Nerves are something every singer deals with. It’s also what stops many of us taking the first step in learning to sing. Even household names like Adele have admit to experiencing a degree of stage-fright, but nerves don’t mean you can’t get up and sing. As the old saying goes “the show must go on.”
So how do we deal with it? Here are a few helpful suggestions to deal with stage-fright.
1. Equal Breathing
This is a simple breathing exercise but one that’s proven to work.
Take a big breath in through your nose, for a count of four. Next, release that breathe, exhaling fully for another count of four. Try to keep your breathing smooth and flowing, avoid shaky breathing if you can help it.
These deep breathes not only help calm you but they also give you something peaceful to focus on.
Studies have shown this breathing exercise affects your hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (or HPA.) In short, it reduces to production of stress hormones in your brain.
2. Avoid Caffeine
We’ve recommended this before. Caffeine not only dries your throat out, it also increases your heart rate which can make you feel more nervous and anxious before you go onstage.
In can be tempting to think the caffeine will give us that extra kick we needs but in reality it fuels our nerves instead of us.
Other things to avoid include sugar and salt.
We all know how important good posture is to help us sing but standing up tall with our heads held high also has been shown to increase confidence.
More impressively, studies have shown that adopting a power pose for a few minutes before going out on stage can reduce your stress levels. These studies have been contentious though but the latest research indicates that they work.
Power poses are open, relaxed stances like leaning back in your chair or standing wide with your hands on your hips like Wonder Woman. These stances may well be simple solutions to reducing cortisol, the major hormone responsible for stress.
4. Perform More
Getting up onstage is a great way to reduce your anxiety about it. By exposing yourself to the situation, you make it more familiar and less scary.
You don’t even have to do it at a concert. It could be at a karaoke night or an open mic night or even amateur theatre.
Performing as much as possible means you get used to the feelings associated with it. It’s very easy to confuse excitement and anxiety because they’re both heightened states that we seldom experience.
Developing proper technique and knowing the information behind it can give you greater confidence onstage. It gives you the confidence that you know what you’re doing, that your teachers wouldn’t let you do this without proper training and that you’ve rehearsed enough to do it right.
After a while, certain aspects of singing become natural and we don’t have to worry as much but this happens by committing to it and focusing on our technique until it becomes second nature.
So there we are, five techniques to reduce stage-fright. While it can effect everyone us differently, and only you can find out the perfect technique to help you, these tips should provide a great starting point as you set out as singers.