15 ways to help overcome performance anxiety
Last night I was at a party and someone mentioned they watched the Darren Espanto and Lyca Gairanod Sydney concert. They were the winners of the Voice Philippines. She was amazed on how wonderful Darren and Lyca took to the stage and interacted with the audience. I agreed with her 100%. What you see is a product of hours of rehearsing, touring and full time work. There is no doubt that if a child has the opportunity to live, breathe and work in a performing environment they will soar and stand out on stage- especially when they had the vocal ability, stage presence and DRIVE in the first place. That is their job… they are to sing the same songs, the same patter every night at every show as well as every media appearance.
Lyca, only 10 years old, captured the audience with her wonderful personality, it was amusing to see her personality shine through whist telling jokes and leaving the audience wanting more. Darren had a Voice that was so powerful and agile. A very humble and charming 14-year-old boy who originally came from Canada.
I always tell the kids I teach to expect the unexpected. Always be prepared for microphones to not work or blocking needing to be changed due to uncontrollable circumstances.
One Voice consisted of Jade Lee ,Charlize Santos,Jared Lesaca, Jill Gutierrez, Lorenz Garcia, Olivia Bosworth, Jessica Jerusalem, Elouise Kalixte Pelaez, Imarosa Kei Tungul, Kaitryel Pelaez, Khristienne Ison , Joy Laquian, Angelo Marasigan. They shared the support act with 7 wonderful local talents that night. Mikee Anne de Leon, Dani de Leon, Chelsea Castillo, Jasmine Montemayor Henry, Danikka and Daniela Vassallo and Chantelle Santos.
So the unexpected did happen where microphones didn’t work and luckily one performer was professional enough to keep going. She belted out the song and the audience cheered for her because they supported her courageous act to keep singing.
An accumulation of these events can make any performer (budding or seasoned) anxious.
Anxiety can come in a few forms:
- Sweaty Palms
- Dry mouth
- Shallow fast breathing
- Inability to move on the stage
Here are 15 ways to overcome these anxiety attacks before a show.
1. Make sure you have perfectly practiced before the show. Go over the songs and know your lyrics inside out before you hit the stage
2. Get a Vocal Coach to help you with problem areas and to make sure the song in the right key for you. Do not rely on just your lessons to practice; you must do the hard work at home too.
3. Do the movements that you have gone over with your coach, trust that you will be fine. Your coach makes you practice the moves so that when stage fright occurs you do the moves that you have been working on in class without having to think about them, it should come second nature. When you feel comfortable on stage that is when you can allow yourself to adlib. But when in doubt always go back to what you have been practicing or working on with your coach. Also practice how you will introduce your songs or interact with the audience.
4. Use the iPad, recording device or your phone to record your rehearsal performance, moves and facial expression. Watch it back (even if it’s painful) notice what is working and fix what is not.
5. Visualize the moves, the way you would love to sound like, your look (costume, hair) in your head every night before the concert. Visualize even the audience members- picture your friends and family in the audience happily supporting you.
6. Make sure you find out what the stage looks like before hand and do your research. Does it have stairs, does it have backstage curtains, where will you enter and exit, will you have a cordless microphone or chorded microphone, will someone be handing the microphone to you. Will you be handing the microphone to someone after your song?
7. Do not wear clothes that make you feel uncomfortable – make sure your shoes and clothes are comfortable to move in and that make you feel like a star.
8. Use essential oils. Marv Johnson, the essential oil educator has four recommendations to ease anxiety and to calm the nerves before a performance. Marv’s podcast is one of my favourite podcasts I listen to. You can see why here: The essential oil podcast.
- First is Frankincense: It is very calming to the nervous system. Put a couple of drops in your hands, rub together gently, cup and inhale. Three to five deep breaths have a quick and instant effect. Then gently massage on the back of the neck.
- Second is Lavender: Studies have shown that the inhalation of lavender oil can communicate signals to the olfactory system and stimulate the brain to exert neurotransmitters (e.g. serotonin and dopamine) thereby further regulating mood.
- The third is Wild Orange essential oil. Wild orange creates both a sense of calm and alertness. Put a couple of drops in your hands, rub together gently, cup and inhale. Three to five deep breaths have a quick and instant effect. Then gently massage on the back of the neck.
- Marv personally likes peppermint oil because it is a stimulant and typically when he feels fear and he gets subdued. The peppermint oil stimulates the oxygen flow to the brain providing a sense of sharpness and confidence.
9. Exhaling out and inhaling deeply will help.
10. If you feel that you have lack of energy a few star jumps to wake you up.
11. Drink plenty of water, at least 20 minutes before a performance to keep you hydrated.
12. If you have a dry mouth slightly and gently bite on your tongue to release saliva.
13. Do your vocal warm ups– general rule is to do a long warm up for a short set and a short warm up for a long set.
14. Talk to a friend or family member if that calms you down. Give them a hug or high five and SMILE…. remember that its just fun!
15. Also something that I always do before a show or when my students have a concert is Pray. Giving gratitude to God or to the universe makes a big difference. The best part is when we all hold hands and one of the students leads the prayers. It really makes me feel alive and grateful to know that we are making a difference in a child’s life one song at a time.
Hope this helps! If you want more Vocal tips and learn how you can sing on stage with the stars please sign up to our newsletter.
Musically yours Tina
P.S.S I have a few private lessons slots available for term 2. Please contact me if you would like me to mentor you, I would love to meet you and work with you or your child.