Remember how you felt that very first time you had to get up and perform in front of a bunch of strangers?
You know, that queasy, acid-reflux, loosening of the bowels, the room is spinning, I think I’m going to throw up kind of discomfort that makes you want to either become invisible or simply run away as fast as you can before it’s your turn to step into the light.
A little bit of stage fright or butterflies is actually a good thing. It means you’re excited. You’re getting your engines revved up so you can take off and fly in the face of fear. But sometimes that fear can be so overwhelming it forces you to crash, sputter or never even leave the wings.
Enter The Acting Coach
Years ago I can a wonderful acting coach in L.A. His name was Sal Dano and he was so New York Italian he probably had pure pesto sauce pulsing through his veins. His advice for an actor facing nerves was to focus on your intention. In other words what was your character’s motivation in a particular scene. Knowing your reason for being on stage can help you to maintain control and focus.
Devon O’Day is quite comfortable behind the microphone as a popular voice-over talent and as an on air radio personality. But as a singer stage fright for Devon had been another issue altogether, but her method for coping resonates with the advice from Dano.
“I have never been very good at this, but when faced with the need to be on stage and the fear of passing out in front of an audience…I began creating a character,” Devon said. “I learned early on that if I was in a school theatre production, the character I played could do anything the character required. While I got scared, the character didn’t. So, I created a ‘stage’ singer who could do the show. It’s really just a little mental game. But then so is stage fright. I’ve heard that you can also imagine the audience in their underwear, but that was scarier than them being clothed. So, I depend on my alter-ego to do the stage stuff.”
Use your imagination. Engage your creativity. Find new colors and character in your voice that can feed off the nerves and use it to energize your performance. Look for the reason behind each song you sing. Let that reason for the song help push past the nerves to deliver its message. As you work through each lesson to strengthen your voice find ways to stronger connections to the material you sing. Strengthen that bond between your unique voice and the reason you can deliver its message like nobody else.