Stage fright in musicians. Stage fright in vocalists. How to reduce stress on stage?
Public performance without stage fright. How to deal with stage fright during public speaking?
You attend voice production classes, maybe you sing in a choir. Perhaps you are going to a music school or even studying singing. On vacation, instead of surfing and exploring Barcelona, you go to singing camps where you learn the secrets of singing from morning to night. In your spare time, you listen to music and exercise a lot. Music fills your whole life, but in spite of all these efforts, you stand on stage and all your confidence and skills evaporate in some incomprehensible way. This may be due to stress.
Where does stress come from? Is stress bad? You will find the answers to these questions in my other posts. In this article, I will focus on the phenomenon of stage fright in singers. The specificity of stress causes symptoms at the level of the body that directly affect voice quality, breath control, and the ability to concentrate on song performance. In the case of singers, the voice is the instrument the soundboard that is inside our body, not outside.
Stress in singers
The phenomenon of stress in singers is very specific and can influence performance much more than in instrumentalists. Why is it like that? A guitarist, drummer, pianist or even a saxophonist play an instrument. Vocalists are an instrument, therefore even the smallest changes on the psychophysical level affect resonance and phonation. Stress is a very complex issue and it is worth paying attention to.
Impact of stage fright on voice production- stressed voice
How to recognize a stressed voice? Common symptoms include a shaking voice, shallow breathing, and an inability to sing long phrases. Even great singers may not be successful if they are eaten up by stress when they step on stage or enter a recording studio. Unfortunately, in the case of singers, stress is transferred directly to the voice and cannot be masked. It is worth using your potential and hundreds of hours devoted to exercise.
What advice can be given to a person who is nervous about performing on stage
The best way to deal with stage fright in singers will be a comprehensive approach to this issue. The first step is to be well prepared for the performance. Check if you know the text, the melody by heart, and if you are warmed up. Lack of proper preparation will cause more stage fright. Being aware of your competencies will be helpful. Preparation is one of the pillars of self-confidence.
The second step is mental preparation. It is worth looking at your beliefs that can effectively demotivate you. Your relationship with the inner critic is important. Do you accept your (inner)voice? Do you compare yourself to others? Do you tolerate your mistakes and draw constructive conclusions from them? What you think about yourself influences your performance. Learn more about working on your inner critic here. Life coaching is a helpful tool where you can examine your beliefs and eliminate negative ones.
Relaxation techniques for vocalists
How to deal with stage fright? There are many methods for dealing with stress, and one of them is relaxation techniques. If practiced regularly, it can bring very positive results. Both before your performance and on a daily basis, you can train your stress resistance.
Working with the body as a singer, vocalist
Our emotions influence the tensions in the body. It also works the other way around, so through proper training, stretching, physiotherapy, and self-massage, we can relax and reduce the level of stress. If you think that this form can be for you, check Lowen’s bodywork technique and Alexander’s technique, which can improve the quality of your singing.
You are not alone
Fear of public speaking is one of the more common social fears. Many people struggle with it. It is estimated that as many as 40% of residents in the USA experience this fear. Unfortunately, there are few schools in Europe that teach how to deal with stress before public speaking. It is one of the key competencies because we have been performing on various occasions since we were a child. This is especially important for singers. Many musicians, even the experienced ones, feel stressed before each concert. You may experience stress for the rest of your career. The key is whether this stress mobilizes you or destroys you.
Competition can contribute to our stress. An environment in which you are competing for a place, recognition, or awards may not give you the support you need. Seek help from your loved ones. A friendly face in the audience, a phone call to a friend before entering the stage, or even the fact that you can share your successes and failures with someone is soothing.
Specialist support for singers with a stage fright
Sometimes the fear of speaking is so strong that it will require contact with a specialist. You can get support from a psychologist or psychotherapist who will guide you through the process of getting used to it.
At this point, I do not mean choosing the cut to the figure or the color of the clothes to the skin type 🙂 Vocalists often tend to focus on clothes. Show business has its own rules and appearance is important, but you need to find a healthy balance. Outfits that are too tight make it impossible to breathe freely and beautiful shoes with high heels that do not allow you to “settle” on your legs may look phenomenal, but they can effectively reduce the quality of the performance.
Hi. Welcome to my blog 🙂 I’m a psychologist and public speaking trainer. In 2021 I was chosen as one of the top 11 public-speaking coaches worldwide 2021, according to the Coach Foundation ranking. I work as a TEDx coach and Head of Speakers at TEDxZurich. I also help, among others, lawyers, vocalists, actors, lecturers and business people in preparation for their speeches in front of hundreds of people in the audience, as well as in conducting small meetings or presentations. For many years I worked on controlling the stage fright that kept me awake at night. I was singing and dancing in a Cuban musical. I have always wondered how to manage the internal critic, not to worry about the opinion of others, and how to build a real sense of confidence on stage. Now I know the answer.
Recently, I have given countless interviews, which made me aware of the importance of confidence in front of the camera. Having been involved in music since the age of 10, I know how stressful it can be to present to a wider audience. By combining my business and music experience, I can guide you through the process of changing direction towards your dreams. Based on my vast stage experience, I have gained the ability to provide adequate tools and methods of coaching that will support your development.