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Tips for overcoming stage fright?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by McHaven, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    So my band is a trio and originally we planned to split the vocas between the guitarist and I. We've been taking voice lessons too and we've really improved. We sing pretty well just hanging out or singing along to something in the car on the way to a show.

    The actual show on the other hand is a different story.
    He does fine behind the mic, not espicially singing perfectly but he's doing it.
    I, on the other hand, have a hard time singing in front of a crowd. I can't even bring myself to sing sometimes and when I do, my voice is terrible.
    I have no problems playing bass, because I KNOW I have a degree of skill at that, but I don't feel that way about my singing.

    I've read the guide to singing that Jive posted but it didn't have much to address this point. So are there any reccommendations for me?

  2. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Just do it. Confidence is key. Don't feel bad/down or anything. Try to reduce your nervousness; clench your toes/fingers as hard as you can for a few moments before the show starts, do Yoga, close your eyes and deep breaths all work for me for nervousness. Confidence, is again, key. You know you sound good, you're taking lessons! You've practiced the songs a hundred thousand times! Also, try not to look at the crowd... look at the back of the room or something. Heck, the very first gig I had, there were all of 200 people there, so I starred at the stage lights :p (off stage ones). It worked though, and no one could tell the difference.

    Best of luck!

  3. flipperwhite


    Jul 12, 2001
    that was good advice! I have been doing this for 26 years! (OMG! I'm a geezer!!) and I love not getting those nervous twinges anymore but I used to really bad! first you have to realise its all a head game in your own mind, its because we were afraid of what people are thinking but the truth is most of the time they dont, we tend to focus mostly about ourselves you may have a friend who gets a new ride and you'd say "hey man thats cool" but if he gave you that same car you'd be freaking out. you dont get nervous when other people sing and no ones too worried about you. the thing that really helped me was to have people over at pratice (not all pratices! then you'll NEVER reherse just preform) just a few so your really freaked out, its a bad trip but when your in those small controlled sitiuations you can pratice breathing control which is what happens to most people who suffer from stage fright and it makes your voice week and you loose control and the fear gets worse and becomes a vicious cycle. you have to realise that it will get better and you will be able to sing without loosing it you are just like most of the guys you listen to no matter how big a star they are they ALL were nervous a first and a lot are STILL gittery but have learned to control the sitiuation. I'll bet you are a pretty good singer you know it and what do the guys in the band say? you know Elvis was told by the "pros" at the grand ole opry that he needed to keep his truck driving job cause he could not sing!! he was nervous and turned it into shacking his legs and well you know the rest of that story. one last thing try closing your eyes as much as you can then its just you and the mike oh yeah and the bass, thats where muscle memory retention comes in real handy.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Good advice, but I think the best thing to do is learn to sing. Take vocal lessons. You'd be surprised how much it helps.
  5. Every time I get nervous on stage I just close my eyes. You'd be surprised how much more comfortable you feel when you cant see everybody. It's even gotten to the point to where my eyes are closed through a good 2/3 of a gig. Works for me, but other's results may vary.
  6. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    take a breath in with an 8 count, hold for a 4 count, exhale with a 7 count. its very relaxing. I used to do that before delivering speeches at university. I learned it on Oprah!;)

    The most important thing is to just have confidence in yourself. Just think to yourself I can do this. I have what it takes.

    Have a "take charge" attitude. When I am front of 30 kids (I am a teacher) I just "believe I can achieve" and I do. At first I was very nervous but now it doesnt bother me unless I am unprepared. You are prepared so you will do well given the correct attitude.

    Bon Chance!
  7. Shoka42


    Jul 19, 2003
    There's always the "Imagine everyone in their underwear/in the nude" trick!

    Generally though, just going out there and doing it, without thinking is the best thing for me.
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Doesn't do much for your showmanship, though.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    Try Wearing Sunglasses it can help keeping people out.
  10. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    thanks for all the tips. I've thought about the sunglasses/eyes closed thing but haven't had the chance to try it out.

    Another factor contributing to it is probably the lack of PA at our rehearsel place. We're still saving for one so we're PA-less for now and don't get to practice our singing while we play until the show usually.
  11. haujobb


    Dec 16, 2004
    I still stare at the back wall, some experts beleive it fools the whole crowd into thinking you are focusing on THEM, which will encourage them to really get into the show.
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Don't look too high over people's heads. And never stare at the back wall. Keep your eyes moving every couple seconds.
  13. haujobb


    Dec 16, 2004
    Unless that's part of your stage act :p
  14. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    2 words....

    Bong Hits :p
  15. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    OK, OK: Now I got a couple things to say...

    First, I have found just the opposite of what I've heard some say here -- What made all the difference for ME (and I did start-out with a stage-fright problem!) was when I STARTED looking around at people's faces! NOT "the crowd"; individual faces - understand what I mean? It's the crowd - that MOB - that made me nervous; this nebulous entity.

    Once you start looking right AT people's faces, you see their reaction to you; you get a sense that they're people - individuals who maybe 'live for the weekend'; many are putting their trust in you, hoping that this'll make their week worth-it - you can see it. I'm serious - now I have a very real sense of almost-grave responsibility; I have a 'sense of present calling' as I look at those faces.

    I honstly think that it's BAD advice to suggest that you look over the top of'em or whatever. Try it: find a listener who's standing there looking at the band - they're maybe looking around the stage, or at another musician, but when they glance-over and see you looking at their face -- especially if you react with a little eyebrow wiggle or a squinty, smirky little smile or whatever, very-most often their face noticeably lights-up - very NOTICEABLY! You are in no-way fooling anybody into thinking you're playing for them by looking over their head! I'm telling you: you experience just a few of those reactions - those lit-up faces, and you might begin to really get a sense of the thrill of being a professional entertainer, Man.

    It takes the fear away when you have a sense of calling -- that's how soldiers can charge at a machine-gun nest, Man; a sense of present calling; a sense of resolve.

    Look right at'em, Man - show them how much it means to you to have them grooving with you.

  16. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    My advice in reply #15 does not necessarily exclude this.
  17. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Read the books by Dale Carnegie about Public Speaking.

    His main point is that the more often you do it, the easier it becomes.

    You can probably borrow this book for free at
    your local public library.

    As noted above, good breathing control to relax the adrenalin
    rush is helpful. Bong hits probably will throw you off. I'd
    wait till you have a handle on this problem before layering
    other things on top to deal with, like "How does this song go,
    again ..." :p
  18. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I don't recall The Hobbits sounding all that good on stage,
    except to themselves. :D
  19. I agree with Joe P that it is important to sing to the audience.

    Be well prepared. That instills confidence. I hope you can get a PA to rehearse with soon.

    See stage fright as a positive thing. It means that it matters to you to do a good job and you are going to do it.
  20. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    I mix wine half and half with water and stick it in a gatorade bottle.