I swear, I never pictured you naked!
I was talking to a new vocal student of mine about stage fright. She was saying that she wants so badly to be comfortable singing in front of people, but she doesn’t understand how to use her diaphragm and she’s like a deer in headlights on stage.
I began sharing my experiences with her… like how if my family wanted to hear me sing they had to press their ear up against the bedroom door. How if they were in the same room as me, I’d face the wall cause I couldn’t handle them looking at me. When I’d finally get up the nerve to sing, my throat would clench up making horrible frog-like squeaks come out. Horrible, I tell yah! I’ve come a long way from that little shy girl. My skin fits today. The stage is my home now. This is how I got there.
HOW I OVERCAME STAGE FRIGHT
1. Gotta be honest, I never pictured you naked. 😛
You know that common trick to overcoming stage fright! Picture the entire audience naked! Truthfully, I’d probably laugh… not cause you’re not a beautiful Adam or Eve… but cause I laugh when I’m nervous and that would certainly make me nervous! Haha!
2. I practiced and trained very, very hard
With patient, talented guitar and vocal teachers, who gently forced me out of my comfort zone. I have been blessed to have worked with teachers who helped me polish my craft and find my voice. And I practiced a lot on my own. One of my teachers from New York City used to say, “May your worst performance be publicly acceptable.” I try to live by that.
3. I learned the importance of breathing… so simple, yet so complex!
– The more I understood how very important correct breathing was, the more I had control over my voice. I discovered that when I get nervous, my heart starts to race, which causes me to breath more shallow. When I breath more shallow, I’m not getting enough oxygen causing me to feel light headed, which makes my heart race even more. Simple breathing techniques, breathing in through the nose for ten beats into my stomach, holding for a few seconds, then out through my mouth, can do wonders!
4. I performed often in front of a safe audience
I found safe places to play and practice singing out, open mics mainly, where people loved and supported me no matter what I did. I would stop in the middle of my songs and say “Oops!” and people would shout out, “That’s okay Bonnie Lee! Keep going.” And I would!
5. I Learned about myself
Why did I wanna sing in front of an audience in the first place?? For me, it was because I wanted to bring people joy, happiness and healing, through music. Well, if that’s the case, then it’s not about being perfect. It’s about being genuine, being my dorky self, and having fun.
Somewhere along the way, not exactly sure when it happened, I stopped getting nervous. It’s more like an excitement, “I can’t WAIT to get on stage,” feeling now.
I think, when you love something, you find a way. I loved singing so much that I kept trying. I got back up on stage after my voice cracked in front of a thousand people. I got back on stage when I forgot the words to my own songs. I got back on stage after I said “Oops, sorry,” in the middle of an audition. I got back on stage when I was sure no one liked me or my music. I got back up on stage because this is where I’m meant to be. When you love something that much, you have to keep trying.
People have said to me before that I was born with the gift to sing and perform. I believe our talents are gifts, but I kinda feel my gift was the desire. The singing and performance came after years of polishing and practice. The desire is what kept me motivated and passionate.