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Be Still My Beating Heart

Stage Fright is both emotional and physical. You feel fear. Your mind screams at you not to walk up on stage, open your mouth, try something new and scary, humiliate yourself. But if all that noise stayed in your mind, you’d be okay. You could press on, no one would know, right?

But no. It’s not just in your mind. Your heart races. Your mouth gets dry. Your hands shake. Heck, maybe your whole body shakes! And when you’re singing, even worse, your voice quavers. In fact, to your horror, it might quaver so much it falls off the note you meant to sing, the one you know you’re supposed to sing, the one you sang just fine in your car on the way over.

Fortunately, there are things you can do for both your mind and body to help you get past that.

Let me start with the physical. Number one, eliminate caffeine. If you have stage fright, your body is already in panic mode, pumping adrenaline into your system. The very last thing you need is caffeine. You do not want energy drinks, coffee, tea, dark chocolate, or any other stimulant in the hours before you sing. Even if you feel sleepy one minute before setting foot on stage, you’ll wake up the second you do, and you’ll be glad you don’t have any caffeine.

There are other physical elements to keeping your voice strong. Long term, it’s a good idea to get physical exercise. The stronger your lungs, the easier it is to sing. Being fit also tends to slow your heart rate, which you desperately want when you are battling fear. If you have allergies, an antihistamine will help keep your throat open. Avoid anything which irritates your throat before singing, especially sweets, baked goods, citrus or dairy. Drink plenty of water, and if you can get your hands on some licorice tea, even better. When you’re physically fit and your throat is strong and clear, you will feel calm as soon as you hear the first note.

Hopefully these steps will allow you to start to enjoy the process, because why else would you be going to all this trouble? The more you start to enjoy it, the more you will start to relax.

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