If stage fright grips you every time you have to perform, remember that you are not alone. You belong to the group of Elvis Presley and Meryl Streep and 80% of the people out there who get anxious right before facing the audience. While some may convert the jitters into a class-act, others completely lose their voice and may have a nervous breakdown. Stage fright is very real and only by understanding it can you find the answer to how to overcome stage fright when singing.
Types of stage fright
Being nervous about a performance in front of an audience is very natural but it becomes a problem when it turns into anxiety and paralyses you. Stage fright generally happens in phases and the common types include:
- Fear from anticipation:
This happens when you are imaging the outcome of your performance beforehand and forming negative expectations. All the “what ifs” find you here.
- The desire to avoid:
Our instinct towards something new is always ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. The thought that you may have to fight, creates the sensation of flight. This confusion often gives rise to stage fright.
- Panic attacks:
This happens when fear is combined with normal anxiety. Some butterflies before facing the audience is okay, but panic sets in when you spiral about your performance.
- Fear from appraisal:
Such types of stage fright set in if you already have had a bad experience previously or didn’t get the outcome that you had expected. You compare the wrong notes by looking back.
You can have one or all at the same time depending on how close you are to the performance.
Causes of stage fright
There can be many reasons for losing your nerve before a big event, but the common causes of stage fright can be attributed to:
- Lack of self-confidence – due to being under-prepared or setting a high/unrealistic benchmark.
- Peer pressure – fear of under-performing as compared to your peers.
- Social anxiety – natural instinct to get nervous in front of people.
- Past trauma – bad experience in a similar situation.
Symptoms of stage fright
In response to some external change that we are not comfortable with, our body secretes a hormone called adrenaline into our blood. This causes certain symptoms of stage fright, which are:
- Fast pulse and dry mouth
- Cold hands and feet
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cold sweats and trembling
- Shaky knees
How to overcome stage fright when singing?
Stage fright is quite common before singing, iNTELLYJELLY kids magazine and book in India endorses these nifty ways to bypass the fear of performing on stage:
- Take deep breathes to calm your racing heart. Slowing down your breathing will help to soothe your nerves.
- Divert your energy somewhere else. Light exercising before the performance will spend some of the adrenaline thus alleviating the fear.
- Talk to yourself and find motivation. Keep reminding yourself of your successes to remove negative thoughts.
- Have a healthy diet and avoid caffeine.
- Prepare well in advance and avoid trying too hard.
- Anticipate what all can go wrong and formulate a strategy around it. Being prepared to deal with your mistakes will help reduce tension.
Once you understand the causes and trigger points of your stage fright, overcoming it is a combination of the above steps. As you will see in iNTELLYJELLY, a popular kids magazine and book in India, a bit of fear will help you to achieve better. The secret to success is ultimately to enjoy what you are doing.