Tips and Tricks to Deal with Stage Fright
Stage Fright is something that even the most experienced performers deal with from time to time, so whether this is your performing debut or you are an old pro, here are some tips and tricks to keep those nerves in check!
Stage fright is different in each person and can even change within a person in each scenario. It can come as butterflies in your tummy, cold and/ or clammy hands, a dry “cotton” like mouth, shaking hands or legs, a pounding heart, puking, crying, jitters, or all of the above. You might even get weak in the knees or feel as though your mind has completely gone black and you just can’t remember anything you were supposed to! (Don’t worry you actually know them you are just nervous… so lets work through those!)
Whether you have a severe or mild case, stage fright can be very upsetting to the performer. However, it is important to know that it is a chemical reaction within your body. This is a result of adrenaline, a chemical you body releases when you get excited, nervous, or scared. It is PERFECTLY NORMAL to feel this way! So how do you conquer this?
#1: Control your Thoughts:
Remind yourself that you are well prepared. You have had plenty of rehearsals and you have done very well during these rehearsals. Therefore you know your lyrics, moves, lines, choreography, and they are in your memory. Also the audience is CHEERING for you! They are on YOUR side! Honestly, they don’t mind if you mess up. Remember the audience doesn’t know your part, so if you happen to mess up just make it look natural and ‘cover’ your mistake, get back on track, and go on like nothing happened. So, if that is the worst thing that can happen, you will be okay!
Breathing is extremely important to relaxation and concentration. Concentrate on your body while you breathe.What is your body doing and how is it moving? Just feel your breathing. Breathe slowly in and out. (Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 2 counts, breathe out for 4 counts) Keep doing this for several moments. This is the most successful way to slow your heart rate and calm your nerves. Just concentrate on the breathing and nothing else.
#3: Vocal Exercises:
Start with facial warm ups. (Squeeze your face, then release it; make a silly face, then release it.)
Then do some tongue twisters. These allow your brain to focus on something else, plus it warms your vocal chords if you have any talking to do. (She sells seashells down by the sea shore; knick knack paddy whack; Lahh bay dahh may knee poe too; Unique New York; Peter Piper picked a peck of picked peppers; good blood, bad blood)
#4: Physical Exercises:
Stretch your body. Reach up to the sky and reach down to your toes. (Jog in place, go swimming, or jumping jacks) You want to feel relaxed and alert so do not do anything physical that might exhaust or make you tired. (Make sure you never do anything that might injure yourself)
#5: Relax and Focus:
Breathe and keep your mind quiet. Think about peaceful images or places. Take yourself to a comfortable place, lay down and visualize going to the beach, walking in the sand at sunset, and collecting sea shells. Hear the waves and the calm… etc. This is your visualization so it can be anything you want it to be as long as it is calming.
#6: Direct to Audience:
Some people find it helpful to think about their friends and family in the audience. SOME people find this comforting and calming. (There are others that this will not work on at all)
#7: Object Play:
Bring an object that will help you relax. I have a smooth rock that is calming. I focus on the feel of the rock, the smoothness, the color, etc. This is probably the most calming exercise for many people.
#8: Pressure Release:
If you make a triangle with your hands and stare right in the center of your triangle as you push against a wall with all your might combines #4 and #5 at the same time.
#8: Focus Breakers:
Sometime it is nice to bring something that is going to take your mind away from worrying. I love this one if you know you are going to be sitting for awhile waiting to go on stage. Bring something to draw with, read, listen to music, sing, study, play, etc. whatever you would do to release stress at home bring with you.
These are tips and tricks not a cure all. Some you will find will work better then others and some might not work for you at all. But anything thing that can help going into a stressful weekend is one thing more than you had!
We are all cheering for you! Enjoy the experience!