Our goal as performing artists is much like that of a top athlete or dancer, to be completely relaxed at the same time as being alive and energized. Like an athlete or dancer, our brain must hold a lot of information and be able to fire quickly without overwhelming the singer with unhelpful self judgment. Being this "available" to the moment usually entails a very thorough warm-up. Sometimes a quick vocal warm up before soundcheck isn't enough and we need to physicalize with a series of mind and body focusing and relaxing exercises in order to be really present and ready for anything that might come our way on stage. A solid vocal warm up also not only prepared the voice for the demands we are about to place upon it but allows us a kind of phycological calm knowing we've done everything in our power to make this experience easier.
Being well prepared in advance of the show is also another way to help us get through Stage Fright. Having the songs memorized is a very comforting feeling coming up to a gig. Even if we find we forget the lyrics or arrangement details of the material while on stage, being well rehearsed and knowing we've done the best preparation we can do can lower the stress before and during the show.
GET OUT OF ANXIETY AND INTO THE MOMENT!
It also helps us to stay in a close relationship with the other musicians on stage. A lot of times closing our eyes makes us think we can concentrate better on the task at hand but many times that shuts out the other players We become isolated and sometimes find we cant find our spot when we get lost. It also helps us to stay in a close relationship with our audience.
Make friends with them and engage them in a real relationship of give and take. A lot of times closing our eyes in fear doesn't allow the audience in to the emotional life of the songs. We become isolated and cant connect to the crowd in any meaningful way. That doesn't serve our performance, the material or our goal to get out of our anxiety and into the moment.
Over time, working step by step there is almost no case of stage fright that cannot be improved. Make sure you acknowledge the issue and build in the time for a solid warm up on show days, keep your lyrics with you on stage if you have to… …but most of all STAY CENTERED IN YOUR BREATH!!
Thats the key to a strong performance and the secret to overcoming Stage Fright in my experience.
Micah Barnes coaches singers in Toronto, Los Angeles and New York and his popular Singers Playground workshops have helped thousands of singers to a new freedom in performance. This blog "Notes From The Playground", Micah's Bio and the upcoming workshop info can be found at singersplayground.com