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How to Overcome Stage Fright When Singing (10 Tips)

In Guides for Musicians, Guides for Singers by Jake LLeave a Comment

Stage fright is a very common thing for many performers, especially singers. Performing is a very fun experience, however, it can also be really nervewracking for a lot of people. Everyone has some pre-performance anxiety. For some, it’s more than others, however, it’s possible to overcome it. Here are 10 important tips on how to overcome your stage fright when singing. Make sure to stick around till the end for some bonus tips as well.

1. Be Prepared

Of course, you should already know that being prepared helps with overcoming your stage fright when singing. Practice, practice, practice! Prepare yourself to the point that the songs you need to perform are second nature. The more prepared you are, the less anxious you’ll be when going up on stage. This gives you more of a peace of mind, allowing you to focus on giving your best performance instead of hoping that you perform everything correctly.

Singers performing on stage with their band

As a singer, remembering all of the lyrics is important, but it’s also a good idea to practice the vocal techniques and ranges that you feel needs more work. Being hesitant about any of the songs you are planning to perform is a big indicator that you need to work on something. If the songs are too high, work on being more comfortable with your higher range, or adjust the song accordingly to your vocal capabilities. Strengthen your vocal techniques and practice all of the notes you need to hit.

You also need to be prepared in everything else. Know how to get to the venue and how you’re going set everything up once there. Plan out your outfit for the performance. Figure the order of the songs you want to perform and even some of the actions you’ll be doing on stage. Anything you can do to help you prepare, do it.

2. Visit the Venue

Band's instruments on stage

A great way to help calm down your pre-performance anxieties is to visit the venue you are going to be performing at. It really helps you a lot if you can familiarize yourself with the stage and the rest of the environment. You’ll have an idea of what it’s going to feel like on performance day/night.

Visiting the venue also allows you to start planning how you want to perform, develop an idea of what the limitations are going to be, and even be aware of things to be careful of. A lot of anxiety that leads to stage fright is caused by the unknown. Taking this extra step eliminates one of these unknown factors, allowing you to use more energy on actually preparing for your performance.

3. Being Present


One of the most important tips that will help you overcome your stage fright when singing is becoming more present. Don’t think about what’s going to happen in the future, or what already happened in the past. Focus on the now and react as you go. Being present means you have your focus, attention, thoughts, and feelings all set to the moment you’re currently in.

Accept that you won’t have full control over the situation you’re in, in this case performing on stage. You can, however, have full control in how you’re going to adapt to the situation if you can become present. This does mean you’re going to have to let go of all of your worries. Put all of your energy into the performance and experience the moment that you are creating.

One of the fundamentals in becoming present is centering yourself. This means you’re paying attention to the moment and the experience. A quick and easy way to center yourself is to follow your breath. Bring your attention to your breath, noticing all of the subtleties. Feel your breath whether it’s in your chest or your belly. Just simply watch your breath and try not to alter it in any way. Just let it happen naturally.

It’s a meditative process that you can greatly benefit from. I definitely recommend practicing being present to everyone, especially for singers and other performers. The more you do it, the more present you’ll become in life. And of course, this will translate over to you when you’re performing on stage.

4. Ask Yourself the Right Questions

Question mark on a chalkboard

I love this tip from vocal coach, Ken Taylor. I’ve changed my complete mindset when it comes to performing on stage because of it, helping me overcome my stage fright when singing. We all ask ourselves questions, especially when we are anxious. “What if I mess up on stage?” “Is it possible for me to perform in front of this crowd? “What if they don’t like my voice?”

This kind of negative thinking can definitely affect your confidence on stage and even cause you to feel more anxiety. Well to combat these thoughts, you should instead ask yourself only the right questions. Turn your entire thought process around.

“What if my performance goes perfectly?” “How can I make performing in front of this crowd possible?” “What if they love my voice?” Asking these kinds of questions are more positive. They’ll change your attitude before you go on stage while also making you less anxious. If you practice this advice, you’ll have a more positive point of view that will help you overcome your stage fright when singing on stage.

Check out Key Taylor here:

5. Smile and have Confident Body Posture

Musician on stage looking forward to her future.

When you go on stage, make sure to smile. It does so much for your mood and sets the atmosphere of your performance to be more positive. When you smile, you are naturally relaxed while also relaxing your audience at the same time. You give off more positive energy on stage that can affect everyone’s mood. When your audience feels more at peace, you’ll feel more at peace. Trust me, when the crowd is having fun, you’ll feel even more relaxed, allowing you to focus on giving a good performance.

Just like smiling, going up on stage with confident body posture will help your confidence and make you feel less anxious. The audience can feel what you’re feeling up on stage. If you feel nervous, they’ll feel nervous for you. However, if you feel confident, they’ll be confident in your ability to perform.

A combination of a good smile and confident body posture translates to the crowd that you’re there to give them a good experience.

6. Make Yourself a Pre-performance Ritual

Having your own pre-performance ritual is a great way to get you in the right mood to perform while also calming your nerves. It can be anything you want, as long as it helps you feel prepared. Some performers have breathing exercises they do to calm themselves while others have a routine that hypes them up for the stage. You’re routine could even be your warm-up for the performance.

