A footballer will not be match fit until he has played a few games. You have to get gig fit –says Mark De-Lisser.
The biggest cause of anxiety for singers is what other people think of them.
When we listen to a singer, in our heads we may be thinking “they’re not standing properly” or “they don’t sing in tune” or “their tone isn’t so great”.
So ultimately, when we get up to sing, we think other people are thinking those exact same thoughts about us.
This decreases confidence instantly! You feel judged and you like you can never perform at your best. It was great in rehearsals but in front of a judgmental crowd you feel stressed.
How can singers overcome this?
The easiest way to reduce this anxiety is to stop judging other singers. Critical thought, e.g. “that song lacked dynamic” is different to judgement, e.g. “she’s just rubbish”.
Society got us in this mess via TV talent shows. Everybody has an opinion! There are so many talented singers with no confidence because someone somewhere told them they’re not good enough. Everybody should be given the opportunity and freedom to sing.
Every time you judge someone, expect someone to do it back to you.
Go out of your way to support people. Give other singers compliments, so when it’s your turn to step onto the stage you are in a positive mind set to allow the performance to naturally unfold.
The second thing to reduce performance anxiety is to rehearse! Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
Don’t learn it until you get it right, learn it until you cannot get it wrong.
If you go onstage without much rehearsal you are going to feel under confident because you do not know the song 100%. If you know the song 100% you can focus on other things like emotional delivery and conveying a message.
Get on stage more often!
New audiences can cause the best singer to fall back into bad habits and old ways. When you get comfortable with a particular show or band you gain confidence which in turn improves your technique.
Get into the habit of performing in front of different audiences in different spaces – try open mics, jam sessions or performance workshops. The more you do it, the easier it will be.
When I am on an audition panel, I can tell the ones who have been singing for a long time and are gig fit. Their confidence is undeniable. You can tell the ones who have never done a gig in their life.
Reality TV gives the impression that someone can be spotted just by walking down the street – this doesn’t happen in the real world.
A young singer asked me once: “How can I become the greatest singer in the world?”
I said “You have to sing more than you speak. Sing when you wake up, sing in the shower, have singing lessons, join a choir, sing as if you cannot live without it. Then you will be a great singer”.
Janine Le Clair gives feedback on the competition entries this month:
My Reaction to This Week's Singing Competition Entry
Rose Estrito - All Of Me
Rose, You have quite a beautiful tone, lovely pitch control and you seem nice and relaxed. From a technical standpoint, your tongue and jaw are nice & loose – which is important. In my opinion, to deliver this song in a more modern fashion, you need to bring your resonance forward, so it matches more of the commercial tone we’re used to. You can have different placements throughout the song, but as a whole, you’ll want to sing less in the middle/back of the throat and more ‘out of your mouth’. Certain articulation can assist in this execution as well. For example, around 2:00min, the ‘C’ in ‘can’t stop’ – if you were to use the back of your tongue in a stronger fashion to really enunciate that ‘C’ sound, it would launch your resonance forward and add a new tone, plus a nice crisp pronunciation which – in a way – adds rhythm to the phrasing. Great job!
Mark De-Lisser is a vocal coach, vocal arranger, choir leader and vocal producer who has worked with some of the top vocal talent in contemporary music today including Jessie J, Olly Murs and Beverly Knight. Mark has taught at many recognized music institutions and held several high profile TV roles. Mark leads the renowned ACM Gospel Choir and Singology community choirs across London. Find out more on Mark’s website.
Janine Le Clair is a soulful Country recording artist, an international award winning vocalist and renowned vocal coach. A published writer with SSM Nashville since 2009, she has had many cuts with American Country Artists and several Top 15 hits in Australia including Natalie Howard’s ‘The Girlfriend’, 3rd Wheel’s ‘Gettin’ Hitched’ and her own single, ‘Bulletproof’. Le Clair is a dual citizen of Canada and Australia.
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