Do the words “live performing” send chills down your spine? If so, you’re not alone. Many performers suffer from nerves on stage, resulting in a lack of confidence and a poor performance. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right preparation and mindset, you can conquer your nerves and perform live with confidence. In this blog post, we’ll share seven tips to help you overcome your fear of performing live.
1) Understand Your Nerves
When it comes to performing live, it's easy to get overwhelmed by nerves. But the key to getting over them is to understand why you feel this way. Nerves are a sign that you care deeply about your performance and want to do your best. Instead of viewing them as something to be avoided, use them to your advantage.
One way to do this is to recognize what triggers these nerves for you. Is it the thought of playing in front of a crowd? Or does it start when you begin songwriting or rehearsing for your performance? It could even be a combination of all these things. Once you identify the source of your nerves, you can work on developing strategies for dealing with them.
If the thought of performing music brings up these anxious feelings, taking lessons can be helpful. Whether it’s guitar lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, vocal lessons, or singing lessons, instruction can help you feel more confident in your craft and better prepared for performance. Songwriting can also help you make peace with any anxieties since writing out your ideas allows you to tap into creative processes that don't rely on an audience. Even if you don't like sharing your lyrics, writing them down can give you an opportunity to consider the message behind each piece without having to worry about criticism. Plus, talking through songs you've written helps make lyrics come alive, increasing engagement during performances. Of course, if singing lessons are accessible to you then they can greatly benefit both songwriting and actual performances alike. Having someone who knows how to move past performance anxieties to properly belt out tunes will prove invaluable.
When performing, nerves can cause us to become short of breath. To help combat this feeling of not being able to take in enough air, practice deep breathing exercises. Start by breathing in for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four. Make sure your breath is coming from your diaphragm and not your chest. This will help you gain control of your breath and keep it consistent throughout your performance.
If you have difficulty with this exercise, consider taking guitar lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, vocal lessons or singing lessons to further improve your breath control. Working with an instructor can help you understand your breathing and create a breathing routine tailored to your performance. For example, a singer might use their singing lessons to work on regular warmups that include specific breathing exercises designed to increase the singer’s lung capacity. Similarly, a guitarist might use guitar lessons to learn techniques such as circular breathing and apnea that are used to sustain notes while playing the instrument. Piano players could use their piano lessons to practice their arpeggios while paying special attention to their timing when they breathe while playing. Drummers may use their drum lessons to focus on their ability to stay relaxed while controlling the tempo at which they play each beat. Vocalists may use vocal lessons to develop more efficient breathing techniques that allow them to hold longer notes without running out of breath. With the right instruction, these students can learn proper techniques that will make them more confident when performing live.
3) Relax Your Body
One of the best ways to manage your nerves when performing live is to make sure your body is relaxed. Take some time before the performance to do some gentle stretches or deep breathing exercises. Before taking the stage, try tensing and releasing your muscles one at a time, starting with your feet and working up to your neck and head. You can also find some helpful yoga poses or other relaxation techniques online or with a teacher such as a yoga or singing instructor.
In addition to physical relaxation, it can be helpful to practice relaxation techniques that you may have learned in guitar lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, vocal lessons, or singing lessons. Practicing deep breathing, imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation can all be beneficial when trying to relax before a performance. These skills will not only help you reduce your anxiety, but they can also be used to improve your focus and confidence during your performance. For example, if you are having trouble remembering lyrics during a song, take a few moments to pause and take some deep breaths in order to bring yourself back into the moment. During guitar lessons, learn how to keep time by counting out loud or tapping on the strings, which can help ground you when playing live. If you’ve had piano lessons, practice visualizing yourself playing each note and chord without making any mistakes. Likewise, if you’ve had drum lessons, imagine yourself playing complex rhythms without error. Taking vocal lessons? Picture yourself hitting all the right notes without straining your voice. Finally, those who’ve taken singing lessons can use their breath support technique to ensure their vocals remain consistent throughout their performance.
