Struggling with stage fright? Here are my top 10 tips
Stage fright is a common issue, affecting many people in the performing arts. Most performers will have to overcome it at some point in their career, whether an amateur gig player or a pro world touring musician.
Fear is a normal response to feeling under threat. In the case of stage fright it is likely to be the fear of making a mistake, or being judged, or something about your performance going wrong. It can even be about the fear of feeling fear on stage!
Whatever the cause, here are some tried and tested tips for overcoming your own stage fright.
1) Practice your material until you know it inside and out.
If you're not confident in what you've prepared, then it will be much harder to perform well under pressure.
2) Take deep breaths before going on stage.
You can also try counting down from 10 or 20 to one—this will help you focus on something other than your nerves!
3) Find a quiet spot backstage where you can take a few minutes to yourself.
This will give your brain a chance to settle down before the initial rush when the curtain goes up and allow you time to collect yourself before making eye contact with your audience members.
4) In order to be comfortable in front of others, it may help to be comfortable with yourself.
Stop thinking about what other people think and focus on what you think about your music and the way you come across on stage.
5) Focus on the present moment.
When we're nervous, our minds tend to race back through our past experiences, trying to find something we can relate this situation with. This only makes us more anxious because we're focusing on things that aren't relevant. Instead of thinking about the past or future, focus on what's happening now—what does your body feel like? What do your surroundings look like? How does your voice or instrument sound? Breathe through that sensation.
6) Visualise success.
It may seem counterintuitive at first glance, but visualizing success can really help reduce anxiety around performing in front of others. Think about how great it would feel to be on the stage in front of an engaged audience giving the show of your life. Don't be hard on yourself if the real thing isn't quite like that. The point is to have a vision to aim for.
7) Make a loud noise to yourself away from your mic on stage to break the silence. Sometimes making the first sound is the worst part!
8) Find a point to stare at that isn't within the audience.
For example the wall at the back of the venue. It gives you a safe focal point for your eyes rather than darting from face to face. You could even try practicing in front of a mirror to get used to looking at someone while performing. I've tried it, and it works!
9) Know that everyone makes mistakes, even the top musicians.
You almost certainly will make one at some point during your performance. Learn to carry on anyway because in the end it really doesn't matter.
10) Last but certainly not least...
Know that your audience wants you to do well! Audiences tend to be extremely forgiving. If you're having a good time, they will do too, no matter what happens.
I hope these tips on overcoming stage fright have been useful. In the end, the best thing you can do is get out there and give it a go. If you have any questions or would like further guidance 1-to-1 please let me know! Drop me a message here at learnhowtomusic.com, I would love to hear your thoughts.
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