A powerful technique can work in as little as 30 seconds to normalize your heart rate and your confidence level –says Lisa Popeil
Editor’s note: As Lisa Popeil says below, the technique she describes is not generally accepted in the scientific community as having a scientific basis, though singers all over the world have testified to its helpfulness.
You’re waiting in the wings, preparing to go onstage and there they are again: the dreaded heart palpitations, the flop-sweat, the near certainty that the performance will be a complete disaster.
But wait a minute… isn’t this what you’ve dreamt of doing?
Haven’t you always wanted to share your music, be the center of attention, create great art? So why is your body in full panic mode?
Performance anxiety is extremely common and can be unrelated to talent or prepared-ness.
You can experience different levels at different times, often with no connection to reality.
And many performers never stop feeling like they’re going to throw up before hitting the stage.
The Tapping Method
Whether you only feel it occasionally or are in a complete panic before each and every show, there’s a powerful technique called ‘tapping’ which can work in as little as 30 seconds to normalize your heart rate and your confidence level.
I want to share with you the 3 tapping spots I use along with a simple eye-wiggling tech-nique to help eliminate your performance anxiety.
If you are bedeviled by the ornery beast of performance anxiety, try this method about 10 minutes before you go on and see if it helps. It can’t hurt!
Find a number from 0 to 10 which best describes your level of anxiety- 10 being the worst, 0 being you feel zero anxiety.
Take the third and fourth fingers of each hand and lightly tap on the ‘eye spot’, located on the bone just below the pupil of your eyes. Tap fairly slowly and lightly simultaneously with your left and right hand for at least 30 taps.
Take your fingertips and find the ‘rib spot’, located 3-4 inches straight below your arm pit, between your ribs. Tap simultaneously and with medium pressure for least 30 taps. If you have trouble reaching these spots, try crossing your arms around your front to access your rib spots.
Take your third and fourth fingers and find the ‘collarbone spot’ on your left and right side, in the divot below your collarbone, about 4-5” on either side of your sternum. Tap for at least 30 times.
Now visualize the situation which creates the anxiety and see if your first “anxiety level” number is the same or different. Whether it’s gone down or is still the same, go on to step 6.
Standing tall, close your lips, look straight ahead and without moving your head, wiggle your eyes slowly left to right, for a total of 4 times (e.g. L, R, L, R, L, R, L, R). Close your eyes, take a deep breath up your nose, exhale and open your eyes.
Look straight ahead and think about your problem. How do you feel? You’re likely to notice that you’re more calm, centered and best of all, much less anxious. REPEAT the eye wiggling 4 times.
If you find that one of the tapping spots is particularly soothing, go ahead and just tap that spot for as long as it’s pleasing.
Though the TFT (Thought Field Therapy) tapping protocols are much more detailed, this introduction to tapping and eye wiggling should allow you to see if it can work for you.
Now, you should know that this approach is considered a “fringe” treatment and that the American Psychological Association has pronounced that, to date, it lacks a scientific basis.
That may be true. However, I have to tell you that in 25 years of coaching with hundreds of clients, I’ve found it nothing short of miraculous for disconnecting the mind from the panic response.
If you want to want to learn more about TFT, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), there are many interesting videos to be found on YouTube.
Gina Latimerlo’s Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids
Justin Jennings – “Madness” by Muse (Cover)
Great voice and awesome take on this song. Those “finally”s seem tough and are going under in pitch. Try lifting your soft palate to create more space for those higher notes. Your soft palate is the soft part of the roof of your mouth in back where the uvula hangs down. Imagine the beginning of a yawn to open it. Also, lift your eyebrows up (it will assist the soft palate – as the same part of your brain controls both your soft palate and your eyebrows). Open your eyes and imagine the notes coming straight out of you (not up, straight). It’ll be there.
Bluemarin – “The Day I Left” (Original)
I love this rock and blues feel! You have great emotion and intensity in your vocal and instrumental performances. For an even rockier vocal sound, form your mouth into a square shape. Think Mick Jagger, but it doesn’t have to look as extreme. This will shape the pathway for the sound waves (as they travel from your vocal cords to your lips) into a configuration that will give you both a really thick resonance and an strong edge to your sound. The high notes will be easier, too, if you stop your chin from kicking up on them – leave it even to the ground.
Dying Seed – “You’ve Really Got a Hold” (Cover)
I appreciate the the forward, intense placement of your voice. At times, it becomes a little extra nasal and bright. This is because the corners of your mouth tend to stay pulled back into a smile. If you keep your mouth and lips more relaxed, you’ll keep that awesome forward, intense sound without the extra nasality. It also took you a few lines to find your vocal placement. Starting off can be hard. Before starting to record, sing a couple lines from the middle of song that you feel confident about. This will help you find your placement. Then start at the top.
Erik VanHoozier – “West Coast” (Cover)
You have a sweetness to your tone, and you are doing a good job managing the vocals and guitar. I’d love to hear more presence and clarity in your singing. Your speaking voice is clear and strong, but you allow too much air to come through your singing voice. So, try aligning your singing voice to your speaking voice. Speak a line from the song and then sing the same line. See if you can get them to feel like you are making the sound in the same way. Also, allow yourself to be really present in the song – feeling the emotions of the words as you sing them.
If you’re signed up to VoiceCouncil’s Peer-Review, you’ll be receiving unique coaching insights from Lisa Popeil for the next 4 weeks. Co-author with Lisa on Sing Anything – Mastering Vocal Styles, Gina Latimerlo, will be providing feedback on our Peer Review Videos. You can sign up now.
Lisa Popeil is one of LA’s top voice coaches. She is the creator of the Voiceworks® Method, the Total Singer DVD, and the ‘Daily Vocal Workout for Pop Singers’ CDs, conducts cutting-edge voice research, lectures internationally and is a vocal health consultant. Lisa is a voting member of NARAS, the Grammy® organization, ASCAP, SAG-AFTRA and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. www.popeil.com
Gina Latimerlo is a polished performer of over 20 years. Her students have performed on Broadway, in touring companies, and have signed with talent agents, record labels, and national producers. The Latimerlo Studio also oversees singing classes in over a dozen cities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her book with Lisa Popeil, Sing Anything – Mastering Vocal Styles, has sold internationally and throughout the US. Sign up for Peer Review.