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OVERCOMING PERFORMANCE ANXIETY AS A SINGER

How to overcome stage fright.

Overcoming performance anxiety as a singer. If you have never performed in front of an audience before, no doubt the nerves will be getting to you. Stage fright or nerves is something that can and will have to be overcome if you want to be a successful singer. There are ways to help overcome anxiety on stage.

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  • Firstly practice, practice, practice so that your performance is rehearsed to the full and becomes ingrained. Filming it and/or performing a few dry runs in front of trusted friends or family will hopefully make your performance second nature and you’ll know exactly what you will be doing when on stage, which can help overcome the anxiety.
  • Analyse some live performances by your favourite artists and see how they act on stage. Watch their mannerisms, how they use the space on stage and how they interact with the audience; this will help you incorporate elements of performance into yours.
  • On the day try and ease all tension and relax your body. This will ease your mind and steady your voice. Try having a small snack to settle your stomach, but not so you feel full. A banana is a good example. Chewing gum can help relieve tension in your jaw, but if you haven’t eaten, don’t chew for too long, it can cause digestion issues.
  • Try meditating! It may sound silly, but it can help put you at ease. Find a quiet place, get in a comfortable position and shut your eyes. Think of anything that relaxes you, anything that isn’t your performance.
  • Try and avoid taking in caffeine! You may think it will boost your energy but it is more likely to give you even more anxiety and nerves. Not to mention it is bad for the vocal chords!
  • Get some exercise! Aim for at least half an hour. Anything from a jog or a long walk to a weight lifting session. This will release tension and get the endorphins going.
  • Laugh as much as you can! Watching a comedy film in the morning or hanging around with friends before the show. Laughing will relax you and ease the nervousness.
  • Show up early! This will relieve any nerves about being late or having any last minute hitches!
  • Try creating a pre-show ritual. You would be surprised how many singers have one! Whether it’s something as simple as having a game of pool two hours before the show or something more complex like an hour gym session followed by a walk and ending up with you watching your favourite TV show. If it works for you and puts you at ease, do it!

BEING CONFIDENT ON STAGE

  • Now that you’re prepared as best as you can which will help you overcome the anxiety of being on stage, it’s time to put into practice all the rehearsing and ensure you perform to the best of your ability.
  • Always look at the audience or just above them, not at the floor. They are here to see you so look their way. If you need to pick a spot to focus on where no one is sitting, do it.
  • Avoid long pauses! Don’t make errors known; the chances are that the audience didn’t even notice it.
  • Show emotion to the crowd. Look happy to be there and interact with them during and after songs. Showing them that you are having fun will, over time, loosen you up to the point nerves will never be an issue and you will be itching to get up on stage.
  • Know what to do with your hands! If you are flapping them about or have them in your pocket it’s not going to look that professional.
  • You could consider bringing in a gimmick. Costumes are a common one, wearing something that will get people talking. Or creating some stage props to have on hand to mess with. Only use it if it can be maintained. If you get too hot, you can’t take the costume off mid set. It needs to be something achievable.
  • Try and have energy in your performance. Use the stage, move from side to side and interact with the fans. If it’s an appropriate song jump around and avoid being stood there doing nothing. Have your spatial awareness about you. As long as you are confident in your abilities, entertaining should come naturally.

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