In my experience as a singing instructor, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of people who come to me for voice lessons because they are scared to sing. I’m not even just talking about performers who get stage fright before a show. There is a surprising number of people who literally get nervous when they’re singing by themselves regardless of the venue. They could be in church or alone in their cars, and they would experience anxiety as soon as they sing a note.
I’m inspired by the students who come to me with the desire to get past this fear of singing. It’s not an easy thing to overcome, but they know that it’s worth the effort and they work hard to get over their fears. Here are some of the things I’ve known to be helpful:
Just sing. I know this is probably the hardest thing to do, but the more you sing, the less scared you’ll be in time. Take every opportunity to sing in any way that you can – at church, at home, in the shower, in the car. It helps if you sing to something you really enjoy.
Take voice lessons. Taking voice lessons does two things – it helps you get better as a singer, which in turn would give you a confidence boost. It also gives you concrete vocal techniques to work on, which might help you to be less focused on your anxiety and more focused on improvement.
Find a sounding board. This could be a close friend, family member, or your vocal coach. Either way, find someone you feel comfortable with who can listen to you sing and offer you honest feedback and/or encouragement. I don’t mean people who will constantly tell you how great you are even though you really aren’t. I mean people who are willing to help you reach your goals by acknowledging your effort, affirming your progress, being honest (but gentle) and encouraging you to keep improving as a singer.
Take it easy on yourself. Not everyone was born to sound like a rock star, and not everyone improves in just one lesson. Remember that everyone has a unique sound, and focus on bringing the best out of your own voice rather than trying to be like the person on the radio.
If you’re one of the people who experiences anxiety when they sing, you are not alone. Music is a beautiful thing to have in your life, and if you keep working at it, you will find that it pays off in time. Be patient with yourself, seek vocal training and support wherever you can, and don’t give up!