In our last Get Over Stage Fright post, we discussed some ways to combat the physical symptoms of stage fright. Today, we’re going to focus on some more internal ways of coping with stage fright.
Play a Character
In a Musical or Opera
Instead of going up to sing or play a song as your own terrified self, go up there and be someone else! If you’re singing a song from a musical or an aria from an opera, figure out what your back story is and be that character. Are you Eponine, lamenting the romance that will never be in “On My Own”? Are you a little orphan who keeps up her emotional strength by looking forward to the future, in “Tomorrow”? If you’re immersed in the world of these characters, you’re going to be less focused on nerves. Will this completely get rid of your stage fright? Probably not, but it’ll at least give you something to focus on besides what other people are thinking of your performance.
Singing a Pop Song
Creating a character may be a little more challenging when you’re singing commercial music, but it can be just as effective. What kind of character would sing your song? A diva with a big powerful voice, all blinged out, who’d use the stage as her catwalk? A world-weary lounge singer in a smoky club? A teen-next-store more comfortable in jeans and tennis shoes than heels and a tight skirt? A singer-songwriter sharing the intimate details of his life with a small crowd in a coffee house? All of these characters can take you away from your own nervous emotions and help make you into someone more comfortable singing your song in public.
Everyone Plays a Role, and You Should, Too
Everyone plays a role, even if it doesn’t feel like it from the audience’s perspective. Do you think Adele is agonizing over an ex-lover every single time she performs “Someone Like You”? Man, I sure hope not. It’s more likely that she’s playing the role of her formerly jilted self. This isn’t to say that she can no longer call up any genuine emotion for the song. All great performers to some degree draw from real emotion and experience.
Next time you’re going to perform in public, figure out who might be performing your song and try inhabiting that role. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish.