Stage fright is one of the most common barriers musicians and other performers face. I have gone through phases of stage fright on many occasions, the most recent one being at the Essex Entertainment Awards 2015 when I was performing in front of 700 people. I didn’t get it awfully, but when I was backstage I was sweating on my hands quite profusely and also struggling to breathe at times. However, I managed to perform and it went very well, this is because deep down I knew I was in control as soon as my hands touched the keys.
Some of you reading this will be new to performances, therefore stage fright affects you quite badly. In this article I am going to provide you with my top tips to combatting the performer’s worst enemy.
1. Take some deep breaths
I know this is one of the most cliche things to say, and I know that you’re probably sick of hearing this same old line, but this does work. Just take five minutes to compose yourself before you go on stage. The performance will be fine!
2. Practise performing in front of friends and family
If you’re comfortable with doing this, it is probably one of the easiest ways to get used to performing in front of an audience. This is how I started out, from a very young age I would put on small shows at various family parties and it really did help build my confidence up as a performer. If you don’t want to perform in front of family, maybe perform in front of some close friends.
3. Invent a pre performance ritual that relaxes you
There are so many famous musicians that have crazy pre-gig rituals, it may sound silly but it really is not that uncommon. I have one too, I must have at least one cup of tea before going on stage, I also have to stretch my fingers and wrists since I’m a pianist. Selena Gomez likes to drink Olive Oil, John Legend eats Chicken and Keith Richards eats Sheppards Pie. These sound really strange I know but take it from someone who knows, this genuinely really helps calm the nerves!
4. Have an experienced performer accompany you on stage
If your first performance is at an open mic night of some kind, or you are a singer and can’t play an instrument, have an instrumentalist like a pianist or guitarist accompany you. This will not only look better than using a plain old backing track like everybody else, but it will also increase your confidence on stage because you won’t be alone.
I have worked with a lot of amazing singers who are under confident and the first thing I do for their first performance is offer to accompany them on Piano so that they’re up there with somebody else.
If you’re going to do this, I would definitely advise recruiting a musician with a good deal of performance experience. This is because you can be sure that they will not get too nervous and are able to help you and comfort you if you get too nervous, you certainly don’t want to be having to worry about them whilst you’re petrified yourself already!
5. ENJOY YOURSELF!
I cannot stress this enough! Live performances should be enjoyable both for the performer AND the audience, it’s key that you have fun with your performance and that you have a good time. If you don’t at least look like you’re enjoying yourself, the audience 100% will not enjoy your performance and that is definitely something you don’t want.
I know enjoying yourself is difficult when you are nervous whilst on stage, but if you follow all of the above steps, I’m confident that you’re stage fright will become easier to manage or even completely disappear.
I’ve been performing for a long time and I do still get nervous when I have a big gig like the one I mentioned. That being said, having some nerves is always a good thing and you’re bound to be a little nervous when getting on stage to perform in front of people no matter how many years you’ve been in the business!
The key to it all is learning how not to let it show!
- http://blog.sonicbids.com/the-bizarre-pre-show-rituals-of-7-famous-musicians (point number 3)
- http://conquerstagefright.blogspot.co.uk/p/avoid-stage-fright-how-to-make.html (Image)