I’ve struggled with shyness and stage fright for years… I love to sing, and really want to share my talents with the world, but find it nearly impossible to get our in front of others and perform. What can I do to change that?
If I had a nickle for each time I heard this one… Apply the info below and I guarantee the amount of stage fright you experience will diminish. Oh, and if it works, hit that little facebook like button so we can help others get past it as well.
With few exceptions, every singer goes through a period where they battle stage fright, and this is an area where I was definitely NOT the exception. I easily battled stage fright for years before I got past it. But now, I can easily get in front of a crowd of 50 or 5,000 and be excited about doing it. And with a little practice of what I share with you below, I bet you’ll be able to as well.That being said, I believe most stage fright is the result of bad inner dialogue. So, here’s a 4 step easy to remember process that’ll help you P.A.V.E. your way to performance success! You can read them below, or just check out this video.
P – Positive Mental Talk
Before my first performance, my father, being the brilliant man he was, gave me a little piece of advice. He told me, “Ken, before you go up on stage, you might get a little nervous. So if you do, just sit back and keep saying to yourself, ‘I can, I can, I think I can… I can, I can, I will.’”At the time it seemed really silly, but 2 songs before I went out on stage, I was so nervous, I was willing to try ANYTHING! Funny thing is, it helped. Now, I’m not necessarily suggesting this quazi-Thomas the Train-ish affirmation for you… but use whatever works for you. Pump yourself up! Tell yourself it’s going to be wonderful… that YOU’RE going to be wonderful! Play around with it and see the immediate difference it makes! And if this feels weird at first, just keep doing it. I have a rule when it comes to performance… when you’re not comfortable, fake it ’til ya make it!
A – Ask the Right Questions
I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that there’s a voice inside your head that’s talking with you constantly. If you’re struggling with stage fright, my guess is that voice starts asking your questions like… What if I mess up? What if I forget my words? Why did I pick this song? What if people don’t like me? etc…This voice is probably going to be present no matter what, but the good news is you have the control over those questions, so why not make them more beneficial to yourself? Instead of letting that inner voice psych you out, use it to build you up!Ask yourself, “What if I do awesome?! What if I do super well?! What if my audience LOVES the song?! What if they LOVE ME?!”It may seem kinda silly at first and it can take some practice, but it sure beats the alternative and I promise if you let yourself get excited about the second set of questions, you’re going to perform much better than if you fall victim to the negative ones.
V – Visualize Success
This is a big one! We’ve talked about inner dialogue and I’ve given you a few ways to get interrupt and get past that, and here’s a way we can take it even further. Instead of just talking positively to yourself, actually visualize your performance going the exact way you want it to go. See yourself performing charismatically… hear the song being sung perfectly… visualize the audience going crazy… feel the energy in the room! Isn’t it wonderful?!This works for many reasons. First off, your brain (more specifically your subconscious mind) can’t tell the difference between what you experience in your imagine and what really happens. So, if you visualize your performance going perfectly, you start to create the habit of perfection. Of course, you also get the added benefit of pumping yourself up from seeing just how great the performance can be!
E – Exude Energy and Enthusiasm
I’ll start this by sharing with you a random fact… the dominate emotion in the room is the most contagious. Oh, and btw, the fact that you have a microphone in your hand automatically makes you the dominate person in the room. So, if you’re nervous and just want the song to be over with, your audience will pick
up on that and will feel nervous for you.
So instead, consciously choose to be energetic and enthusiastic (assuming it’s appropriate for the song). This will easily bring your performance level up a couple of notches, giving both you and your audience that larger than life experience that so few people can deliver.Well that does it for my little acronym. Use it to P.A.V.E. your way to performance success!
As a final thought, most great performers were made, not born. The best way to get better is simply to do it as much as possible, learning every step of the way. Check out my article on Performance Tips to help you get there!
I hope this helps. Feel free to share your thoughts, experiences and advice in the comment section below, and of course, if you have any questions shoot them my way.
Vocal Coach Ken Taylor