Stage fright is something that most performers dread. However, it’s more reflective of your passion than just a bundle of nerves acting up. People who are passionate about anything, always overanalyze their performance, paranoid about not being “in the zone” when the time comes.
Music comes from the heart, and musicians want others to hear and feel the same passion. This desire to be excellent and make others feel your passion leads to stagefright. It’s similar to the fight-or-flight response; it’s a jolt to the system before we hit the stage.
If you are stuck by stagefright, there are two paths you can go by. You can allow it to overwhelm you, leaving you nauseous, tight-throated, forgetting words and chords of the song or you can turn that nervous energy into performance fuel that drives you towards delivering your best performance ever.
So, you see, nervous energy and performance fuel are one and the same. It is how we perceive the effects of stage fright that determines the outcome. Good or bad, it’s up to you to decide how stage fright will affect your performance!
How do the pros overcome stage fright?
When stage fright kicks in and you notice your energy spiking, Are you going to see those butterflies in your stomach as ill feelings of self-doubt or to shake off those negative thoughts and use that energy to boost your confidence?
We are happy to inform you that at most times, it’s as easy as flipping a switch. You can get paranoid about your performance or believe in yourself and kick butt.
There’s a little more to it than changing your perception. It might be tough to think positively when your stomach is turning flips. In order to turn your nervous energy into performance fuel, you need to follow the three step method of Breathe, Visualize, and Vocalize.
Just like singing, breathing holds the key here as well. Generally, when you start to feel nervous, your breathing will speed up. At that point of time, you must use your breath to recentre yourself and slow your breathing to control stage fright.
In case your breathing shoots up, inhale slowly while you count to four, then hold for a count a four and finally exhale for a count of eight. Repeat till your breathing becomes normal. If you can’t control your breath, you can’t control your performance.
Next, visualize the performance from beginning to end as if you are watching yourself at hyperspeed. Take in an entire hour set in seconds, playing it out perfectly.
Visualize the crowd going crazy; hear yourself performing and nailing every note; see yourself ending the night walking off the stage as the crowd begs for more, your fans coming up to you afterward telling you how amazing you sounded.
Visualize yourself and tell yourself how much of a star you are. In your mind, you should see yourself as confident as Beyonce is on stage. If you believe in your ability to shine, no one can steal it from you.
This third step is mainly for singers. Even if you’re warmed up, it helps to keep the blood flowing to your vocal cords. You don’t need to go crazy with volume and range; that is not the goal.
You must keep your vocal cords vibrating right until the show’s start so that your voice doesn’t sound weak and shaky when you start your performance.
Some of you may doubt this three-step process because it is incredibly simple. But like most problems in life, the solution is always the simplest one.