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#005: Rising Above the Rest: Learning to Sing Despite a History of Performance Anxiety

Rising Above the Rest: Learning to Sing Despite a History of Performance Anxiety - Rebecca Reid Vocal Studio

Performance anxiety, also known as stage fright, is a common fear among singers.

It is the feeling of nervousness or fear that can occur before or during a performance.

Performance anxiety can manifest as physical symptoms such as shaking, sweating, and a racing heart, as well as mental symptoms such as negative thoughts and self-doubt.

Dealing with performance anxiety can be a significant barrier for singers, as it can prevent them from fully expressing themselves and reaching their full potential on stage.

It can also lead to a lack of confidence and self-esteem, making it difficult for singers to pursue their passion and reach their goals.

In this blog post, we will explore the root causes of performance anxiety, as well as strategies and techniques to help singers overcome this challenge.

Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, learning to manage performance anxiety is crucial to achieving success as a singer.


Understanding the Root of Performance Anxiety

To effectively overcome performance anxiety, it’s important to understand what causes it.

For singers, common causes of performance anxiety include:

  • Fear of failure or making mistake

  • Fear of judgement or criticism from others

  • Perfectionism and the pressure to be perfect

  • Lack of preparation and self-doubt

  • Negative past experiences or memories associated with performing

Past experiences and negative self-talk can also play a significant role in the development and maintenance of performance anxiety.

For example, if a singer has had a previous bad performance experience (and it doesn’t have to be related to singing), they may associate performing with that negative experience and may become anxious at the thought of performing again.

Negative self-talk, such as constantly telling oneself that they are not good enough, can also contribute to performance anxiety by creating a cycle of self-doubt and lack of confidence.

It's important to note that performance anxiety is not a weakness, but rather a common experience among singers and performers.

By understanding the root causes of performance anxiety, singers can take steps to overcome it and achieve success on stage.


Overcoming Performance Anxiety

Managing anxiety in the moment

When the moment of performance arrives, singers can use various techniques to help manage anxiety.

One effective technique is deep breathing. Taking slow, deep breaths helps to calm the body and mind, and can also help to reduce physical symptoms of anxiety such as a racing heart and tension.

Visualisation is also a powerful tool for managing anxiety. This involves imagining a successful performance, and picturing oneself feeling calm and in control.

For the best results, incorporate performance anxiety managing strategies into your daily practice.

Long-term strategies for building confidence

Managing performance anxiety is not just about finding ways to cope in the moment, but also about building confidence and self-esteem over time.

Some long-term strategies for building confidence include:

  • Regular practice: Consistent practice helps to build skills and confidence, and can make a singer feel more prepared for a performance.

  • Singing lessons: Taking voice lessons can help a singer improve their singing technique and build confidence in their abilities.

  • Positive self-talk: Practicing positive self-talk and challenging negative thoughts can help to build self-esteem and confidence.

  • Finding a supportive community: Surrounding oneself with supportive people who encourage and believe in you can help to build confidence and reduce anxiety.

It's important to note that it takes time and consistent effort to overcome performance anxiety, but with the right strategies and techniques, singers can learn to manage and eventually overcome their anxiety.


Professional Help

While self-help strategies and techniques can be effective in managing and overcoming performance anxiety, sometimes professional help is needed.

Singers may want to consider seeking professional help if their performance anxiety is severe and impacting their daily life, if they've tried self-help strategies but haven't seen improvement, or if they have a co-occurring mental health condition, such as depression or social anxiety disorder.


A therapist or counsellor can help singers to identify and understand the root causes of their performance anxiety, and develop strategies to manage and overcome it.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a particularly effective form of therapy for treating performance anxiety.

CBT helps individuals to recognise and change negative thought patterns and beliefs that may be contributing to their anxiety.

Hypnotherapy for Performance Anxiety

Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy that uses hypnosis, or a trance-like state, to help individuals overcome challenges, including performance anxiety.

In the context of performance anxiety, licensed and qualified hypnotherapist can help singers:

  • Change negative thought patterns: By inducing a trance-like state, hypnotherapy allows singers to access their subconscious mind and change negative thought patterns that contribute to performance anxiety. For example, a hypnotist may help a singer replace thoughts of failure and embarrassment with thoughts of confidence and success.

  • Boost confidence: Hypnotherapy can help singers build confidence by helping them develop a positive self-image and improve their self-esteem. This can be particularly useful for singers who struggle with negative self-talk or low self-esteem.

  • Reduce physical symptoms: Performance anxiety can manifest physically, such as through increased heart rate, sweating, and shaking. Hypnotherapy can help reduce these physical symptoms by teaching singers techniques to manage anxiety and reduce stress.

  • Visualise success: Hypnotherapy can help singers visualise themselves successfully performing on stage. This visualisation can help them develop a stronger sense of confidence and prepare them mentally for the performance.

It's important to note that hypnotherapy is not a one-time fix and typically requires multiple sessions to see results.


In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage symptoms of performance anxiety.

Medications such as antidepressants or beta-blockers can help to reduce physical symptoms of anxiety, such as a racing heart.

However, it's important to note that medication can impact an emotional expressive performance and should be used in conjunction with therapy, and not as a standalone treatment.

It's important to remember that seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a proactive step towards overcoming performance anxiety and achieving success as a singer.

With the right support and treatment, singers can learn to manage and eventually overcome their performance anxiety and reach their full potential.


Performance anxiety can be a significant obstacle for singers, but it’s important to remember that it is a common experience and one that can be overcome with time, the right strategies and support.

By understanding the root cause of performance anxiety, managing anxiety in the moment, building confidence over time and seeking professional help when needed, singers can work towards overcoming their performance anxiety and achieving success on stage.

It’s important to remember that overcoming performance anxiety is not a one-time fix, but a continuous process that requires effort and dedication.

It’s normal to have setbacks and challenges, but by keeping a positive attitude and preserving, singers can achieve their goals and rise above their performance anxiety.

Found this blog post helpful? Give it a like, share it with your friends, and leave a comment below to let me know how it benefited you!

* Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional or medical advice. Singers and professional voice users should always consult with qualified professionals, such as singing teachers or medical practitioners before making any decisions or taking any actions related to their vocal health and wellbeing.


Further Reading

If you enjoyed reading this post, here are some other blog posts you might find interesting:

Don't let performance anxiety hold you back from your dream of singing! Learn how to overcome performance anxiety and rise above the rest with this helpful guide. Discover common causes, effective techniques for managing anxiety, and long-term strategies for building confidence. #performanceanxiety #singers #overcominganxiety

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