4) Visualize Success
When it comes to performing live, visualizing success is a great way to help get over your nerves. Before your performance, take a few moments to imagine yourself succeeding. Think about how the audience will be responding and feel the positive emotions that come with it. Visualize what you will be doing on stage, whether it's playing the guitar, piano, drums, or singing. Imagine feeling confident in your abilities and delivering a flawless performance.
This mental practice can help you to remember why you took lessons in the first place and gain confidence in your skills. If you're a singer or musician, think back to when you took vocal lessons or guitar lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons or singing lessons. Remember the hard work you put in and remind yourself of the progress you have made. When you believe in yourself and know that you are capable of delivering a great performance, it can be easier to get rid of those butterflies in your stomach. Take some time before your performance to do some light physical warm ups. Practice some basic exercises for musicians like playing scales on the guitar or keyboard, running through rhythms on the drums, or warm up exercises for singers like breathing exercises or humming scales. This will not only help you physically prepare for the show but mentally as well.
When taking vocal lessons, guitar lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, or singing lessons, having the right attitude is essential for making sure that any pre-performance jitters don't affect your performance. Try to focus on enjoying yourself while performing instead of getting wrapped up in worrying about if everything is going right. With some preparation and visualization, as well as a positive attitude, it can be much easier to conquer your nerves when performing live.
5) Get in the Zone
Getting in the zone is a great way to get over nerves when performing live. It is a mindset that helps you focus on the task at hand and let go of any anxieties or worries. To get in the zone, start by focusing on your breath. Take slow, deep breaths to help bring your awareness to the present moment and away from any pre-performance jitters.
Another helpful tip is to practice your instrument or singing. If you take guitar lessons, practice your songs. If you take piano lessons, practice the pieces you’ll be playing. And if you take drum lessons or vocal lessons, practice until you can perform the music with ease. This will help give you confidence and the ability to focus on the music rather than the performance itself.
Once you’ve mastered your instrument or singing, it’s time to focus on the performance. Visualize yourself playing or singing successfully. Imagine how it will feel and look when you hit all the notes or strum each chord perfectly. By doing this, you will help get into a state of flow so that when you step on stage, you’ll be ready to give an amazing performance.
6) Believe in Yourself
When it comes to performing live, it can be difficult to remain confident in yourself and your ability to succeed. It’s normal to feel a bit nervous, but it’s important that you trust in yourself and your preparation leading up to the show. If you’ve been taking guitar lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, vocal lessons, singing lessons or any other type of music lesson, you should feel proud of all the hard work you’ve put in and use it as a boost for your confidence. Be proud of all the progress you’ve made and how far you’ve come. Believe in yourself and your ability to perform well. Remind yourself why you chose to take this journey in the first place. Tell yourself that you’re prepared, capable, and ready to show the audience your talent. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun! Sure, there's some pressure involved when you're up on stage in front of people, but try not to think about it too much and just enjoy the moment. Having taken guitar lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, vocal lessons, and singing lessons will make you more comfortable with being on stage and better able to handle any mistakes that might occur during the performance. The more time spent on practice will help build up your confidence on stage so remind yourself of the hours you've devoted to perfecting your craft and trust in that dedication when it's time to step out onto the stage. Remember, nerves are totally natural and everyone experiences them in some form before they perform - try channeling those feelings into positive energy instead so you can show off everything you've learned from those singing lessons, guitar lessons, piano lessons, or whatever else you may have taken!
7) Give Yourself a Pep Talk
Everyone gets nervous before performing, but having a good pep talk can help you get over those nerves and put your best foot forward. To give yourself a pep talk, start by recognizing how hard you’ve worked to get to this point. Think back to the long hours of practice and all the guitar, piano, drum, vocal, and singing lessons you’ve taken. Acknowledge how far you’ve come and how much you’ve grown in your abilities. Remind yourself of your talent and why you’re here in the first place.
Tell yourself that you have the skills and ability to do great things, and that you can handle anything that comes your way. Remind yourself that you are there for a reason and that no matter what happens, you will have a successful performance. Even if you make a few mistakes, it won’t take away from the power of your performance. Give yourself a few positive affirmations and tell yourself that you can do it!