Dealing with Dreaded Stage Fright

It is almost time. The stage is set, the audience has started to settle down and the stage manager pops his head in the door: “Five minutes, break a leg, kid.” Suddenly the words to the songs have disappeared, every dance move has mysteriously been erased from your mind, your hands shake and your throat is as dry as the Sahara Desert. You start contemplating breaking a leg as a plausible way to get out of the performance. It is your worst nightmare, you have stage fright. Fortunately, there are ways for dealing with stage fright and ensuring a successful performance.

There are quite a few symptoms associated with stage fright, such as shakes, trembling, blurred vision, memory loss, loss of voice, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. Most performers outgrow their stage fright as they gain confidence with each performance, and some retain a controllable level of stage fright throughout their careers. Each performer eventually discovers their own unique way of dealing with stage fright, but first time performers can follow a few simple steps to help them on their way.

Firstly, it is important to remember that the audience is not there to see how bad a performer does. They came to the venue to enjoy themselves, relax and have a good time. To practice continuously before a performance is a good start. Performers should always ensure that they are prepared, may it be a dance recital, musical performance or singing. Solo performers usually choose a song or music that they are completely comfortable with to open their show. This breaks the ice, and by the second or third song they have become completely at ease. Do not stop completely when making a mistake. The audience will not even notice if a word has been skipped or a note played out of turn if the performer continues without acknowledging their error.

Before going on stage, many artists, dancers and performers walk around to calm themselves. Sharing a few jokes with fellow performers or stage workers is always helpful, as laughter is a good way to relax. Always prepare what you would like to say on stage, as having some direction should also be calming. Never try to ignore stage fright, as it won’t just disappear. Dealing with each fear and overcoming every obstacle will build your self confidence, and make every performance after the first a little easier.

Seasoned performers still get butterflies in their stomachs or hearts that feel they are about to jump out of their chests. It is a form of stage fright, but it is the fear of not performing to the best of their abilities. This gets performers’ adrenalin going, and instills a determination to give the audience an unforgettable performance. Any first time performers should not let stage fright keep them off the stage, but see it as a challenge to overcome. Stage fright should not keep a brilliant performer from their audience, and many audience members admire performers for having the courage to put themselves in the spotlight and share their love for music with them.