Do Your Homework
Everybody dreams of performing for others, but when it comes down to it, you are often nervous and disappointed in what you are able to do, or you chicken out completely and give up on the idea. What to do?
While it is true that there’s no better way to learn how to perform than to “just do it”, there is a great deal you can do beforehand to give yourself a leg up. The most important gift you can give yourself is to DO YOUR HOMEWORK. If you can’t sing that song just the way you want to when you practice at home, it will fall apart when you present it in public. So…
- KNOW THE SONG by memory front to back. This seems obvious, but somehow people overlook it. Anyplace where you routinely stumble needs extra practice until you no longer trip over it.
- KNOW THE ACCOMPANIMENT and practice with your accompanist several times.
- DON’T PLAN ON “WINGING IT”. Know what you need to do to sing it well…where you take your breaths, what modifications you make for the high notes, where you have had difficulties with muscle tension, etc. When you are nervous, you fall back upon habit, so all of the techniques you use to sing this song well had better be habits.
“FAKE IT ‘TILL YOU MAKE IT”. All skilled performers know that you must look confident even when you are not sure of yourself. Your audience will like you if you seem comfortable. Sing your song looking into the mirror…horrifying at first, but do it. Are you smiling, does your face express the words, or does it express terror? Are you stiff as a board, or do you have a few gestures that help express the song? Teach yourself to look as though you are relaxed and having a great time, and you know what? You will begin to feel that way.