Saturday, March 27, 2004
STAGE FRIGHT ?
Yesterday, a Fotolog friend left a comment under this shot of me singing in public. She commented "I would love to get on stage and sing, but I suffer a little of stage fright." It's really frustrating being that way", she added.
I think that "stage fright" is not quite the right name it. The understandable and natural nervousness people feel about going up in front of people to speak or sing , happens when you are thinking about going on in public, to act, speak, or sing and not, normally when you actually set foot on stage and start doing your thing ( a time when it nearly always disappears.) Rehearsing, preparing and keeping a positive mind set all help to control these naturally occurring feelings.
I suffered from "stage fright" three times at the beginning. ( It doesn't affect me at all now .)
I got really nervous the first two occasions when I sang in public in the big and packed Manchester pub . Maybe it was the adrenalin thing, the way fear naturally prepares you when you feel under pressure but there are lots of ways to control it.
I had never sung into a microphone before, and that was a lot to do with it , but once up there, even though I made a few mistakes, fluffed a word or two and the odd guitar chord, the actual performance wasn't difficult and was well received.
Another part of it was this personal problem I have when I sing in front of people. I dread forgetting the words and I solved that one simply by having a music stand in front of me with the lyrics there to refer to!
The other occasion was in front of the school, my colleagues and parents at a Christmas concert. Lou Reed?s lovely , laid back "Perfect Day" was number one in the charts that Christmas and I agreed to sing it. I was completely confident I could do a good job of the song, but as I got into the second verse, my right leg started to "turn to jelly." But I sang through it and it went down really well. Of course no one but me noticed the trembling leg ! ( Later I learned why many singers tap their feet in the rhythm of the song they are doing ? and if ever I got jelly leg again, simply tapping the rhythm with your foot makes it disappear instantly !!
One of the key things to know, I think, is that no matter how you feel , even if you are incredibly nervous, the audience will hardly even notice it . Your experience of it is direct and personal and thus exaggerated so , actually, only you know you are uncomfortable. Accept the feeling and use it in a positive way.
I actually think that most people can sing and have a pretty good voice, ( all unique voices too ) and even with someone with a modest voice , there is something endearing to listeners about an evidently modest person, having the courage to get up and just go for it. I think we are always inclined to be far more critical of ourselves than those who are out there listening.
Personally too , I think you need to be aware of your vocal range , not try to be too ambitious, and only sing songs that you can do comfortably without straining or pretending to be someone else.
I only sing songs that suit my voice and in keys I know I can manage. ( I have heard , for example, a string of game wannabees in Karaoke evenings , murdering that song from the Titanic. That wasn't because those people couldn't sing, but they were trying to do a Celine Dion when their own voices just couldn't manage the song in the original key. Maybe people don't realise, but the music to songs is carefully tailored and set in a key where an individual artist can get the maximum out of their voice. If you don't have a similar vocal range, it will be impossible for you to do justice to the song )
I think that if you have an ambition to get up and sing, take the chance and just do it. There are lots of informal venues and groups where you can give it a try. The more often you do it the easier it gets and you learn things as you go along.
Here is one of many web pages with some strategies for dealing with so called "stage fright."
STAGE FRIGHT STRATEGIES
johncoxon 4:37 PM - [Link] - Comments ()