Stage fright, or fear of public performance, is a natural and normal phenomenon that, at one point or another afflicts almost everyone, including (surprisingly!) professional singers, experienced teachers and speakers. Although most of them still feel uncomfortable before going on stage, these people have developed skills to overcome stage fright and to manage their feelings.
Psychologists define stage fright as a fear of being put to shame in public, because our reputation and self-image (that we have been building over the years) is at stake when we perform in front of others. We fear that even one “gaffe” in front of other people will ruin our efforts. Stage fright symptoms include dry lips and throat, butterflies in the stomach, heart beating rapidly, sweating, quavering voice…As if this was not enough, these symptoms are often followed by additional fear that other people will notice how anxious we are, which makes us even more anxious.
Different authors give useful advice on how to deal with performance anxiety:
> Accept that you are not perfect, and that you will never be; however, remember that your performance is a precious and useful gift from you to other people
> people forget mistakes, especially in case of beginners – no one will remember your trembling voice in few days
> Prepare well for each public performance – the more effort you put into something, the more self-esteem you have (and less stage fright)
> Do not avoid performing in public – on the contrary; people with more experience have higher self-esteem, and less performance anxiety
You could have noticed by now that one of the key words in fighting stage fright is – self-esteem. Singing, especially by using the “School of Uncovering of the Voice” method, can reveal your strengths and potentials, and help you to deal with your weaknesses by finding new solutions. Your self-esteem, the same as your voice, is within you. And by freeing your voice, you are actually freeing yourself. You reveal a part of yourself you thought was not developed, or did not even exist. Singing helps you to express yourself, find your hidden abilities and enjoy them. It literally helps you not only on the physical level – by improving your posture (and therefore looks) but it brings you joy and makes mental obstacles easier to overcome. The change you voice encounters by being more stable and strong reflects in you being more confident.
If you are still not convinced about the power of singing in fighting stage fright, you should come to one of my seminars and see it yourself.
I believe that you will almost easily find strength to sing in front of others even if you are certain you have no voice and that your singing in public would be the beginning of the end. However, instead of failure you are going to encounter experience that might change your opinion of yourself.