Stage fright: how to deal with it, and its possible benefits
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Even experienced, and renowned performers and public speakers, before going on a major performance, usually suffer various excitement symptoms, to the extent of feeling loss of control and powerlessness for minutes on end.
Such an anxiety may have some serious consequences, such as:
Higher blood pressure;
Higher heart rate;
Muscular laxity or excessive muscle tension;
High blood sugar level;
Nervous system invigoration;
Contraction of the intestines,
Widening of the pupils
Sense of fear
No doubt, it can sometimes feel very unpleasant.
Yet tension can also benefit you. Until you realize that, better stop feeling guilty for having all these intense anxiety symptoms-and anxiety is nearly always intense. Guilty feeling will get you nowhere. Instead, try to understand your condition. Moreover, if you carefully prepare for your performance, voice-wise as well as in all other aspects, excitement, rather that harm you, can drive you to unimaginable heights of success.
The benefits of tension
Whether you are a singer, a lecturer, a public speaker, or even a schoolteacher, tension can make you sound powerful, energetic and intriguing, in a way which could excite your listeners. An un-excited speaker, no matter how interesting his message may be, might bore the listener.
Excitement and “good” tension can raise your vocal muscles tonus. As a result, this will make his voice sound more interesting. On stage, as opposed to everyday life, restraint is not always appreciable. Every performer, lecturer or public speaker, tries to explode with sweeping, unbridled energy. Without such energy, one can never hope to win the hearts and minds of the audience.
In short, if you do not learn how to use this anxiety and tension, you may suffer hoarseness or any other discomforts before every major performance or public address.
The physical effects of stage fright:
An excessive buildup of tension, unless unreleased, can especially affect your jaw muscles and diaphragm, two essential parts of your vocal system.
Your lower jawbone is the largest facial bone, and if your jaw muscle get cramped, you may find it difficult to open your mouth. This is demonstrated when your jaw drops in a moment of amazement, due to muscle relaxation.
Tension can also contract your diaphragm. It is the diaphragm that regulates the airflow inside and out of your voice box. Consequently, its contraction will make your voice sound more restrained. During performance, your diaphragm must be relaxed and function smoothly. Therefore, if you find your vocal system “locked”, and you cannot make a single move, or achieve your usual vocal quality, it is probably due to diaphragm and jaw muscle contraction.
How can you overcome your stage fright?
Don’t worry-be happy!
In order to overcome this bad excitement, you must, first of all, start regarding excitement as an extraordinary opportunity to express yourself in a totally unrestrained manner, as opposed to your everyday self-expression.
On stage, whether you sing or speak, you must bring out your emotion and thoughts, using your voice. Fear of the unknown is a major cause of anxiety. Therefore, a most effective way to overcome it is imagining, down to the last detail, just how great you are going to do. Keep doing so until you are ready to handle the good excitement.
Relax your vocal muscles:
Yawn for a few minutes to release your jaw muscles, and move your jaws sideways until your jaw muscles feel relaxed.
Massage your upper back, the back of neck and shoulder blades. This area has many contracted muscles. It is better to ask somebody else to massage this place for you.
Before the performance, exercise your diaphragm, to make it more flexible. Otherwise, it will malfunction and restrain your voice. This should also help you feel more confident.
Most importantly, do not be so critical of yourself, and learn to accept yourself just the way you are. Think of yourself as a child who must stumble before he learns how to walk properly.
We, TMRG Voice Specialists, also recommend using TMRG herbal relaxation essence, to help you get rid of excessive tension, and get easy and energetic.