MIXDOWN MAGAZINE ARTICLE
We all love doing what we do. Singing and playing music. A big part of this is getting up on stage and performing in front of a crowd. For some of us, this is extremely daunting and frightening prospect. But inevitably, it is something as a singer you will have to do at some point. In this month’s article, I’m going to give you some helpful advice, tips and hints on how to overcome performance anxiety and keep that demon away forever.
Confidence in Your Own Ability
The number one and most important rule to overcome performance anxiety and gaining self-assurance is to make sure that you have 110% confidence in your vocal abilities to hit every note, in every song that you are going to perform. If you haven’t got complete conviction and confidence in your voice then you are not ready to contemplate getting up on stage, yet. This can be likened to driving an old, unreliable car. You will not feel very confident about driving if you own a car that may or may not start. And even if it does, there is a good chance that it will probably break down before you reach your destination. You will no doubt feel very nervous about driving it and go out and buy a car that is reliable and will give you total assurance that it can take you from A to B.
The same goes for your voice! If you cannot sing a song or a particular part in song, change that part of a song or the key of the song so that you can sing it with confidence and conviction. Or go out and get the necessary training, skills and knowledge to enable to sing whatever you desire.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
Once you can sing every note of every song that you’re going to perform, you must Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse, everything that you are going to do up on stage. And I mean, absolutely everything!
This includes – walking on and off the stage; holding the microphone and correct microphone technique; interacting and speaking to your audience; stage presentation and your movement and interaction with other band members on stage. Everything must be rehearsed.
It is also a good idea to choreograph or even write down how you want your live set to unfold. Write down on the set list when you are going to speak and interact with the crowd. And practice what you are going to say to the audience so that you are not tripping over your words or looking like a dill when you’re up on stage.
Once you have got points one and two down, you’re well on the way to conquering your performance anxiety. At this point, it is now an excellent idea to video your whole performance to see what you sound and look like. You need to critique your video performance and write down the points that you think need improvement, require more rehearsal or fine tuning and look at anything that may need to be added, left out or that you can change for the better.
NB. If you feel the need to, you can even post your video performance up on Facebook, YouTube or other form of social media. But beware! There are a lot of narrow-minded people out there who like to post negative comments, just for the sake of it… even about great performances!
Now back to rehearsing, rehearsing and more rehearsing! Once you are happy with your new and improved video performance it is now time to take it to the people!!
Once you are confident in your performance ability, you now need to start doing this in front of people. I don’t mean getting up on stage just yet. I mean to start perform in front of one or two close friends or family who are going to support and encourage you. Do this at home or in the rehearsal studio. Once you are fine with this, then start to increase the amount of people that you perform in front of. Invite more friends, family, band members, partners, and friend of band members over to the rehearsal studio or hold an intimate show in your garage or living room. Do as many of these performances until you feel comfortable being in front of people. It is imperative that you do these performances regularly – at least once a week.
Once you are confident with all of the above, it is now time to go out and play in front of a live audience.
Take it to the People!
It is a good idea to start with the secret show firstly. And then possibly play a few shows on quieter nights of the week like a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. There are also lots of open mic nights where you can gain valuable stage and live performing experience. Ask to play at a friends party or even arrange a party yourself where you can perform. The main point to reiterate after you have gained confidence being up on stage, is to keep doing it regularly and start performing in front of bigger crowds. Try to perform at least once every two or three weeks because if you leave it for an extended period of time, you will digress back to where you started in regards to your confidence level.
If you follow the simple steps and guidelines then, there is no reason why you cannot perform in front of the biggest crowds at the biggest venues.
1. Develop and gain 110% of confidence in your vocal ability.
2. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
3. Critique your performances for improvements.
4. Start of small.
5. Take it to the people.
By Peter Vox