Stage fright, or performance anxiety, is normal. Many people experience freezing up, becoming fearful, and the intense nerves of going on stage in front of a crowd of people and sharing something.
Truthfully, this phenomenon happens because of an inner belief about yourself and what others may think of you. This may be the thought that you are not talented, that people will hate you, or that you will mess up.
Here are some ways to deal with stage fright and performance anxiety so that you can tackle your fear before hitting the stage.
Find Your Inner Fear
For many, stage fright is caused by the inner voice that tells us we aren’t good enough. You may think any of the following things about yourself:
- I can’t do this
- I am so bad at this
- Everyone will laugh at me
- Everyone is talking about me behind my back
- I am not successful
In all reality, these things are likely not true. However, your own belief in yourself and your inner voice is the trick to beating stage fright for good. Practice writing down all the inner thoughts you have that put you down. Now, write an opposite response. These could include:
- I can do this
- I am a fantastic singer
- Despite the opinions of the audience, I am proud of my work
- I will seek out positive feedback and ignore the input that doesn’t resonate
- I am succeeding in following my passions
Doing this will help you positively see your negative thoughts. You won’t have to feel paralyzed anymore by worrying about what others think of you.
If you’re nervous about not producing the sound you want when you get on stage to share your music, there’s a great solution to that. You’ll want to practice frequently until you feel absolutely confident in your ability.
Practice is directly tied to expertise in several fields, and music is no exception. Muscle memory allows you to play an instrument better each time and remember it without much thought. When singing, your body will learn to better pronounce the words and remember the lyrics if you practice them.
Ask for Positive Feedback
If you’re worried about your audience’s feedback, or this is your first time performing, you may want to ask for positive feedback from family members or close friends. If you are comfortable, you can ask for thoughtful criticism. However, in some people, criticism does the opposite of helping to calm nerves.
Ask the people in your life to be an audience to a smaller concert and see how they feel about your performance afterward. You can improve your skills simply by learning what you do well and putting more effort into practicing this.
If you are personally uncomfortable with your knowledge of the type of music you will perform or feel that your skills need some work, a mentor or trainer may help.
Voice training for singers can help fear and stage fright by giving you the knowledge on how to control your voice.
If you are a musician that plays an instrument, working with a teacher that is an expert in your instrument will help you learn more. They’ll be able to give you tips in a constructional way that doesn’t feel like intense criticism. After all, it’s their job to help you get better!
After lessons, you’ll most likely find that you feel a little better about performing on stage in front of an audience.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.