Taking the stage and being in front of a group of people can create enough anxiety in some musicians and vocalists to cause them to freeze up or forget what they should be playing or singing. So how do you overcome this rush of emotions that could potentially ruin your live performances? Here are a few tips that won’t eliminate all anxiety, but may help you in developing as a live performer:
1. Focus your anxiety. Being in front of a group of people that is judging you on anything is a daunting feeling, but when it’s work that you created there is a personal attachment to it. Once you realize that these feelings are controllable, you can harness the energy in a positive way and put it into your performance.
2. Practice like you’re onstage. While much of the performance onstage is spontaneous with the crowd reaction, some of the things you do can be rehearsed ahead of time. Opening introductions or cues to start the next song can help ease the musician into a less anxious state of mind. Some bands even have pre-planned jokes amongst each other to not only help calm the nerves but also to ensure a more consistent performance overall.
3. Memorize your lyrics. By knowing your musical parts thoroughly, you’re not reliant on a screen or piece of paper in front of you that can be confusing or add more thought to what your doing. A few notes written down as a reminder of how verses or songs start are fine, but avoid full song lyrics or musical notations in front of you. Drinks can be spilled, fans can blow away notes, and things can get out of order leaving you without the notes your were reliant upon.
4. Sing Karaoke. There is a certain stigma among musicians about karaoke, but it can prepare a vocalist to be in front of a large group of people and help them learn to feed off the crowd. For live performances, those two skills can really make or break the reception from the crowd. Also, even people who cannot sing participate in karaoke, so this can calm the nerves listening to someone else without the skills your singer may have.
5. Have fun. That’s what its all about and should be the goal of every musician performing onstage. When you’re enjoying what your doing, anxiety seems to become less of an issue.
Being onstage is the goal of most musicians trying to make a name for themselves and a little preparation can go a long way in determining how your stage performances will go. What are some ways you have overcame the anxiety of being onstage?