10 Ways to Reduce Anxiety When Singing

10 Ways to Reduce Anxiety When Singing

Performing in front of an audience can be an exhilarating experience, but it can also be a nerve-wracking one. It doesn’t matter if you’re performing to a tiny pub or a packed amphitheater, when this performance anxiety hits you, it can hit you hard. And when it does, it can affect everything from your vocal abilities to your onstage presence; which is why it’s important that we singers learn to control and eliminate this anxiety.

Now it’s true that certain people take to the limelight much better than others, and that some singers seem like they are “natural born” performers, but that doesn’t mean that you either have it or you don’t. So today I’m going to share ten strategies that have helped me transform myself from being a nervous wreck onstage to actually enjoying the rush that performing in front of an audience brings me.

1. Learn Correct Technique

It’s very hard to seem confident doing something that you don’t know how to do properly. So the first and most important step in eliminating performance anxiety as a singer is learning proper singing technique. It doesn’t matter if you’re a heavy metal vocalist or an opera singer, it’s important that you know the nuances of your trade inside out before you even set foot on a stage.

2. Sing Songs That You Connect With

As a singer it’s always important to choose songs that you connect to and are passionate about. When you sing a song that doesn’t mean much to you it can be easy for your mind to wonder onto things that can make you nervous. But when you’re singing a song that means something to you, it’s far easier to just lose yourself in the music and let go of any worries that you may have while performing.

3. Practice

When a footballer like Lionel Messi stands in front of goal with the ball at his feet, he doesn’t hesitate or second-guess himself. And that’s because he’s practiced every kick from every possible angle so many times that his body and his mind instinctively knows what to do wherever he is on the pitch. So as a singer how do you know that you’ve practiced enough? Well, when you can run and somersault across a 100-foot stage like Bruce Dickinson or break into complex dance moves like Michael Jackson, all while singing perfectly, as if on auto-pilot, you’ll know you’ve practiced enough.

4. Plan Your Performance

Practicing your singing is one thing, but preparing for your whole performance is a whole different ball game. So if you aim to be a world-class performer, don’t just practice each and every note that you’re going to sing. Plan what you’re going to do and what you’re going to say throughout your performance. I’m not saying that every minute of your performance should be scripted and mechanic. But knowing what you’re going to do onstage before you do it can go a long way in dealing with performance anxiety.

5. Perform at Low-key Events

Performance is an art that takes years of practice and hours upon hours spent on stage to master. So start small and start wherever you can. Make a list of low-pressure venues and events like open mics and karaoke nights that you can perform at easily and visit them regularly. Enjoy yourself, but also take every performance seriously. Evaluate each gig and think about things that you could have done better to make your performance standout or to make the audience have a better time. And once you have a feel for what it takes to work a stage and an audience, work your way up the ladder.

6. Perform With Other Musicians

Not only is performing as a group a whole lot more fun, but it can also help take a lot of pressure off yourself as an individual performer. So find a group of singers and musicians that like the same type of music as you and perform regularly with them. Learn from each other and learn how to feed off each other’s energy. And after each gig exchange honest feedback on how each of you could improve your performance the next time round.

7. Warm-up before Singing

Your voice is a muscle. And like any other muscle in your body, it needs to be warmed up before you can expect it to perform at its highest capacity. Experiment with various vocal warm-up techniques and find one that works for you. And make sure that you warm up for at least an hour before each performance. If your voice doesn’t sound at its best from your first song itself, you’ll know that you’re not warming it up enough before performing.

8. Focus On Your Posture

It’s pretty crazy how much our physiology can affect our state of mind. For example, when you’re feeling down and depressed, try sitting up straight, puffing out your chest and forcing a smile on your face. You might feel like an idiot at first, but you’ll gradually find yourself actually feeling better. So every time you sing, focus on maintaining a comfortable and relaxed posture. This will help you look and feel much more confident when you perform.

9. Focus On Your Breathing

Have you ever noticed when you’re feeling nervous or anxious onstage, how your breathing starts becoming shallow and how this affects your ability to pitch and hold notes correctly? This usually results in a further loss of confidence and even more anxiety, and this can spiral until the entire performance is ruined. So when you’re onstage focus on maintaining proper breathing technique at all times. Not only will this help you sing better but it will also help you feel calmer and more confident.

10. Learn to Enjoy the Nerves

I’ve been performing as a professional singer for over five years now, and I still get nervous on occasion. But whereas five years ago that nervousness would have made me an anxious wreck, today I actually enjoy this feeling and even look forward for it. So remember, you’ll probably never really lose the pre-stage jitters, but with enough practice and onstage experience you’ll be able to learn to actually enjoy it.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned as a performer over the years is that if you, the performer, are genuinely having fun onstage, the audience will always follow suit. And if you’re ever unhappy or nervous, the audience will feel that too. So I hope that these ten strategies will help you help you and your audiences enjoy every minute that you spend on stage.

Quick Singing Tips: The Essential Guide for Guitarists Who Want to Sing
Quick Singing Tips: The Essential Guide for Guitarists Who Want to Sing

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