The more you do your pre-performance ritual, the more accustomed you are to doing it. Everyone’s different so just keep trying out things to see what works and what doesn’t. Just keep in mind that whatever it ends up being, make sure it’s something that encourages positivity for you and others.

For me, I always did vocal warm-ups with everyone in my band, even though not all of us were singers. As we do these warm-ups together, we begin doing the funniest and weirdest sounds with our voices, while incorporating our bodies. Basically, we get as goofy as possible. It helps shake any nerves that we are feeling right before the performance, putting us in a fun mood that we can transfer straight to everyone in the audience. It’s always helped us perform better, especially for me, often being the lead vocalist.

7. Find a Friendly Face in the Crowd

Artist performing in front of crowd

Now, this is a nice helpful tip for when you’re feeling nervous on stage. It can be terribly nerve-wracking looking out to the crowd, seeing all of these faces looking right at you. Performing really puts you at a vulnerable spot because you are being judged by everyone watching. It’s really easy to be intimated by the crowd.

What you can do to help you feel more comfortable when performing is looking for a friendly face in the crowd. Finding that one person can really make a difference in how you look at the audience. A big reason why performers find themselves intimated, is they develop a thought that they’re not welcomed to perform. When you find a friendly face amongst all of the people in the crowd, it’s a lot more encouraging and can change your entire mood. You’ll feel more enthusiastic to perform, having more fun with your performance and the people watching.

8. Develop a Different Persona for the Stage

A really fun tip for overcoming stage fright when singing is creating a different stage persona. This helps you separate your nervous self from a more confident alter ego. Just like actors who portray characters, you’ll act as if you’re a different person on stage. It helps combat the fear of judgment that many singers have. In a sense, the persona you have created is the one who is being judged, not yourself.

You could really go to into deep detail. Give your alter ego a name and think about how they would act on stage based on their personality. Think of how they would talk to their audience while on stage too.

Many performers do this and it works out great for them. Definitely try it out and see if it works for you.

9. Exposure to Performing

Singer performing on stage with a green lit background

Of course, one of the best ways to overcome your stage fright when singing is to get more experience performing. Whether you’re performing in front of a big crowd or just one other person, they’re all experiences that will help you feel more comfortable singing in front of people. Don’t just wait for opportunities to perform in front of people, go out there and create them for yourself.

Perform some songs in front of your friends and family. Go to a Karaoke bar and sing your heart out to complete strangers. You could even use social media platforms such as Instagram to stream live and perform for your followers. Take it step by step and constantly work on your performance abilities. Just like singing, performing is a skill that needs to be practiced. The more experience you get, the more you’ll improve your performance skills.

You’ll develop more confidence in yourself and be more comfortable on stage. Now get out there and practice!

10. Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Person waking up, holding an alarm clock

Getting a good night’s sleep is key to making sure that you are at your best once performance time comes. Performing on stage can be demanding on your body, especially for singers who will find themselves using their vocals for hours at a time. Everybody needs sleep to function, and lack of it can result in you having more anxiety. It goes full circle from there as more anxiety can lead to sleeplessness.

One of the first things to go with sleep loss is cognition, your ability to think and concentrate. It’s hard enough already trying to remember all of the lyrics you need to sing for your performance. Don’t make it harder on yourself by depriving yourself of much-needed sleep.

You definitely want to be on top of your game when you have to perform, regardless if it’s for a big performance or a small one. Get enough sleep the night before so you’ll be energized and ready to give a great performance.

Bonus Tips

Visualize Success

No matter how cliche this may sound, visualize your success on stage. Before you do this, establish what a successful performance would be for you. Visualize what your success on stage might look like and also how it feels. You’ll feel more motivated than anxious as you’re filling your head with positive thoughts instead of negative ones.

I always practice this myself, with everything I do. Whether it’s a big performance or a huge career decision, I try my best to visualize my success. As a very anxious person myself, I find it helps me focus and concentrate on the things that will help me achieve the success I have visualized.

Stay Away From Caffeine and Alcohol

You might get the urge to drink caffeine for more energy, or alcohol to loosen up before you perform, however, they can both lead to more anxiety. When consuming caffeine, your body stimulates sensations that mimic anxiety. Caffeine increases your heart rate, your rate of breathing, and heats up your body. All of this can trigger more anxiousness because your mind relates these sensations to anxiety.

Drinking alcohol is also not a good idea before you perform, especially if you have issues of stage fright. Having a drink from time to time is not the end of the world, but drinking to cope with your anxiety is a bad idea. While it can relax you at times, there’s a chance that you’ll become more reliant on performing with alcohol. In the long run, you’ll be worst off as your anxiety might significantly increase if you try to perform without consuming any alcoholic drinks. Definitely not the pre-performance ritual you want to create for yourself.

Final Thoughts

Everyone experiences stage fright, some more than others. It’s all part of being a performer. Remember that having stage fright isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it means that you care about how your performance is going to be. Hopefully, these tips will help you overcome your stage fright when singing.

We never fully get rid of our stage fright and pre-performance anxieties, we just get better at controlling it.

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