With our biannual student concert just around the corner, some tips to help combat stage fright are in order! Ah, stage fright – that dreaded onslaught of fear so many of us experience before (and sometimes while) we perform. The pulse quickens. Breathing becomes short, shallow and unsupported. Hands become sweaty and shaky. Sound familiar?
Stage fright is completely normal — and yes, there are several things you can do to help ease stage fright immediately. The best solution over time? Perform often! Sounds counterintuitive, but the more often you get up there and perform, the easier it becomes over time. Here are some pointers to help make your struggle with stage fright a little easier:
- Know your material. Practice, practice, practice. A lot of the fear of performing is centered around making a mistake — hitting a wrong note, forgetting a line. The more you know your song, the more confidence you’ll feel!
- Breathe! (And keep breathing!) Challenge yourself to breathe slowly and deeply — 10 seconds in, 10 seconds out; repeat. Also, try yawning and stretching. Relaxing your body and your breath will ease the uncomfortable feelings associated with stage fright.
- Fake it. If you’re scared, that’s ok. Smile anyway. Walk with confidence. Give it all you’ve got. Chances are, the audience won’t know you were nervous, and will be wowed by your stellar performance!
- Think of the performance as a reward. You’re here because you’ve worked hard, had a blast, learned a lot — and now you want to share that joy with others! Performing is an awesome way to stay motivated, meet other musicians, and celebrate what you have accomplished!
- Use a mantra. Sounds a little cheesy, but some folks find a phrase ("I can do it/I am strong/Share your joy"….) and repeat it in their heads while prepping for a performance. For many folks, using a mantra provides a sense of comfort, and helps focus the mind.
- Think ahead: for most of us, the hardest part of stage fright hits us BEFORE we perform, and usually eases up within the minute or so of our performance. After performing, lots of us feel a rush of excitement and relief — no matter how scared we were beforehand, lots of us finish the performance with a huge smile on their face and a rush of excitement — performing feels great, and we want to relive the experience!
- Come prepared: be a few minutes early. Have a light snack. Avoid caffeine and lots of sugar. If you’re a singer, warm up your voice. Bring a water bottle.
- Think positive thoughts: you’re here because you’ve worked hard and had a lot of fun, and you want to share that with others! Always remember, the audience is on your side. We WANT you to have fun and rock your performance! 🙂