the world. Famous singers all over the world are performing every day and cracking notes, feeling ill, running off stage, tripping over and a whole host of other things that come with regular performance and being human. The most important thing is to not let anything or anyone stop you performing or enjoying your singing. The more you perform, the easier and more enjoyable it gets, so just believe in yourself and remember that you have the power to spread a lot of happiness to others through your music.
Happy singing all!
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