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Tips to Help You OVERCOME Stage Fright

Tips to Help You OVERCOME Stage Fright

 

Tackling the Terrors of Stage Fright

Performance anxiety, often simply called stage fright, is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s much more common than you might think. Many professional singers and musicians, even celebrated ones, face it when getting ready to step out onto the stage.

I’ve been performing my entire life, and I STILL get anxious before a show. While it is theoretically possible to get over performance anxiety completely, it may be more helpful in the short term to find ways of mitigating or countering its impact.

Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that help ease my mind and calm my worries before a show, and I hope one or more of them might prove helpful to you, too.

 

STAGE FRIGHT

 

Distract Your Brain

On some level, this might seem counterintuitive. Shouldn’t we be focused on the performance we’re about to give? Yes, of course, we should… up to a point. However, there comes a point when you’ve done all of the preparation you can, and all that’s left is to wait for the curtain to rise.

For many of us, this is when our anxiety jumps into overdrive, asking us if we’re ready, if we’re good enough, etc. The trouble is that in these moments, overthinking won’t accomplish anything useful. If anything, it will just add stress, which isn’t helpful in a performance.

To stop your brain from rattling you, try occupying your mind with whatever mundane or insignificant tasks you can find. You could count the tiles on the backstage ceiling, or try to name as many different fast-food restaurant chains as you can think of. There’s no wrong answer, and there are countless possibilities.

A teacher of mine carries a notepad with him and draws different configurations of how the instruments and musicians could be arranged on the stage he’s about to play on. I ALWAYS bring a mystery novel with me to get out of my head when I have some downtime. Find what works for you!

 

Remember Your Training

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the moment, especially when you peak out from backstage and see your audience waiting for you. But it’s not a random chance that you’re the one on stage. You’ve been preparing for this.

If your anxiety is telling you that you’re not up to the moment, remind that negative voice in your head that actually, you’ve put in the work to be here. You’ve practiced the material and you’ve connected with the music. Remember the specific things you’ve done leading up to this day like we talked about in our blog post about auditions.

Darn it, you’ve earned the right to be here, and you’re just gonna show those good people out there what you’ve already proven to yourself that you’re capable of! This is easier said than done.

Your doubt may argue back the first time you try it. Still, remembering the steps you’ve taken to get this far will give you some perspective on how much you’ve already accomplished.

 

Stage fright - Curtains

 

Breathe

So, you’ve tried distracting yourself, and then you’ve given yourself the pep-talk of the century, but you’re still feeling your heart pounding and your stomach churning. Now what?

Well, as simple as it sounds, relaxing your body can be an enormous help. If you have the time and space, try taking a seat, or even lying down if you can. Close your eyes and breathe. Slowly. Deeply. One breath at a time. What matters is that you’re taking it easy and allowing your body to release its tension.

I personally find breathing in and out through my nose to be the most calming, though others prefer in through the nose, out through the mouth.

If you happen to know any basic yoga poses, mindfulness exercises, or something similar, this would be an excellent time to try them.

 

Stage fright - Breathe

 

Just get out there!

As I said earlier, there’s a reason you’re walking out onto that stage. You know what you’re doing. And once you begin, your muscle memory and familiarity with the music will kick in to help you.

In my personal experience, once I play that first note, my stage fright will dissipate, pushed away by my musicianship. Can I still be worried sometimes? Of course! But now,

I have the actual process of performing to focus on, and there’s no room in my head for the “what ifs.” I realize that it seems a little trite and dismissive to say “Just go out and play. You’ll be fine.” But more often than not, it is that simple. You really will be fine.

Now go put on a great show!

And if you need help with the sheets for your next gig, feel free to give us a shout! Make your favorite tracks come to life, for any instrument, right on our website. And remember, we’re just a click away if you need us.

 

My Sheet Music Transcriptions Office - Transcriber

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