Dealing With Performance Anxiety
Tips for Singers on how to Overcome Performance Anxiety
Most singers will encounter a bout with performance anxiety at some point. If you are just starting out singing you may have never sung in front of a live audience before. Maybe you’re used to just singing in the car or the shower, and it is a scary thought that others will be listening to you. Or, maybe you’re a more seasoned singer but you are taking on a particularly challenging piece to sing and you’re nervous about singing it live.
So, what are the best ways to deal with feeling anxious about performing? Follow some of these helpful tips so that you feel more confident the next time you will be singing in front of an audience.
Preparation and Practice
Follow the two main P’s when you are feeling nervous – preparation and practice. The more that you work on and practice your song; the more confident you will feel when performing. Work on the challenging parts within your piece multiple times over until you have a better handle on them.
Feeling prepared and knowing your song backwards and forwards makes it easier for you to feel comfortable when you are performing. Uncertainty and nervousness stems from things like not knowing your lyrics, being ready for key changes, and challenging riffs or runs that you haven’t prepared yourself for – so do yourself a favor and practice, practice, practice!
Shifting Your Focus
Performance anxiety and nervousness typically stems from your mindset. Thoughts of feeling like you will fail or that you will do something wrong can exacerbate the feelings of stress and worry. Do yourself a favor and change your mindset.
Instead of concentrating on the worry about performing, think about the joy you are bringing to the audience, or work on the connection to your own song. What emotions are you working to evoke or what story are you telling? Think more about how you can bring your song to life for your audience and make them feel why you enjoy singing it so much. Instead of focusing on what could go wrong, focus on success and visualize yourself performing the song impeccably – you’ll be surprised at how you will be able to bring your creative vision into fruition!
The Importance of Breathwork
Breathing deeply and concentrating on your breathing is an excellent way to help relieve stress, lower your heart rate and provide a sense of calm. When you breathe in through your nose, count slowly and work to count the same number of seconds while breathing out. Take your time and think about controlling your breath. It will help distract you from feeling so nervous and give your mind something else to occupy it before you take the stage.
Jumping up and down, shaking out your muscles, or going for a quick, brisk walk can help give your body something to do. It can help to ease your anxious feelings before a performance and give you some peace of mind. Work to avoid all of those feelings of self-doubt that are creeping into your psyche. It would also be helpful to avoid drinking caffeine or sugar before a performance, as those can give you more of a crash after a quick energy jolt.
Confronting your fears and understanding what makes you feel nervous paves the way for you to learn better ways to manage those feelings. You will gain more confidence and feel empowered when you perform by tackling your nervousness and anxiety head on, as well as give yourself more of a commanding stage presence.