Stage Fright – What it is & How Artists Can Cope With It


It’s a saying that some people would rather be in their coffins than deliver eulogies at funerals. Although it might be overstated, most people would understand. 

When getting ready to speak up or perform in front of a group, most of us experience some apprehension. However, those with feelings of dread and terror in situations like these, or anywhere they could be the center of attention, may have a specific type of social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia). 

Stage fright, often known as a fear of public speaking or performing, severely impacts a person’s self-esteem and can lead to quitting their jobs, school or declining promotions. 

Dealing With Stage Fright

Here are some solid tips that singers and performers use to combat their stage fright.

Realizing You Are Not Alone

Realizing you are not alone in experiencing stage fright is the first step towards overcoming it. It is crucial to realize that every artist in the world experiences some level of self-doubt and occasionally experiences anxiety before performing. 

It’s very normal to feel uncomfortable or apprehensive, whether performing for a packed Wembley Stadium or before a couple of friends and family in your living room (often more nerve-wracking than the former!).

Preparing More

Being completely confident in the material you are performing is a fantastic approach to aid in adjusting to your circumstances on stage. The fewer variables there are, the better. You can still practice the scales you want to employ, even if this will depend on the type of music you are playing. Some genres, like jazz, will require at least a little improvization. 

Performing More

Experience is the key to overcoming anxiety about anything. The more frequently you perform, the more at ease and less anxious you will be before the performance. 

Once a musician is confident in their ability to perform, nerves start to relax, and elements like a positive, enthusiastic audience reaction will decrease performance anxiety further. 

A little nervousness is typically viewed as a positive thing, keeping musicians on their toes and ensuring they continue to work hard at their vocation. However, anxiety episodes are not helpful when it comes to performance. 

Organization is the Key

A big part of being a professional musician is being ready for anything and having the skills to handle it when it happens. By arriving early and allowing yourself plenty of time to prepare, you will have the opportunity to address any issues before the performance, should they arise. 

Breathing exercises or even meditation may be effective as stress-relief techniques for some artists. Many pros also adhere to a rigid schedule that includes gathering lyrics, backup equipment, and refreshments before performing. 

Connecting with Audience

Everyone performs differently. You create it through your own experiences and by emulating the styles of your role models and sources of inspiration. 

Breaking down the walls between you and your audience can help you overcome your fear of performing in front of others. Engage the audience in conversation to make your performance feel less stiff.