Are you determined to become the next American Idol? Good for you! Anything is possible when you believe in yourself.
This is the second in a series on the making of an American Idol. In this series of blogs I'm going to walk you through the process I am using to prepare a student of mine to audition on the east coast this summer for American Idol. We'll first take a look at the basic ingredients needed to become a star.
In Part 1 of this series, we talked about singing ability and how it may or may not be a deciding factor in an audition. In Part 2 we're going to take a look at stage fright.
You know about stage fright. Sweaty palms, nausea, uncontrollable shaking of limbs, butterflies in the tummy and on and on. You probably know exactly how you will feel when it hits you. Basically, stage fright is adrenaline running wild through your mind and body causing all the symptoms mentioned above.
One of my favorite sayings that I quote in my book on vocal technique is this: The brain starts to work the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak [sing] in public anonymous
Below are 10 tips to help you overcome your stage fright and to give a great performance. Take and make them a part of your mind and body a part of your performance.
#1 Bodacious Body Alignment: Look confident, feel confident!
Begin by stretching your spine down from the tailbone and up from the top of the spine, which is at the same height as the top of your ears. Release and soften your back muscles and triceps (back of the arm). You will feel the core muscles taking over the job of holding your body open and erect. Think superhero: strong and confident. Lift the collarbone keeping the chin level to the ground.
Looking confident will make you feel confident!
#2 Dispel the Myths
Do not picture your audience naked. They won't appreciate it and you might not either. It does not help you to put your audience at a disadvantage to your position as performer. Include them, talk to them, share your story. They want you to be successful they are rooting for you! Give your audience what they came to experience you!
#3 Use It!
Stage fright is an over abundance of adrenaline running wild through your brain and body. Trying to suppress it will only make it more insistent on taking over. Accept the adrenaline rush. Welcome it to your body and brain. This will diffuse its power.
#4 Be Prepared
Ben Franklin wrote, It takes about three weeks to prepare a good extemporaneous speech. Wise man, our Ben. Be over-prepared with your music and a healthy voice. Practice as though the person who makes you the most nervous is in the room. Practice welcoming that person and accepting their presence.
#5 Practice Every Chance You Get
Get out there and sing at every opportunity. The more you perform, the less nervous you will be when the real audition comes.
#6 Establish a Pre-performance Routine
Maybe you've seen the baseball player who has an elaborate ritual of gestures that he makes every time before he swings the bat. That is a pre-performance ritual that keeps him focused on his performance. Find something that calms you and focuses your energy and thoughts. Try tapping a complex rhythm, send roots out of the soles of your feet into the ground, count your breaths, etc. Remember that the audience is cheering for you to be great!
It is tempting to remain physically very still to keep the adrenaline rush from getting the upper hand before you hit the stage. However, that is like trying to contain a basket of frisky puppies they have to work out their energy! Same with your stage fright. Figure out where in your body the energy is causing tension and wiggle it until you feel silly and can laugh. Now you are ready to perform!
#8 Keep Your Sense of Humor
Anyone who has performed a lot knows that anything and everything that can go wrong, will. We've all seen a president of the US vomit while speaking, performers trip and fall off the stage, wardrobe malfunction and the list goes on. Keep your sense of humor alive and well for those mishaps and enjoy the surprise. Acknowledge it when something goes wrong. Make a joke and continue with your performance. It makes you more human, more accessible to the audience and makes for a great story to tell later on.
#9 Breathe: Nature's Valium
Never, ever take drugs or alcohol thinking that you will be calmer! You won't. Instead, breathe. Follow your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Feel it open up your airways and bring calm to tense places in your body and mind. Go to www.VocalPowerTools.com products page to get Meditative Breathing Exercises.
Stage fright originates with those negative voices inside your head. The audience will think I'm a no talent hack. No one wants to hear this! I'm going to sound terrible and look foolish. The voices inside your head are ancient history and they are not the truth. They are your fear talking. Instead, make a choice to listen to breathing in I calm, breathing out I smile, I am prepared and I'm going to have fun and other positive messages that you can develop for yourself and practice.
** Always remember that the performance is not about you! It is about your audience their comfort, their pleasure, their entertainment. Focus on them at all times and have fun! **