With the Winter Celebration Concert coming up soon, as well as OVAF right now, we can probably assume that lots of people are struggling with stage fright. Trust me, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, and I struggle with it too.
Throughout my years here I made the mistake of thinking that the only people with the right to stage confidence, were the people who were actually very highly skilled at what they did. As a beginner, who was I to act like someone I wasn’t?
However, over the next few years, I began to realize that the beginners who actually let themselves have stage confidence and make mistakes on stage, were those who actually went on to improve the most. They were the ones who didn’t let fear overpower their desire to share their music. As a result, they flourished.
Just so you know, throughout this video (or blog), I’ll be referring to singing a lot because I know lots of people from the studio relate to that. However, that doesn’t mean these tips don’t apply to other instruments as well! So without further ado, let’s get into it!
Our physical state can play a huge role in determining whether we nail that performance or not. Being sick can obviously hamper your voice. Besides the obvious impacts, I believe the ones that are most harmful stem from our own anxieties.
Studies have shown that the more focus you put into not making mistakes, the more likely you are to actually make them. Some things I like to do to calm my thundering heart, sweaty palms, and pre performance jitters include the following:
Before starting any stressful, or exciting event, I like to exercise beforehand. There’s really no need to go overboard. You don’t have to run a marathon to bear the good results. I like to gently touch the point of exhaustion. So I rid myself of some nervous energy, and I have less energy to waste on useless things like fear!
It may be corny, but powerposes really do help. Last year, fifteen minutes before my music exam, I stepped downstairs to the washroom, checked that no one was there, and proceeded to do a series of superman, starfish, and spongebob powerposes in the mirror.
It was astoundingly ridiculous. But ridiculous enough to remind me that life itself was ridiculous. I didn’t need to base my whole fate on this one exam.
Now, you may be saying, well that’s all well and dandy. But what about when I’m waiting in the audience, waiting for my turn to perform? It might seem a tad weird if you burst out into spontaneous power poses during someone else’s performance. So, what can calm you down, that doesn’t require a lot of space, movement, or loss of reputation, to do?
Take deep breaths! Everyone says this, but I thought it was hoaky when I was younger. First of all, it wasn’t the most exciting thing to do. Second of all, as a lazy little child, I thought: “TOO MUCH EFFORT”! Well little Arya, let me just tell you that it costs so much less energy than it does to do to actually perform well when the monster of stage fright is chomping on your rear end. It’s really easy to do while enjoying other peoples’ performances.
There are lots of variations of deep breathing exercises that you can find online, but what I do is keep it simple: I like to breath in for four counts, out for four counts, in… out… continuously for four counts each time.
Tip One: Exercise
Tip Two: Power Pose
Tip Three: Take Deep Breaths
By following these tips, you’ll not only calm down your mind, but with it, your body as well.
Going up in front of a bunch of strangers, can seem a bit daunting. It’s easy to view them as people who will stop at nothing to judge you, criticise you, and stop at nothing to make your life void of any happiness.
However, if you’re making connections to the people sitting beside you, you’ll come to realize that a lot of them really don’t care whether you mess up or not. They’re just as imperfect as you are. Once you realize this, you’re on equal footing as the audience. The pressure to perform everything perfectly will be replaced by a desire to showcase your many talents.
Maintain good posture, have an open body language, and act like you’re the most confident singer in the world. If it feels kind of strange to pretend like you’re someone you’re not… Welcome to show business!
Think of it like your stepping onto the stage and into the skin of another character. You’re not performing, but your vicious, daring, or vulnerable character is singing right through you. There’s a whole lot of acting in singing, so don’t be afraid to play that up to boost your own confidence!
We often see the astounding results of people, and stew in bitterness and jealousy that we can’t be like them, and that our lives aren’t as perfect. But if we looked closer and saw what it took to get there, we’d find a whole lot of failure and imperfections along the way.
Donny Osmond, who if you don’t know, sang. “I’ll Make a Man out of You” from Disney’s Mulan, has said in a CBC interview: “I know that when I walk out there, I’ll make a mistake, and I’ll trip. I’ll do something stupid. But it’s okay: You pick up and just move on.”
So lower your expectations and make light of your mistakes! Because it’s much easier to reach your goals with a positive attitude and not giving up on the way.
Tip Four: Close The Distance Between You And Your Audience
Tip Five: Fake It 'Till You Make It (either through your body language, or playing through a character)
Tip Six: Stop Striving For Perfection
So that concludes “Stage Fright: 6 Ways to Conquer the Monster”. Of course, these tips only apply if you have put in the time to practise. After all, practise makes (close to) perfect. And dreams don’t work unless you do.
See you on stage!