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Tag Archives: public speaking

Singing in Public When You’re Afraid – Where do I start?

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!


Someone else sings better. Why should I? Why me? Part 2 – Singing in Public – How to Get Over Your Fear

If you watch American Idol, you’ve probably seen the auditions everyone loves to hate, the ones we laugh at. They are so sure they’re fabulous, but they are really bad. It’s hilarious, unless it’s you.

If you’re afraid, deep down, that you are that bad, there are ways to find out before you publicly humiliate yourself. I don’t think that type of singer is actually likely to engage in deep self-analysis. So if you’re worried about it, it probably doesn’t apply to you!

But just in case, ask a musician or singer if you can carry a tune. Or record yourself singing a song, and listen to it. Do you wander up and down into slightly different keys? Does the musician you asked wince a little, before answering your question? Then you may have a point. Your best option at that point is to work hard, taking lessons from someone who can help you. Just make sure it isn’t a polite soul who nods at you and takes your money without being honest about what you need to work on.

Most likely, you can sing, but you doubt yourself. Of course you can improve, and you should never stop working at it. But each person has strengths and weaknesses. Each person has a unique style, perspective, and a story to tell. If you value others, make sure you value yourself too. There are people out there waiting to hear your story, told through music.

For the timid soul, you may be so hard on yourself, you never let anyone else have the chance to even hear you. You second guess yourself, and may even convince yourself you could never contribute anything others wouldn’t do better. But deep down, you want to try, or you wouldn’t be reading this.

Maybe you have tried, and you’ve been slapped down. Sometimes bolder personalities will tear you down, just because they can. They might feel it leaves more room for them if they climb on top of you. Don’t cooperate with any bully! Be courageous, and find a way to shine at the things you do best. Keep practicing both your strengths and your weaknesses, and your steady climb will get you much further than you can ever imagine.

I have a Bible verse for you too, from the second chapter of Titus, verse 15: “Do not let anyone despise you.”

I’ve worked alongside a lot of very talented singers, and I’ve noticed some of the very best are quite humble. They don’t really act as if they are anything special. They just go ahead and do what they can, and keep at it. If you aren’t sure you’re really good enough to put yourself out there, you may just be one of the humble ones. Good for you, and don’t let it stop you!

Next week: First steps, when you don’t know how to get started

Singing in Public – How to Get Over Your Fear (by someone who has done it)


No fear when my brother is near!

I’ve sung all my life. For a long time, I assumed everyone did. We all sang in my family. We sang hiking songs on the trail. We sang Christmas carols from door to door. My mom burst into song while we were shopping. (Oh, the humiliation.) My brother and I would sing rounds in the sandbox and try to throw each other off by singing our parts louder and faster until we collapsed laughing.

I have a mental image of myself standing in front of our church at 4 or 5, wearing a white choir robe with a giant red collar, my eyes huge and my face pale. Singing in public. Ugh! That was my first taste of stage fright. I loved the singing, hated doing it in public.

I had the same experience of stage fright in ballet, and gave it up after completely devoting myself to it for many years. I loved the classes, the dancing, the costumes, but absolutely hated the performances. Our recitals were held in a large city community theater which sat thousands. My teacher must have been really well known to have so many people coming to her recitals, but I wished we were in a tiny room with just our immediate families. I was not born to do anything in public.

But one day, I got sick of being so scared. I was in a small Bible study and the leader asked if we had anything to say or to share. My heart pounded so loudly I was sure everyone could hear it. I was terrified to make a sound. I was sitting in the living room of perfectly safe people, surrounded by just a few people I knew. Yet I couldn’t open my mouth.

This would happen every week. The leaders of my small group persisted. They would not let up. The expectation of “performance” completely threw me. They would ask if someone in the group would start a song. I could always think of about five different songs to choose from, I knew how to sing them, but I couldn’t get a sound to come out of my mouth. I started to think this was ridiculous. How could I be so scared of such a simple thing?

By then I had started to notice lots of people couldn’t even sing, but they still did it! Why couldn’t I sing even a few words until everyone joined in? What was I so afraid of? I remembered giving up ballet even though I loved it so much, just because of my stage fright. I decided I would get over my fears no matter what it took.

And I did.

I didn’t have anyone to teach me how, so it took me a very long time to learn the tricks I know today. I thought I’d start a series of articles and share them with you. If I help even one person avoid years and years of being so scared of doing something they love, it will be worth it!

Next week:  Someone else sings better. Why should I? Why me?