How to Overcome Stage Fright

Not every musician is a born performer. In fact, even the most talented artists – including Adele and Barbara Streisand – have admitted to being nauseous or forgetting their words on stage. And what about your singing? Unfortunately, audiences will often equate a nervous sounding voice to someone who “can’t sing live” – a crushing criticism for any musician. Remember, stage fright is a common problem, whether or not you are talented and capable. To bring your confidence back, here are some tips to use before your next live performance.

Stand and Sit up Straight

Sometimes the key to confidence is looking the part. Good posture will not only give you the appearance of being fearless, but striking these power poses will also make you feel more confident. Try it out — before your next gig, spend one minute standing up straight with your chest out and your hands on your hips. For more information, watch Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk on body language.

Practice Makes Perfect

Instead of being consumed by thoughts of a bad performance before you even hit the stage, focus on what you can control. Mikael Cho’s lesson on stage fright recounts Steve Jobs practicing his speeches hundreds of times before delivering them to an audience. If you go above and beyond in rehearsing your songs – including breathing exercises and stage use – you will have less anxiety and a stronger belief in your capabilities.

Limit Caffeine before the Show

All those sleep-less nights rehearsing will cost you some energy before the big day. Although caffeine might give you a much needed boost, it can also make you jittery onstage. Avoid pre-show chugging a can of Red Bull. Remember to get a good night’s rest before your performance.

View Your Audience from a Different Angle

Your audience did not show up to just judge your performance. Fans especially are there to appreciate your art. Mentally make them allies and not enemies. This will help you focus on creating valuable content for your audience rather than worrying about what they think of you.

Stage fright might never go away for some people. In a way, stage nerves might even motivate you to create a better show. Either way, practicing these tips will help you remain focused, confident, and in control.

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Vivien Bui is a musician and writer. She enjoys going to concerts, writing at night, and sitting in a coffee shop with a good book.

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