How to overcome stage fright: Part One - Get your body ready!

Dear singers,

I want to talk about stage fright today. When you go up on stage, your heart palpitates rapidly, your palms sweat, your throat gets dry, you feel disoriented, and suddenly you can't remember the first line of the song you practiced precisely 230 times. Yes, that panicked feeling. You end up leaving the stage utterly crushed. Then, you hear faint claps from the front of the audience seats. You turn to see who's clapping, your grandmother and your 5-year-old nephew. 

I didn't mean to take the whole experience lightly. Nor I can claim to have found an easy way out of the dreadful moment. But I want to be helpful. So what can I do to help you to feel less uneasy? I genuinely wish you fulfilled your dream of becoming a successful, confident singer.  

The good news is that there are many ways to deal with stage fright. First, however, you must figure out which type of stage fright sufferer you are. The more I studied various cases of stage fright, I discovered that the causes of such mental state vary depending on the person and the situation. So I decided to make this topic a series. Today is part one.

Part one - your body is not ready.

If you visit my previous YouTube video titled 3 Essential Elements of Good Singing, you will understand how important to master them. I will list here:

1. Diaphragmatic breathing

2. Open, relaxed throat

3. Pinpointing resonance

If you know what I am talking about immediately, congratulations, you passed the preliminary quiz before the physical test! And I mean merely a paper quiz. Can you breathe from the diaphragm, open your throat, and pinpoint where you feel resonance?

Even those who seem to acquire natural singing talent have been accumulating an incredible amount of time practicing, experimenting, and analyzing, perhaps since their childhood. It's more like practicing to be a baseball player or basketball player. They practice swinging the bat or throwing the ball into a hoop for countless hours. It becomes their obsession. They do that until their bodies begin to do amazing things at their command. It's magical from the spectators' vantage point, but it's simply a fruit of labor and commitment for the player. 

So when you go up on stage, can you put your body on auto-pilot? For example, when you open your mouth to sing the anthemic tune "My Heart Will Go On," is your core muscle firming up and your throat relaxed? 

Do you hear your first note already while listening to the intro? If not, beware; the first syllable of the song starts with "Every night in my dream." It begins with an awkward "Eh" vowel. Can you create a beautifully open sound? Did you learn not to squish the vowel and not to sound like a goat belching? (goat sound?)

First, before you envision conquering the entire album of Celine Dion, you should be able to master the three elements I listed above. Only then will you sing beautifully despite your mind being still in turmoil. After that, the body will run the show for you. 

In conclusion, I advise you to take the same approach most serious athletes commit themselves to. You take secret joy in knowing that your training is taking effect. What others say doesn't matter while you are working on the basics. You can participate in open mics or any form of performance to test if you possess reasonable physical control. You may be able to deal with your nervousness if your aim is in the right place. Not applause, not yet, but quiet reassurance to yourself. Thunderous applause will come in the future. You don't want to be a fly-by-night singer, do you? Instead, you can be someone people will remember and listen to for decades. 

Some of you say, "yep, it was my problem, lack of physical training." However, some of you may say, "Ok, I did everything possible. Yet, I still get gripped by this inexplicable fear and feel like tumbling down onto the orchestra pit."  

In part two of my "How to overcome stage fright," I will discuss the need for mental awareness. See you again then, beautiful singers! 

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