We are getting into recital prep season here at Premier Performing Arts Studio School of Music! Our Spring Recital will be on April 18 and several of our students have already started to pick out and practice the songs they plan on performing at the recital. For many, preforming in front of an audience is a frightful task. It can invoke anxiety and fear in a student when he or she is told they need to perform in front of someone-even in the smallest capacity, such as performing for parents and grandparents. This fear is what is commonly known as “stage fright,” even though a stage doesn’t need to be involved for a student to feel the effects of stage fright. Stage fright is a real psychological issue, but it is completely treatable. The problem is, many people choose to not treat their stage fright and avoid performing altogether. This does not treat stage fright, rather, this makes the fear of speaking or performing in front of people worse. So the best way to treat stage fright is to fight through the fright!
The first thing that people need to know and accept is the fact that experiencing stage fright is a natural part of life. Unfortunately, stage fright will never fully go away. However, you can channel your stage fright so that it does not negatively affect your performance, but rather gives you that competitive edge you need to “wow” your audience with your performance. So here is some things you can do to help you “fight the fright” and face your performance anxiety!
1. Keep Breathing: Although this may seem obvious, it is very important that performers not loose their breath when on stage. No matter what you are doing: singing, acting, playing an instrument, even giving a presentation, breath support is crucial to fighting stage fright. Although you may think you’re an expert on breathing (because obviously we do it every day) you’re probably not. A lot of times, anxiety will affect your breath support. So remember to breath using your diaphragm (the dome-shaped muscle between your lungs and stomach) will help keep your breath smooth and even so the sound of your voice or instrument will not waver when you’re onstage and nervous.
2. It is OK to be Nervous! Understanding that you will be nervous (especially at first) will help so you can concentrate more on how you can channel your fear, rather than be overcome by fear. This will help you work with your anxiety, not against it.
3. Channel you Focus: When you preform, you want people to focus not on how nervous you are, but rather on you and the talent you are demonstrating. For musicians, you want your audience to listen to your music, rather than how nervous you are. This means you need to focus on what you’re doing, rather than how you feel. If you’re singing or playing a song, thing about the emotions that you feel when you sing or play the song alone. Does it make you happy? Does it sound like the writer of the song was sad when he or she wrote it? Instead of suppressing those emotions because you fear what the people in the audience think of you, express them! People fear what their audience thinks of them when they express emotion on stage, but most often, audience members are more entertained when a person does express emotion on stage.
Good luck to all of our performers at Premier Performing Arts Studio! Hopefully this post will help you to “Fight the Fright!”