What if You Really Want to Sing But You are Just Too Scared to Do It?

Singing has always been something you wish you could do well. When you watch a good singer on TikTok, you say to yourself: “I’d never shut up if I could sing like that.” Deep down, you feel your voice has the potential if you could just know how to get better at singing. Not only that, you want to have the courage to sing in front of people.

Musical Performance Anxiety (MPA)

Believe it or not, Musical Performance Anxiety is real. There have been research papers published in recent years to document this phenomena. It may not be an actual clinical diagnosis but MPA does create distress in musicians.

MPA is defined as “an experience of persistent and distressing apprehension and/or real prejudice of the performance abilities in a public context to an unjustifiable degree given the individual musical aptitude and preparation level.” (source)

According to this definition, someone is said to have performance anxiety when they have obvious anxiety symptoms when performing in front of people (even though they have the ability to sing well and have prepared adequately).

What if you are a beginner? Does that mean it does not include you?

In my opinion, performance anxiety affects every performer (beginner to advanced). Beginners even more so because beginners do not sing as well as advanced singers.

Does That Mean If You Get Better at Singing, You Will Get Less Anxious?

Yes and no.

Yes, because when you get better at singing, you will feel and sound better when you are singing. Your self efficacy goes up - making you more confident.

No, because there could be other factors making you anxious. These things can be out of your control, such as pre-existing mental health conditions, home or school environment, previous experiences in singing etc. According to research, being a female also increases your chances of being anxious as you get older. (source)

I have taught students who had immense natural talent. They sounded great even though they never had any vocal training before. However, some of them were even more anxious than the students who had less natural talent.

Solid Foundation in Vocal Technique + Performance Anxiety Management

If you want to have the courage to sing in front of people one day (and give a commendable performance), you need to work on your vocal technique and learn how to manage your performance anxiety at the same time.

As a start, it is good to learn some basic vocal warm-up. Avoid falling into the trap of doing a collection of exercises you find from different places and doing them without knowing why you are doing them. Be intentional about your training. Learn the core principles of vocal technique, such as the Open Throat Concept. (You can learn more about it in my free ebook)

Remember: exercises and strategies change to suit the student but the principles always stay the same.

Performance Anxiety Management

Managing your performance anxiety can be a scary process in itself because you are exposing yourself to your fears. The key is to do it slowly and gradually.

When you are having anxiety symptoms, it is hard to think logically. Ground yourself by doing breathing exercises such as box breathing and 478 breathing exercises.

Your performance anxiety is caused by the core beliefs/self limiting beliefs that you have developed over the course of your life. These are thoughts that you have repeated over and over for so long that you have now accepted them as truths - even though those thoughts may not be entirely true.

These core beliefs now act like parasites. Even when your singing technique has improved, these core beliefs/self limiting beliefs will make you blind to those improvements. They will make you focus on the negative side so much that you will ignore the positive things. You get more and more anxious over time and eventually, you give up on your singing.

Reframing your anxious thoughts is how you can ‘correct’ those core beliefs. You will start to chip away at those self limiting beliefs and turn them into more helpful and realistic beliefs. This is how you gain confidence in your singing.


Hopefully, you have gained some insights into why you feel anxious about singing in front of people - whether you think you have a good voice or not. To recap, you need to work on both vocal technique and your inner game (performance anxiety management) if you want to sing well in public. Ready to take the plunge? I want to normalize performance anxiety in singers. Therefore, I have created an online academy called “Shower to Stage Academy” to take beginner singers from singing in the shower to singing in front of people. Have a look!

FREE Ebook: How to Go From Shower to Stage

Discover the 3-step system to gain control of your voice and sing with confidence in public (even if you only ever sing in the shower) 

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