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Get Over Stage Fright: Enroll in a Group Class

Or any group setting that requires you to perform in front of people

group music lesson

One of the best ways to get over stage fright is to put yourself in performance-like situations over and over. Remember the first time you ever drove a car? The first day you took on a new job? If you’re anything like the majority of people, you were nervous, maybe exhilarated, and totally out of your element. But as time wore on, you became more and more comfortable, until driving, or going to work, or whatever it was, became routine.

People seem to have this misconception that just because they can comfortably sing a song in front of their 5’2″, soft-spoken vocal coach, in a tiny, well-lit room, they should be able to go out and perform on a massive stage, in front of hundreds of strangers. Ridiculous. Just like you need time and experience to get accustomed to pretty much anything else, you need time and experience to get accustomed to performing in front of people. And so, “there’s nothing to it, but to do it.” But that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to always perform in situations where you feel like your reputation is at stake. That’s where group classes come in.

Group classes occupy a zone somewhere between a comfy, cozy private lesson, and a full-blown recital. In group classes, your peers scrutinize you, but also expect you to make mistakes. One of my prerequisites as a music major in college was a series of group musicianship classes. They were practical skills classes in which I had to master everything from sight-singing, to conducting, to rhythm drills, to daunting chord progressions on the piano in every key. By far, the most valuable aspect of that class was not any one individual musical skill I developed, but the fact that I had to develop all these skills in the presence of other people.

Was it daunting at first? Of course. Did I get used to screwing up in front of 15 people after a semester of doing it everyday? Of course. True, group classes weren’t as nerve-wracking as performing under the spotlight, but they provided a sorely-needed bridge between the temperate private studio and the tempestuous stage.

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