1. Try something new.
If you have never done any singing in front of anyone at all, there are many ways to start. One of the easiest things to do is join a choir. Most churches and schools have a choir, and you may find a community based one in your town or local area. For some choirs it helps to read music, others will hand out rehearsal CDs to help you learn the music by ear. Your own skill level will influence where you feel comfortable starting, but make sure you always look for ways to challenge yourself to learn new skills. If you’re a beginner, look for someone who is experienced and get right next to them. Listen to what they do, and do the same. Make sure they are actually good at singing, though! The choir director can point you in the right direction if you ask.
Taking voice lessons is a great option, but do your research. Make sure you find a teacher who understands your preferred style of singing. If you aspire to pop singing, then classical or opera style lessons will actually teach you the opposite of what you need! I’m not saying you can’t try other singing styles later, but focus your efforts to start with.
The best thing about voice lessons is you will have to force yourself to sing in front of someone. If you keep at it, you’ll get used to singing in front of at least one person. That may seem like a small step, but it’s actually the biggest one. Singing in front of a handful of people is almost the same as singing in front of one. Singing in front of a roomful of people is only a bit harder than singing in front of a handful. And singing on stage is only a little bit harder yet.
One voice teacher I’ve learned a lot from is Seth Riggs. He has a stable of instructors all over the world who teach his methods. I’ve also been intrigued by Ken Tamplin’s rock ‘n roll singing academy. He also has some free videos posted on Youtube. There’s nothing magical about finding the one perfect instructor, the point is to try something that will move you in the direction of your goal.
2. Keep at it.
If you don’t like the first choir or voice teacher you try, then try something else. Join a Toastmasters group to get used to standing up in front of people and talking. One of the side benefits I found to getting over my fear of singing in public is that I no longer fear speaking in public. Anything you do to get out there, beyond your comfort zone, will help you.
3. Start small.
Don’t feel you have to be fabulous right out of the gate. You’ll only make yourself feel bad, and talk yourself out of doing it at all. Take one step, and keep doing it until it’s easier, and then before you start feeling too comfortable, try something a little harder. If you keep on that way, you’ll be a amazed at what you can accomplish.
Next week: Be still, my racing heart!