Does the thought of singing in front of people scare you? Well, you’re not alone! Even some of the greatest performers have confessed that they had to learn how to overcome stage fright when singing for a crowd.
I took on my first stage at the tender age of four years old. Since then, I’ve performed my songs on more than 200 stages around the world. I’ve performed in front of big and small crowds, indoors and outdoors, with full bands, and with mp3 instrumental tracks. Even with all of my experience I still get a little nervous before going on stage!
Having stage fright is very normal for singers and it is nothing to be ashamed of. However, it can dramatically affect your ability to perform, when not addressed. Therefore it is very important to take the necessary steps to overcome your fear so that you can deliver the best performance for your audiences.
Today we will discuss 10 strategies that will help you face your fear of singing in front of people. Apply these strategies and you will find that performing is actually lots of fun, and not as scary as it seems!
Be Prepared for Your Performance
First things first, you need to make sure you are fully prepared for your performance. For many people, one of the main causes of singing anxiety is the fear that they might forget the words to the song, and end up standing on stage silent, with hundreds of eyes blankly staring them.
To reduce the chances of this happening, prepare by learning the song you plan to sing so well that you can speak the lyrics as if you are having a conversation. In the days leading up to your performance, don’t listen to any other music, obsess over memorizing the words 100%.
Take Care of Your Voice
Another major cause of stage fright is the fear that vocals will sound bad. This is a very understandable concern because unlike recording in a studio, when singing on stage there is no room to go back and edit a note that was off key.
To prevent rough singing, be sure to take care of your voice in the weeks and days prior to going on stage. There are a number of ways to make sure your voice is at its healthiest; do vocal exercises, watch your diet, don’t yell unnecessarily, etc. Also, before you go on stage do a vocal warm up.
5 Daily Habits for a Healthy Voice
How to Warm Up Your Vocals for a Performance
If you are consistently making a conscious effort to have a healthy voice, you will be able to reduce the anxiety about vocal mistakes on stage, thus reducing your stage fright!
Go to Karaoke Night
Karaoke is one of the only places in the world that provides a stage for both good and bad singers. It creates a judgment free environment that allows anyone to take on the stage, and perform in front of people who are there to cheer them on.
Since you are already a good singer, doing karaoke will prove to be a huge confidence booster for you. The people in the crowd don’t come expecting great voices. Throughout the night they will see so many funny, not-so-good singers, that your performance will automatically impress them. Embrace that feeling of impressing the crowd and carry it into your non-karaoke performances.
Develop an Alter Ego for Singing on Stage
Many of the greatest performers have used the strategy of creating an alter ego to overcome their stage fear. People like Beyonce, Miley Cirus, Nicki Minaj, Prince, and Katy Perry to name a few, have all channeled an alternative version of themselves so that they can step out of their comfort zone.
Come up with your own alter ego and make that version of yourself not afraid of singing on stage. Make him/her confident, talented, mesmerizing, anything you wish to be as a performer. When it’s time to hit the stage, let your alter ego do all the work for you!
Check out these musicians’ alter egos:
Meditate or do Yoga to Calm the Mind and Body
You have to learn how to relax when singing if you truly want to overcome your stage fright! Being tense, anxious, or overthinking will only have a negative effect on your voice and your overall stage presence.
Before you are about to perform, take some time to practice meditation and yoga. Meditating will clear your mind which is likely filled with a thousand thoughts and voices, telling you everything that could go wrong.
Yoga will help to relax your body so that you are able to feel loose and free on stage. Yoga will also help you improve your posture and breathing techniques which are both very important for a great live performance.
10 Minute Meditation for Performance Anxiety
Yoga For Singers
Visualize Your Performance
Once you’ve cleared your mind through meditation, you need to replace the negative thoughts you had about singing on stage, with thoughts of what you want to happen. Close your eyes and see it. Imagine yourself walking onto the stage in full confidence. Imagine you hitting every single note and remembering every word. Imagine the crowd loving your performance and giving you great feedback.
When you visualize something enough, it will begin to manifest itself. Be sure to keep all of your thoughts positive and always picture things going great! Other than that there are no rules when it comes to visualizing. Whatever you want to happen on that stage, see it, and believe it can!
Embrace Your Nerves
Many people spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to sing without getting nervous, but the reality is, getting nervous comes with the territory. It is very important to remember that stage fright and nervousness are not the same things.
Stage fright can ruin your whole performance or cause you to freeze up. Being nervous on the other hand is just a reminder that you are doing something out of your comfort zone or something that you want to go well, which is a good thing.
Embrace the nervous feelings, tell yourself that it is normal. Everyone gets nervous about something. People who have been singing on stage for years professionally still get butterflies in their stomachs before each performance. Don’t let your nerves turn into fear, just embrace it and push forward.
Connect with the Crowd
This is one of the most important steps in getting rid of stage fright. Whether the audience came specifically to see you, or never heard of you, while you are on that stage, you are in control and have the power to manipulate how they feel about you. Don’t take this for granted, make an effort to connect with your audience and show them who you are.
Talk to them
One great way to connect with the crowd is to speak a little at the beginning of your performance. If you are nervous, say it, people like and can feel authenticity. By showing them you are vulnerable you are also earning their trust. Here’s an example:
“Hello, you all look great. It’s been a while since I’ve been on stage so I’m a little nervous. But I wrote this song that’s very special to me and I’d love to share it with you today if that’s alright.”
Find Friendly Faces
Another great way to connect with the crowd is to find happy and supportive faces. When you’re performing there may be people who seem uninterested. Don’t focus on those people because you will conclude that their energy is the consensus of the feelings of the entire audience.
Instead, find a friendly face, a bobbing head, anything that is positive and just stay focused on that. Smile, make eye contact, continue in the transfer of good energy and eventually, you will feel your fears about being on stage melt away.
Start with a Bigger Crowd
This may sound like a horrible suggestion when it comes to getting rid of stage fright, however, starting in front of a large crowd actually makes connecting to the crowd a lot easier.
If you are performing in front of 100 people, the chances of finding a few who are giving you good energy is higher, than if you are performing in front of only 10 people. Simply put, out of 100 people in a crowd, somebody is going to like your performance!
Another thing big crowds let you do is interact and get the people watching involved in your performance. If you’ve ever attended a concert you might have seen the performer engage the crowd by saying something like “left side say…now right side say”.
Not only will the participation of a large crowd boost your confidence, it will also make your performance more entertaining and memorable.
Know that Mistakes are Fine
You’ve prepared for your performance, you’ve meditated, done yoga, taken care of your voice, went to karaoke, etc… Guess what? Mistakes can still happen and that is ok.
So many big-name artists have had their voices crack, have fallen off the stage, forgotten the words. You are human and you don’t have to be perfect. It’s not about how you fall it’s about how you get back up. The truth is, if you make a mistake on stage the crowd doesn’t really care. For all they know you did it on purpose.
Pattie Label Forgets the Words to “This Christmas”
It only becomes awkward when you allow a mistake to throw you off your game completely and freeze up. Keep going. Laugh it off if you have to. Just know that mistakes are just as normal as being nervous and you are still a great performer.
Just have Fun
What is the number one answer to the question of how to get over stage fright? Just have fun! Don’t take things so seriously when it comes to performing on stage. At the end of the day, you are a great singer and you will become a better performer the more you do it.
Enjoy being on stage, connect and engage the crowd, and sing your heart out as if nobody’s watching.