“A little bit of stage fright, then I’m ready,” Faith Hill. The key word in this quote is little. The excitement of getting on stage before a crowd causes the performer to focus, treat the entertaining position with respect and rise to the occasion. Fear of being in front of a crowd is common; when it becomes debilitating is when it turns into a problem. Most professional performers would agree that a small amount of stage fright never goes away.
It is this small amount that gives the entertainer the edge. Stevie Nicks says this, “If you have stage fright, it never goes away. But then I wonder: is the key to that magical performance because of the fear?” Adrenaline enables higher levels of performance when a person feels threatened and they run faster than ever (don’t run from the stage) or when your brain needs to focus on one thing, like being ready to perform.
However, serious stage fright and the fear of being in front of others can haunt you whether you are a musician in a band, a local artist mingling in a music industry crowd, or a songwriter sitting down for a co-write. Mild to sever stage fright can cripple people in any of these examples to varying degrees.
Here are a few tips to help control your nerves:
- Drugs or alcohol will not help a permanent ability to control or balance nerves
- Allow yourself to make mistakes – the audience very often doesn’t notice
- Concentrate on your last really good performance
- Look at the audience and imagine they are your friends and family
- Keep fit, this will give you more self esteem and confidence
- Wear something that you are comfortable in, but also that makes you feel like a performer.
Tips are great – but for most of us, practice makes perfect. Where can one practice letting loose? Time in front of a trusting, friendly group of faces will encourage you to let down your guard, embrace who you are, and shine as the person you were previously afraid to let others see. Practicing the above tips plus other personality unlocking activities can be found at your local improv class. I know what you are thinking…
- I am a guitar player – I don’t need to get up in front of a goofy group of people and jump around like some animal to be comfortable on stage…
- Why would a songwriter need to know how to be comfortable on stage – that’s what the artists need to know…
- I work behind a glass wall in a studio – I don’t need to know how to relate to people and embrace the inner me…
What can improv teach even the biggest skeptic?
- Risk Taking – fear will have less of a hold on your decisions (on and off stage)
- Be In the Present Moment – don’t let life pass you by in the spectator section
- Creativity – ideas won’t be bound in boxes; impossible will leave your equations
- Listen Fully and React – don’t get wrapped up in me, myself, and I
- Build Connections and Relationships – don’t miss the humanity ready to connect with you
- PLUS much more…
If you are having trouble being yourself in co-writing sessions, letting loose on stage, or you tend to fade away in a crowd, John Frazier’s Creative Improv Workshop is the number one improv class in town. This Nashville based class enables the attendees to network with other up-and-coming writers and artists. These workshops use improvisational games and exercises to help the members of the class. The members of the class are sincere, ready to learn, slow to judge/criticize and quick to embrace new attendees.
Recently the Nashville edition of the Examiner covered John’s workshop and they had this to say, “Aside from all the benefits, John’s Creative Improv Workshops are known to be a great time. Plus, the cost is FREE (for first time guests). Why not give it a try?”
You can get more information and read testimonials from those who have attended John’s workshops at Creative Improv’s website. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact John himself by e-mailing John@CreativeImprov.org. Remember, “The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure,” Sven Goran Eriksson.