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Solve Performance Fears

Knowing the difference between nerves & fear will change your next performance –says Daniel Borch

Being nervous before a gig is natural.

In fact, the adrenalin surge that accompanies pre-gig nerves is often beneficial,
heightening your awareness and focus, sharpening your senses and improving your reaction times.

So far, so good.

But what happens when your nerves take over to the point where you become paralysed with fear?

We become nervous because we are afraid of not being able to live up to the expectations we believe other people have of us.

I think we need to distinguish between nerves and fear.

Nerves: Where our adrenaline leads to positive consequences including enhanced performance.

Fear: Where our energy spills over into negative consequences, including less effective performance.

Where Your Fear Comes From

Fear is a primal reaction inherited from our cavemen ancestors, developed in response to the daily threat of winding up on some predator’s menu.

The body responds to being nervous and being afraid in the same way. The only difference is the amount of the chemicals secreted and our ability to control our reactions.

These reactions include a dry mouth, tense muscles, hyperventilation or butterflies in your stomach.

In addition to these, vital muscles in the larynx contract affecting our vocal control.

This results in fatigue that prevents your voice from reaching its full potential.

So what can we do to stop our thoughts running away with us so that we only experience the positive effects of nerves?

The answer will vary from person to person but I want to give you one technique that I’ve seen help singers I work with.

A Solution to Fear: Visualising Your Performance

Visualise the entire situation on the morning of the day of your next performance.

First, sit comfortably, make sure things are quiet around you and close
your eyes!

Now, run through the whole gig in real time including the time in between your songs. As you do so, ask yourself these questions.

– What does the gig venue look like?
– Who do you think will be there?
– Where will the people you know in the audience sit?

Imagine the ideal performance where everything you do works perfectly!

Finally if you aren’t feeling totally fantastic about things, accept this and trust that your performance will still be good enough!

My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vid

Sarah Dooley – Bruno Mars (Cover)

Hi Sarah, you have a really nice voice. I want you try to find more of your own unique way of interpreting the song. As a first step toward this, I want you to try singing it without such embellishments as riffing, loud breathing, etc. and simply concentrate on the lyrics. When you have found a way of telling us he story of the lyrics, then you can add the vocal garnishing.

See VoiceCouncil’s Feature Interview with Daniel Borch

Daniel Zangger Borch is one of Sweden’s most recognised vocal coaches. He has been a regular on adjudicating panels for popular TV shows such as ‘Idol’, ‘True Talent’ and ‘X-Factor’. He is also a professional singer, recording artist (with seven albums) and songwriter. Daniel holds a PhD in Music performance and is Head of the Voice Centre, Stockholm. His book “The Ultimate Vocal Voyage” has been released internationally. Hear more about Daniel’s career.
Daniel’s Ultimate Vocal Voyage on Amazon