How to Calm Your Nerves to Sing in Front of People
You like to sing. You sing around the house, in the car, in the shower.
Sometimes, you would sing around your family members. Most of the time, you would only sing when you are alone.
You think your voice sounds bad and you do not want people hearing you sing.
You wish things could be different. You wish you would not be so nervous when singing in front of people.
You just want to sing your heart out without worrying about sounding bad.
You have performance anxiety/stage fright.
How do you get over it?
Why You Get Nervous
I have been teaching singing lessons for over 11 years.
Every single one of my students have/had performance anxiety. It was mild in some of them, moderate and severe in others.
As performers, we will all experience performance anxiety. The key is to use performance anxiety to help you perform better.
Performance anxiety can be considered a form of social anxiety because you are afraid of being humiliated in front of people.
Our voice is tied very closely to our identity and self-worth. That makes it easy to feel offended when somebody criticizes our singing voice.
Your performance anxiety will be more severe if you also have another anxiety disorder, such as panic attacks, obsessive/compulsive disorder or social anxiety disorder.
Why You Need to Handle It
We cannot control our emotions but we can learn to manage them.
You cannot control your performance anxiety but you can learn to manage it.
If you think your performance anxiety will go away once you get better at vocal technique, you are wrong.
Left untreated, your performance anxiety will be a parasite in your system. No matter how much progress you make in vocal technique, your performance anxiety will manifest in different ways.
You will actually find it hard to improve your voice - even though you are doing all the ‘right things’.
You will find out hard to express your authentic emotions when singing.
Your throat muscles will tighten when you are stressed or anxious. This increases the risk of vocal damage.
You will feel breathless - making it difficult to have proper breath support.
How to Manage Your Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright
The best way for you to overcome performance anxiety is to acknowledge it, intellectually understand about the condition, then use specific strategies from psychology and mindfulness to address the symptoms and root causes.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has proven to be one of the most effective approaches to lessen performance anxiety.
By examining and replacing your negative thought patterns, you can start to behave and act differently. Your new behavior will break the cycle of anxiety. You will get different results. Better results.
Eventually, your self-limiting beliefs will be replaced by new beliefs that help you become a confident singer.
A common mistake is to only address the symptoms of performance anxiety, and ignoring the root causes.
This band-aid approach is like treating a fever with Panadol, without treating the viral infection that is causing the fever.
Once you address the root causes of your performance anxiety, your anxiety responses/symptoms will be triggered less and less.
It is not a comfortable process though. It takes willpower and determination. It is worth the effort when you can finally sing your heart out in front of people without feeling embarrassed. Think of the self-esteem boost you will be getting!
If you would like a step-by-step system to help you get over stage fright, check out my singing academy.
What to Do if You Also Have Another Anxiety Disorder
If you have an anxiety disorder that is affecting your day-to-day life, it will spill over into your singing.
I would recommend getting professional help from a licensed therapist.
If you prefer, there are also apps that can be your mobile therapist. I really like an app called “Bloom”. I have a yearly subscription to it and I use it a lot.
Performance anxiety is an unavoidable part of being a singer. It may be your Achille’s Heel but it is treatable.
For most people, performance anxiety can be managed using specific strategies from psychology and mindfulness. I have personally seen it work for many of my students. It does take time but it has been amazingly satisfying to see their transformation.
If you need help overcoming performance anxiety, my singing academy covers the exact techniques I use to help my private students go from singing in the shower to singing in front of people.
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