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Anxiety! Stage-Fright!

Forget about it. I mean if you’re that shit scared, don’t bother! Be kind to yourself and the people who are sitting in rows or at tables in front of you. Inevitably your fear will spread over the room and everybody will be fidgeting and have sweaty palms.

Only kidding (partly).

But there is a smidgen of truth in there; frankly, some folks just aren’t made for performing. Composing ““ yes! Playing ““ yes! Singing ““ yes! But performing ““ not! Have a good hard think about this: is performing the thing you want do? In short: do you want to show off and be in the spotlight? Or is performing a proxy for getting your stuff out there? And don’t tell me about “just wanting to share”! If you get up on a stage, you ain’t sharing; you’re presuming that you’re worth paying attention to ““ to the exclusion of all others while you’re up there! And make no mistake ““ you’d better be worthy!

Only kidding (sort of).

So how do you shed the debilitating fear that can freeze your fingers, constrict your throat, make your breathing shallow, focus dissolve…? Easy…

Only perform what you are capable of delivering competently. Don’t fluff your way through desultory practice and hope it’ll just somehow come together on the night. And practice. Practice what you can do until you can do it in your sleep. Take the uncertainties out of the equation. The finger moves. The chord changes. The vocal leaps. The breathing. The jokes. The one-liners, The “Thank you!”, the “next song is called.. and is about…”. All of it. Time and time again. In front of a mirror with a light shining in your eyes. Rehearse the whole damn’ thing over and over until its second nature. Get complete control over those technical aspects. Pretend every rehearsal in your bedroom is a gig! Get bored with it. Get really bored with it. Get to the point where you shout: “I really am good and ready to do this!!”

Anxiety will still be there just before the step up onto the stage; but fear will not. Adrenalin will be coursing through your veins and you will be on heightened alert and ready to give your best. Because only then, dear genius, will you have everything prepared enough so that you can give the audience your undivided attention ““ and they yours – and you will deliver a performance both you and they deserve…

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