Performing in front of an audience is always nerve-wracking, whether you’re a seasoned pro or it’s your first time on stage. This is why so many musicians, actors and comedians have pre-show rituals to help them prepare. If you don’t yet have your own ritual, try some of these suggestions.
If you’ve just booked a big show, it’s a good idea to hit a few open mics and get used to singing in front of people. Open mics are low-stakes. People use these gatherings as opportunities to test new material and to work through their nerves, so no one will judge you for making mistakes. It’s not enough to play perfect sets in your bedroom by yourself. You’d be surprised by how much of a difference it makes to play in front of other people. It’s a lot easier to miss notes and forget lyrics when you have a room full of people watching you, and open mics give you the opportunity to get that out of your system.
A few days before the gig, upload some video or audio recordings of your music. They don’t have to be high quality; phone recordings are fine. People are more likely to come to your show if they’ve heard your music in advance. It will also boost your confidence to see positive reactions to your music, and that will make you less nervous about performing the songs live.
Let It Rip
We don’t condone heavy drug use, but go ahead and take a few bong hits if you think it will help you relax. Some companies, like Mile High Pipe and Tobacco, know that getting a little high can help you shut out distractions. This will allow you to focus your attention on playing music. It’s easy to speed up and spoil the mood of your songs when you’re nervous. Having a bit of a buzz will help you slow down.
Playing solo can be very lonely. You don’t have anyone to bounce your energy off of when you’re playing, and there’s no other object for the audience’s focus. Ask someone to drum for you or play backup guitar to add dimension to your music and make you feel less isolated. It helps the nerves to feel like someone else is taking the same risk you are.
Performing music is one of the most rewarding things that an artist can experience. Experiment with different ways to reduce your pre-show stress so you can focus on enjoying your moment in the spotlight.