We have all experienced this at one stage or another. You struggle to sing in front of a crowd-or worse, your friends because sometimes you get nervous. New singers especially can feel the nerves crawl over them. Here, we hope to give you techniques and insight into how to conquer them.
Overcome your nerves before you sing on stage by relaxing with breathing, physical exercises, and mind tricks such as imagining the audience as one person. We will cover that and more in this article.
By the end of this article, you will “become friends” with your nerves.
BREATHE! Simple as that, take some deep breaths. Inhale slowly through the nose, then exhale slowly the mouth. Give your body a good, quick shake. “Shake It off!”
Do some physical warm-ups or exercises. Try calf stretches, arm stretches and shoulder rolls. A brief yoga session will center you and calm your nerves. The Five Tibetan Rites is a simple set of exercises that addresses the most energy meridians flowing through the body with the least amount of effort. You don’t have to accept or understand Chinese medicine to get the benefits. This is a suck-it-and-see thing – just do it and decide from there whether or not it helps. 5 to 7 reps of each exercise will be enough. (Always do odd numbers)
Karaoke is the gift that the God Of Music gave to singers. And here’s why:
- It’s a great way to get to know the songs you are singing.
- You are working with note-perfect instrumental backups.
- You learn to work with microphones.
- You can observe other good singers and see what they do (as well as the bad singers so you can see what NOT to do)
- Karaoke is the best place to learn how to engage an audience because no audience is harder to impress while at the same time more forgiving than the karaoke crowd. People go to karaoke to drink, carouse then murder their favorite songs with heart and verve. Meanwhile, their friends continue carousing and drinking! How often have you seen people sing their hearts out at karaoke then their friends say something truly inspiring like “Have you sung already? I missed it! ” Karaoke is a cruel but honest experience for aspiring singers! Treat Karaoke like a workshop. You will know that you’ve made it when the crowd stops talking and listens to you! When the karaoke crowd applauds and cheers lustily you will know that the practice is paying off and that you’re ready for more.
- And karaoke is free.
Sing with someone else beside you. This a great strategy for those new to the stage. Sing with a friend or family member who has done it before. Be it a duet or you take turns in singing the song, it is both a great way to conquer nerves and have fun in the joint!
This is a double step depending on your circumstances. Either have someone you know in the audience who will be supportive or focus on a point to distract you from the audience. Knowing that you have a friend or a family member with you in the audience will help a lot with relieving some unshaken nerves, knowing they’ve got your back.
The Focus Point technique involves you looking at a point behind the audience. The options will vary depending on the venue. It could be a clock, a beer hose, a chair, you could even do what people did before Facebook: sing to a real wall.
Treat the audience like they are only one person. This is one of the best mind trick techniques I can offer anyone who wants to be on stage. Imagine the audience is only one person, a friend or family member you are comfortable with who is the only person with you in the room. This releases a lot of pressure from your mind.
Use your anxiety to your advantage: Sing for yourself! You feel nervous most when you have something special to give. There’s another great thing about this mindset; not only do you conquer your nerves but you sing to the best of your ability too. All the great singers sing for themselves first. It has nothing to do with ego and everything to do with the art.
Alcohol abuse and drug abuse is an occupational hazard of singing in public. Singers and musicians are surrounded by drugs and alcohol because the venues are often bars, parties or gatherings where people are celebrating. Singers and musicians are often offered drugs and alcohol as part payment for their services and singers and musicians will sometimes self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to overcome anxiety. Some even convince themselves that they play and sound better when they take drugs and alcohol.
I have older professional and semiprofessional musician friends who ruefully shake their collective heads reflecting on how much money, opportunity, and health they’ve lost over the years to the lie that drugs and alcohol help in any way. Some have lost marriages and families to the scourge. You will never sing better than you will when you are sober and straight. You won’t embarrass yourself, let your audience down, wonder how it went down the night before or lose contacts, associates and even friends because you were pissed, stoned, smashed or wasted.
What if I get nervous during the performance: Take a deep breath and just continue with the song. Get back into your zone and remember it’s okay: no one is going to die here (except you!).
Sorry, that was cruel and unnecessary.