Are you afraid of making mistakes when singing on stage? Ever experienced getting so nervous, you had buckets of sweat on your face? Yep, that’s Performance Anxiety or stage fright, alright. Truly, it’s the most common phobia that puts the fear of heights and the fear of spiders pretty tame. What do you know? This phobia affects 73% of the population. That’s a lot, really a lot. People are so afraid to talk in front; they’d rather die than do it.
Now, singing is an art form. Our most talented singers and vocalists made sure of that. For many of us, however, singing is a way of release. To express our feelings, we sing. You may love singing. But if you combine singing and being on stage, it’s one toxic combination that could give surprising results. Know that even the most adept singers in town could get the jitters. Luckily, there are ways you can rein in all those negative emotions. Practicing these steps could be a lifesaver.
Tracing the Fear’s Roots
It may seem to confound you. But the fear of performing in public has its roots in our ancestors. At least, that’s what experts believe.
Evolution scientists may have an answer to all the craziness. They say such fear is primordial, and it’s based on the fear of being rejected. When our ancestors were still hunter-gatherers, way before civilization happened, these prehistoric ancestors lived in tribes to protect themselves. They banded together.
Being part of a tribe, therefore, is a survival necessity. Being turned down by the tribe means leaving the tribe. In the end, it can mean a most painful death in the hands of animals and Mother Nature outside.
Performance Anxiety is a psychological term for Stage Fright, a form of social anxiety. It’s especially common for introverts who are naturally shy.
There are many instances where you feel like everything will go downhill the moment you perform. You suddenly feel like drinking a gallon of water or going to the bathroom to pee. That jittery and confusing feeling of wanting to get it over with or going home to avoid the embarrassment. It’s hard to calm the nerves when there will be thousands of people looking at you, right?
It Affects Even the Best of Us
But if you think you’re alone feeling anxious on stage, you’re gravely mistaken. Even legendary singers and performers struggle with stage fright.
Adele is one. The British singer is a world sensation, no doubt about that. She has won more Grammy Awards than most run-of-the-mill singers today. But even the great Adele, wanting to satisfy her millions of adoring fans, struggles with stage fright.
Yup, you heard that right. The Hello singer, as successful as she is, sometimes gets anxious when performing. For one, she once had to throw up backstage before performing because she couldn’t calm down at all.
And she’s not alone too. Rihanna, the sexy Barbadian singer, would take a sip of alcohol before every performance to calm her nerves. Even Beyonce, who’s known for her powerful stage presence, has dealt with stage frights throughout her career. Shocking right? So don’t have to feel so bad and blame yourself. Just about everyone has their fair share of difficulties when in the limelight.
Face Your Fear
Most aspiring singers remain unknown, not because of a lack of talent. They remain that way for lack of trying. But what good is talent if you can’t even utilize it, right? Taking steps to get over it should be wise.
And it all starts with your attitude toward that fear. In this regard, a little adjustment should be wise.
Dr. Carol Dweck, a psychologist from Stanford University, explains that a person with a fixed mindset avoids anxiety-inducing situations like avoiding eye contact and averting social interactions. However, a person with a growth mindset thinks that these situations are challenges, and one should make an effort to socialize.
With that said, you should take baby steps to conquer that fear of singing. And yes, it all starts days before your appearance.
Practice Makes Perfect
For one, you have got to practice your piece weeks before your performance. You lower your chances of making mistakes if you practice. Even the most talented singers won’t stand a chance of delivering a good performance on a song they don’t know.
Even better, take professional training. Taking voice lessons can go a long way in improving your performance. Not only do you get to learn from someone knowledgeable, but you also take time to rehearse. You’d be surprised how confident you can become when you have ample time to prepare.
When looking for songs to sing on stage, you should be mindful of what songs fit the best for the occasion. It should also fit your voice. Don’t sing a Luciano Pavarotti piece before a crowd of millennials. That’s unless it’s inside a comedy bar.
If you look into it, there are a slew of methods you can find online to help you choose great musical pieces. You have to do your due diligence.
When it comes to singing, there’s only one way but up when you practice well. And you should know that singing is a way to help people. So think of how much you’re giving people a good time when you sing. You may not be a star yet, but if you put effort into it, becoming one is closer than you think, one performance at a time. Take a bow!