Getting up on stage can be scary for any new musician, but the feelings of anxiety can be even more intense if you consider yourself on the quiet side. So how can a shy singer survive? Before you relegate yourself to the audience for the rest of your life, know that many timid musicians have made a name for themselves – Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan and Carly Simon, to name a few, have all dealt with anxiety or shyness off-stage. The good news is that there are ways to train yourself to become a confident, energetic performer even when you’re battling nerves. Here are a few things to keep in mind to keep your spirits up:
1) Focus on positive feedback. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that we’re doing awesome. We all have different reasons for feeling timid, and fear of rejection or critique is a common one. So when you receive praise from others, don’t brush it off. Remember their feedback, and remind yourself of it before your next performance. Working with a private voice teacher is also important; find an instructor who balances helpful feedback with positive praise, and be honest with him or her about your fears. You and your teacher can work together to find exercises for stage presence and stage fright that help calm your nerves.
2. Amp up your experience. You spend hours, weeks, months preparing a piece before it sounds perfect, right? Same idea can be applied to performing. The first time you get up in front of a crowd may feel overwhelming, but the more you do it, the easier it will become over time – trust us! (Not sure where to start? Check out this list of low-key performance opportunities to build stage confidence.) Of course, this doesn’t mean rushing into performing, either. If you’re simply not ready to take it to that step, don’t force yourself. In the meantime, try joining a choir to get experience without the center-stage pressure.
3. Don’t forget the basics. When you’re shaking in your boots, it can be all too easy to completely forget the basics, such as proper breathing and good posture. For some singers, it can help to write down simple things to remember, and review the list before going on stage. Take a deep breath, feel free to take a few moments after you’ve situated yourself on stage (no need to rush!), and fill your mind with positive thoughts. Above all, don’t forget why you enjoy singing. Sharing your passion with an audience can be a very rewarding experience – and remembering that passion can often mask any signs of nerves.