How to Sing When Nervous: Breathing When Singing

How to Sing When Nervous: Breathing When Singing


Do you know that feeling when you are about
to go onto the stage but your body does not cooperate? Your heart is pumping. You cannot remember lyrics to any of your songs. Your hands and voice are shaking. It’s very hard to breathe. How are you going to sing with such heavy
breathing? How are you going to perform when your legs
are shaking? Well, let me tell you what you can do before
you enter that stage and how to sing when nervous. Hi and welcome to another video. I am Katarina from How 2 Improve Singing and
if you are here for the first time, click the subscribe button and the bell icon to
stay in the loop so that you don’t miss out on any singing advice and tips from this
channel. In today’s video, we are going to talk about
nerves and what to do about them before going on the stage. First, let’s talk about signs and symptoms
of performance anxiety. Do you get nervous right before performing? What are your symptoms? Do you sweat buckets but your mouth is dry? Do you shake? Does your heart rate go up? Do you get stiff or do you collapse? Does your throat feel tight? Do you have tunnel vision? These are all signs and symptoms of stage
fright and there are many, many more that range from small facial ticks and mild breathing
problems to severe problems, like throwing up and inability to sing. My symptoms are very similar: my heart pumps
hundred miles per hour, my mouth is dry, and my breathing becomes very heavy and shallow
in spite of me practicing low and deep breathing every day. It seems that my body has a mind of its own. Why? Why is this happening? Our bodies perceive the situation as dangerous
and a fight-or-flight response is triggered. If our mind feels in danger, it will initiate
a protective response that prepares our bodies for heavy action, not really realizing that
the response may be completely out of proportions. So, this is nice to know but what can you
do to reduce your performance anxiety? And how can you breathe when nervous? Here are 5 tips you can do well in advance,
a few minutes before entering the stage or on the stage to counteract your body response:
Tip 1 Prepare Mentally Being prepared physically for your performance
is a must. I mean you need to know your song, music,
lyrics, everything well. That goes without saying. If you are well prepared, you may have less
anxiety about performing. But many singers skip mental preparation. Visualization is a powerful tool to overcome
stage fright. Visualize yourself on the stage singing your
song. Visualize how you sing the song, visualize
your every movement, visualize yourself using good technique. And most of all visualize yourself being successful
on the stage. Create a positive image of yourself on the
stage, which will counteract your negative inner talk. Many singers focus on the negative parts of
the performance, things that can go wrong, things that are out of their control like:
What is the audience going to think? To quiet this negative voice, use visualization. Imagine audience enjoying your performance. And by the way, the audience is there to have
fun, not to judge you. I made a video about silent practice, in which
I talk more about visualization. Click the link here to watch it. Tip 2 Get Physical Shortly before going on stage, do something physical to wake up your whole body. You know that your instrument is your whole
body, not just your voice. So, prepare it for the performance. Move around, jump up and down, walk the stairs,
do jumping-jacks. Anything that will warm up your muscles, increase
your heart rate, deepen your breathing and shift your focus to your body. When you do physical movements, it is hard
to think about what is going to happen on stage. Also, do some neck stretches, tongue stretches,
arm and back stretches to release tension. Pay attention to your body while doing these
exercises. Tip 3 Ground Yourself And Stay In The Moment
A few minutes before going on stage, ground yourself. Stand tall and wide and feel the support under
your feet. Soften your knees and feel the heaviness of
your pelvis that will bring your centre even more down towards the ground. Once you are grounded, start focusing on your
breathing. Inhale deeply for the count of 6. Release your abdomen to allow for the diaphragm
to descend. Notice how your breath is entering your body. Sustain for two counts, then exhale for the
count of 6. Listen how your breath leaves your body. Focusing on your breath and counting will
help you stay in the moment. Every time, your mind wanders, bring your
focus back to your breathing. Slowly and surely, your breath will deepen
and slow down. Your mind will stay in the present moment
and you will not be thinking about what is going to happen or what happened in the past. Those kinds of thoughts may increase your
anxiety but you can keep them at bay by focusing on your slow and deep breath. