Are you an aspiring artist, but find that singing in front of an audience fills you with dread and fear? If so, you’re not alone. Many other singers feel this way too.
You don’t have to tolerate extreme anxiety or stage fright. Learn how to deal with nerves as a singer and you’ll be able to enjoy performances and singing auditions. Plus you’ll develop the ability to get any shaking or knocking of knees under control.
In this article, we’ll be revealing six ways to calm nerves before an audition and overcome anxieties about performing in front of others.
How to deal with nerves as a singer
Nerves can cause us to feel anxious and create responses in our bodies like shaking and sweating. Fortunately, there are ways to manage these reactions and help you become calmer and more relaxed when singing in public.
The best way to prevent nerves is to be confident in the first place, having practised and performed so many times that its second nature. This will reduce the number of things that can go wrong. More performance is the best way to build confidence and can help when learning how to deal with nerves.
How can I sing when nervous?
When you’re new to singing in front of an audience, you may find it easier to perform to friends, at Open Mic nights, or even film yourself. This enables you to ask for feedback first and positively analyse your performance. This can help build your confidence and encourage you to believe in yourself.
Nerves before a singing audition
But how do you deal with nerves as a singer in the meantime, while you build up stage experience? And what if you’re still nervous after years of performing?
We have plenty of tips to help you out before your audition.
1. Visualise your performance beforehand
Visualise your performance and go through it step by step. Begin by thinking about heading down from the dressing room and follow it through to going on stage and hitting those first notes. Imagine it going really well and the crowd going wild at the end. Picture yourself loving it and being as cool as a cucumber! The mind is incredibly powerful and visualising things going well actually increases their chances of going well in reality too.
How to get over a fear of singing in front of others
Auditions often cause more nerves than any other kind of performance. This is because there’s a sense of being judged. But it’s important to bear in mind that the panel are human beings who are on your side and want you to do well. They even experience nerves themselves.
2. Call a friend
Who better to help you learn how to deal with nerves than your friends and family? It can help to talk over your issues and normalise and rationalise them. Plus, having a laugh helps in more ways than one. A hearty laugh fires up and cools down the bodies stress response. In a similar way to exercise, laughter can cause a temporary increased heart rate and blood pressure which can lead to a state of relaxation.
One of the best tips for knowing how to deal with nerves is to be surrounded by positivity.
How do I calm my nerves before singing?
It’s not only what you think and the actions you take that affects the nervous response, what you put into your body can impact and aggravate it too.
3. Skip the coffee or coke
Avoid caffeine as it can enhance anxiety. This includes coffee, energy drinks, tea and coke. Instead, try drinking herbal tea or some lukewarm water. Ice cold or boiling hot water can shock your vocal cords and make them close up. Anything sugary is a bad idea too as this can cause an energy spike and drop which stresses the nervous system.
How to stop your voice from shaking when singing
When you’re afraid your body reacts with a ‘fight or flight’ response. This sends adrenaline surging through your body. That was all well and good for our ancient ancestors whose fear responses were based on being chased by a sabre tooth tiger. But these days our fears are usually far less founded. And in the case of singing, we’re never in any danger. So we need to either stop this response in its tracks or do something else with that excess adrenaline…
4. Walk away nervous energy
Walking for just ten minutes is a top tip for how to deal with nerves. Studies have shown that walking can help spark nerve senses in the brain to relax the senses. You may be wary of doing any physical activity before an event you are nervous about, but taking a ten-minute walk even an hour before the event can help you feel more at ease. And if you do it before a show, you’ll burn off that adrenaline.
How to not be nervous when singing a solo
Performing by yourself for the first time can be daunting. Fortunately, there are many techniques that are perfect to get your body and mind relaxed and ready to show what you can do.
For some people, meditation can play a big part in how to deal with nerves but it takes some practice. Find yourself a quiet spot, preferably away from other people and sit or lie in a comfortable position. Close your eyes or focus your gaze on the floor and focus on your breathing. Feel the air fill your lungs and inhale and exhale to the count of three. Whilst in meditation mode, it’s important to let thoughts pass through your mind without judgement.
Remember, we are working on how to deal with nerves here, try not to distract yourself with unnecessary thoughts. When you are finished meditating, after a minimum of ten minutes, open your eyes slowly and take your time returning to normality. It can make you feel very relaxed if done correctly.
Meditating by yourself can be tricky at first. Try a guided meditation such as this one:
Tips for shy singers
Listening to music before a gig or audition can be great if you’re shy. Take earphones and you can immerse yourself in your own world, focus on the job in hand and skip the small talk. Afterwards the show you’ll likely feel more confident and relaxed to engage with other performers.
6. Listen to music
Performing music may bring about nervous feelings. But did you know that music itself is actually a great way to combat these feelings? Learn how to deal with nerves by listening to music especially classical and jazz music which has been proven to lower heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormone levels. Take a look at the Calm Vibes playlist on Spotify.
Remember that nerves are perfectly natural and they can sometimes add an edge to your performance. But it’s when they take over that you must remind yourself that you’re in control. Follow our tips for how to deal with nerves as a singer and you’ll be able to keep them in check, look forward to singing and have fun on stage.
- Does singing help anxiety?
While performing in front of others may raise your adrenaline levels and cause nervous feelings, the physical act of singing is proven to calm the nervous system. This means that longer-term you suffer less from anxiety, experience lower blood pressure and a healthy heart rate.
- Why am I afraid to sing in front of others?
Perhaps you had a bad experience in the past when doing something that made you feel vulnerable. Or perhaps you’re shy and unused to the feeling of having an audience. Beginning with a choir or as part of a singing group may help.
- Do singers get nervous before concerts?
Yes. Even very famous and successful singers like Adele, Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion who play massive venues have spoken about crippling stage fright. Pre-show jitters are commonplace for almost every singer.
How do you deal with nerves as a singer? Do you have any tips for staying cool, calm and collected? Let us know in the comments section.