Everyone has experienced some form of stage fright. If you’re lucky, you get slightly nervous the night before your gig, freak out a bit a few minutes before entering the stage, and get on with your performance. That’s manageable.
Now, feeling like you’re about to have a heart attack and having a complete shutdown because of your fear… that’s something you need to work on. Look, it happens, maybe it’s your first time going on stage and you just can’t stop thinking about the worst-case scenario. Or maybe you’ve done it a thousand times before but you’re freaking out about playing a completely new song, or because someone special will be in the audience. Whatever it is, you need to catch your jitters before they turn your performance into a nightmare.
Learn to Meditate
It doesn’t matter if you’re the most hardcore metal player that ever walked the earth, you’re still human, and humans benefit from meditation. Here’s the thing, with enough practice anyone can learn how to calm themselves just by working on their breathing, and really, few things are more powerful than being able to do that at will and with nothing besides you and your willpower.
Monitor Your Thoughts
You know yourself better than anyone, so you know when your thoughts are leading you to a negative path. Learn how to recognize the signs, and then force yourself to think of something else. Don’t let your negativity get you down or convince you that you can’t do this. If you need to avoid certain triggers before your gig, do so. Be unapologetic about it, too. Do whatever you can do to keep your thoughts light and positive.
This is something you can actually practice in your daily life to build your self-confidence. It’s not about wishing for perfection and only thinking happy thoughts, but rather about getting comfortable with who you are and knowing that if you fail, you’ll get through it and try again.
Plan for the First 5 Minutes
The first five minutes of a gig are the hardest. It’s the adjustment period. The audience is still guessing what you’re all about, and you’re still gauging their reaction. Plan for these minutes, and you’re golden. Think of how you’re going to introduce yourself, what kind of impression you want the public to have, and then think about how you can make it happen. After the first 5 minutes, you’ll feel more at ease with your new role on stage.
Don’t Get Hammered
Whatever you do, do not get drunk. Many people think it’s a great idea to have a few shots to calm the nerves. And sure, why not? Just be really careful not to overdo it. Not only can you end up acting like a hot, sloppy, mess, but alcohol can also amplify your anxiety and keep you from performing altogether.
Getting over stage fright is all about know who you are, what scares you, and then being able to play those fears down and keep your mind calmed. You don’t need to get drunk to do that. You just need to learn how to relax, keep your mind from freaking out, and build up your self-confidence.