Your muscles tense up. Your palms start sweating. Your heart beats loud, and you think that, maybe, the entire audience can notice how nervous you are. Stage fright is a common problem affects several musicians, beginners and professionals alike. If you're the type of player that loves to perform but feel like you can't get over the nervous feeling of being up on stage, don't worry, you're not alone. Luckily, there are exercises and tips you can do to help you naturally overcome the anxiety. While you might never completely overcome stage fright, the key here is to learn how to manage it and not let it control your ability to perform in front of your fans. Below are some tips that should help you overcoming stage fright.
You might be thinking that if you could simply convince yourself that you aren’t scared, all of those feelings will go away. Well, maybe you'll be able to pull it off once - but what about the next show? If you're serious about being a musician, you're going to have to perform live. Rather than tricking yourself into thinking that you don't have a problem, do something about it. The first step in dealing with stage fright is admitting that the thought of being on stage terrifies you.
We all know the benefits of practice before any big performance or recital. But if you usually suffer from stage fright, it might be useful to take it one more step further. When practicing a certain song, think about exactly what you will be thinking about when performing that piece on stage. Do not allow yourself to perform into an auto-pilot practice mode, but rather totally engage with your music. Visualize any upcoming difficult passages as you play and immerse yourself in the rhythm.
When you start getting nervous before a performance, remind yourself of the talent it took to get you up on stage. Reflect happy memories including any past performances. Imagine a pumped up crowd of fans who are there to enjoy your music, not to analyze your mistakes. By staying positive, you will naturally gain confidence which will undoubtedly help you on stage.
Don't Focus On Your Anxiety
Essentially, the opposite of the tip above, but important enough that it deserves its own tip. Instead of focusing on everything that is going right, too many of us tend to worry needlessly about trivial things, allowing negative thoughts to creep in while on stage. Unfortunately, it only gets worse as the negative thoughts take hold and keep growing. If you make a mistake, don't dwell on it. Your frustration may force you to make more mistakes, leading to increased stress.
Talk It Out
You’re most likely not the only member of your band dealing with stage fright, so, why suffer only? Ask your bandmates or even other musicians how they cope. In fact, they probably have a few tricks to share with you. And even if they don't, their support alone will make a huge difference. Think of it like a mini therapy session among musicians dealing with a common source of anxiety.
Fear usually manifests itself in different physical symptoms, and finding ways to cope with these can be a significant boost in the fight against stage fright. If you feel like you’re about to panic, focus on deep breaths. It may sound somehow hokey, but meditation and/or yoga can assist you to control your breathing and do it in a way that can calm you. Try different things for yourself. You might find that walking around the block and getting some fresh air is the best way to get control of those jitters. Maybe you need some silence before you go up on stage. The key is to keep trying until you find something that works.
Although the best musicians and performers around might seem like they were born to be on stage, they all had to start somewhere. And chances are, they were dealing with stage fright when they walked up on stage for the very first time. We all have to start somewhere, but you won't get anywhere unless you face your problems head on!
Your Turn to Sound Off!
What do you do to combat stage fright?