Kat vs stage fright
Today was - yet again - one of these "big days". We've given a concert, yaay. Since I've been on stage since I was roundabout seven years old it's not been that special today, especially since it was only one song, but I thought I'd share my experiences and my tricks to fight stage fright with you.
When it comes to performing on stage, we probably all feel a little nervous. Also when we're supposed to give a presentation or have our oral exams. I've never been a massive fan of any of these, and I still have problems speaking out in front of larger groups when I have a bad day. But if I'm prepared well enough, I manage it.
Being prepared well enough is actually the core. It's never easy to perform any kind of anything in front of other people, but if you know what you're doing, it makes it a lot easier. Practising what you have to present might sometimes seem like it's a waste of time, but you'll be more relaxed when you know your words, your chords or whatever you need to know.
Over time, I learnd to see a mirror as my best friend, especially when it comes to presentations. Talking to yourself may seem utterly weird, but if you keep repeating your presentation while looking at yourself you'll later on look at your audience more often with might give you some bonus points.
Staying with mirrors - another thing that boosts your self confidence on stage or during presentations is feeling good and pretty. I usually feel a lot better when I know that I look nice and have a decent make-up on that makes me look prettier than I actually am, and feeling better makes me also feel way more relaxed. In addition to that, I usually take a hot bubble bath the evening before the presentation or a couple of hours before the concert. It just calms me down and helps me not to immediately freak out when I see how many people I have to entertain.
Tip number three is comfy clothing. It's never a good idea to wear something you don't feel uncomfortable in when you're nervous anyway. But especially when it comes to theatre, you sometimes have to wear things you don't really like. For me as a musician, I usually have to wear completely black clothing, and I often have to wear long-sleeved tops. I used to hate that. But I tried to integrate those kinds of clothing into my everyday wardrobe and today I usually wear mostly black clothing. Due to that, I feel like it's just a normal day when there's a concert coming up, since I'm just wearing my normal clothes. It kind of feels a bit like just practising our songs and pieces in front of a couple (or twohundred) people.
What also helps me to keep calm is my favourite foods and drinks. I usually have a spinach pizza before any kind of concert and carry cocoa around with me. It just makes me feel good to have my favourite things to eat and drink, and a happy Kat is not that nervous as an unhappy Kat.
Now obviously not all of these things might help everybody. I had to find my own routine that helped me fighting anxiety and nervosity when it comes to presenting things. It takes a lot of effort to build up enough self confidence to just perform whatever you have to perform without being nervous at all.
When you're doing that kind of thing again and again and again, you'll get into some kind of routine that'll calm you down. It won't help for the beginning, but it will later on. Also, what I noticed, is, that most people are afraid of the beginning of their act, afraid of the first word to say. By time you'll eventually get into what you're doing and forget about those who are listening.
For me, I've come to a point where I'm not nervous about playing the violin in front of people anymore at all. I've been playing that instrument for now almost 15 years and I don't even know how many concerts I gave anymore. It's been a lot. But I got used to my orchestra, to the people I work with, and I actually start enjoying giving concerts with them. Panic comes up when I'm on my own on stage. But I always try to manage it, no matter how bad it is. In the end, I'm always glad that I did it and didn't just say "oh no I can't, I'm ill" or any other kind of lame excuse.
In the end, we all are proud of ourselves since we managed something we were so anxious about doing. Sometimes the thought of it all being done is the most helpful thing, apart from knowing what you're supposed to do.