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Singing Lessons Uncategorized

STAGE FRIGHT: How to fight the fear


You’ve taken the next big step and booked a gig. The date has been set. The venue is arranged. Your friends have been notified and the posters have been made. Not to mention, your parents just told you they want to make the trip from Michigan to watch you perform three songs.  Everything is in place, now you just have to prepare yourself to rise to the occasion.

If you’re a singer who struggles with stage fright, performing can be the sharpest double-edge sword.

What is stage fright?

Stage fright goes beyond the natural jitters that many performers experience and becomes an issue that can impede a singer from giving their best performance. It can manifest itself in many different ways, such as elevated heart rate, dry mouth, shaky or clammy hands, quivering voice, consistent need to clear throat or overall shut-down of memory of lyrics or music.  For a singer, because our instrument is our voice, it can be harder to hide the effects of crippling stage fright to an audience.

If any of this resonates with you, believe it or not-you’re in good company. Some famous singers who struggle with stage fright include:


  • Adele

  • Ell Fitzgerald

  • Barbara Streisand

  • Andrea Bocelli

  • Cher

  • Thom Yorke, of Radiohead

  • Brian Wilson, of the Beach Boys

  • Stevie Nicks


It should give you great hope in knowing that some of the greatest singers of all time have had to work to overcome their fear and in spite of stage fright, were still able to deliver some of the most riveting live performances in history.

What causes stage fright?

Stage fright can be caused by a slew of different factors, but I’d like to discuss these main culprits:


  • Unpreparedness-not being confident in your knowing your material or how well you have practiced.

  • Insecurity- being well prepared, but doubting your ability or your music

  • Intimidation-being afraid of your audience’s critiques

Some other causes include stress, anxiety, perfectionism, and an overall need for control.

Whatever the root cause of stage fright is for you, you need to spend some time to uncover what is really making you afraid. Warning: the process may take some digging around into your past experiences to try and get to the heart of the issue. It may hurt, but it is worth it!

How to combat stage fright

After you’ve come to terms with what you’ve been afraid of , you need to tell fear that you’re not afraid. Fear is robbing you of the joy of performing and connecting with your audience. Remind yourself, the audience is on your side! They are there to see you shine.

Furthermore, in order to combat stage fright you must regain control. And not control in the sense that everything must be perfect and go according to your way with no single note out of place, but control in the sense that you are in the driver’s seat and you are not afraid of the road ahead. Singing Success teaches singers that singing is TEMPS: Technical, Emotional, Mental, Physical, and Spiritual. You must be aware of all of these to deliver your best to your audience. And if fear is controlling you, you are not in control of yourself.

There’s an ancient proverb that reads, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.”

Once you have told fear who’s boss your only focus should be on communicating to your audience the intention and the emotion of the music you will be performing, And if you screw up… so what!! Make a joke, make it cool or pretend like it didn’t even happen. Chances are it was a way bigger deal to you and most people didn’t even notice, and if they did… who cares?! As Brett would say, “You ain’t afraid of them!”

Some other tips:

  1. Sing in front of a mirror. Visualize yourself giving the performance of a lifetime.

  2. Sing for a small group of friends and get some feedback

  3. See if you can have a rehearsal at the venue ahead of time or spend time in the room to get a good sense of your performing space

  4. Invite a close friend whom can give you support throughout the performance

  5. Record yourself in a mock performance from start to finish