How to Get Over Stage Fright

What is stage fright? The official definition of stage fright is anxiety and panic caused by the thought of performing. An anonymous source said, “stage fright is being scared to talk in front [of a large audience].” As a singer, I deal with a lot with stage fright. Even though I am in a group choir here at Doherty, I still get super nervous getting up on stage. But I always breathe and focus on the words that are coming out of my mouth and the movement of choir director, Mr. D’s hands as he directs the choir. I even try not to look for my family because I know if I do, I could break down. The outcome is amazing though, you walk off stage and you feel this overwhelming joy and the knowledge that you did it and it is over.

A lot of people deal with stage fright and don’t know how to get over it. Conquering your stage fright for some people may be hard but the key to conquering your fear to not think thoughts that will cause self-doubt or low confidence. Before going on stage try things like relaxation exercises, yoga, meditation, and taking a deep breath. Doherty sophomore, Rebekah Mcmurray says, “As a pianist and vocalist, I deal with stage fright, just the same as many others. With ten years of practice, I still get nervous any time I walk on stage. A few things that I have learned that help me deal with my stage fright are first, I think about all the hard work I’ve put into the music that I’m performing. I think about the drills that I did to improve my song, I think of the countless lessons, of the hours I spent tweaking it to be the best I could make it. I think about the classes my teammates and I spent working together, and the beautiful sound we know we can produce, and I think of how we can bring that to the audience. Second, Deep breaths. Before and during your performance, close your eyes and count to ten as you breathe slowly. Third, I focus on one thing and do not think about my audience. This might be an issue if you are speaking to your audience, but for myself as a solo and ensemble musician, this tactic helps my stage fright. Choose an object, or a place on the wall, and just watch it. I avoid making eye contact with anyone in the audience, and this helps me feel like it is just a dress performance.
Fourth, I don’t think about it too much. Thinking about how my performance might happen is super counter-productive. Instead, if I catch myself thinking about what might happen, I think again of my hard work and reassure myself that whatever happens, it will be fine. I think of the good things that might happen. I stay aware that, yes, bad things might happen. But good things will too! All of the hard work you put into your performance (whatever it might be) will pay off when you dedicate it all to your performance. Lastly, know that you are your own worst critic. Whatever happens out on that stage, you are going to walk off and think you did awful. And you will beat yourself up about it, and you might even want to quit. But, just know, you did better than you thought. Think about why you are upset with your performance. Real reasons. Think about the specific things you noticed, and use those to become better for your next performance. No matter what happens, you can always improve! Just remember to take a deep breath, focus on your performance, and remember your hard work. Don’t worry about the people! Just think about your performance and how much work has gone into it.”

Sophomore Chloé Wilkins commented, “I would say that for people who have stage fright, you’re there to have fun so just have fun. If you are terrified but love to do it just make sure you feel safe and just have the mindset that people can think what they want but it won’t affect you, when I did the one-acts I was terrified to go on stage every night but once I got on the stage I forgot about what everyone was thinking and just remembered how fun it had been when there wasn’t an audience. I have had stage fright, and not just in acting I’ve almost cried cause I was so nervous to go on stage but really what I think about when looking back at those moments is what happened before and after. You don’t normally get to see what happens backstage but every time someone [not just me] was nervous about going on stage or just talking in front of people there was always someone who would make you believe in yourself and just encourage you.”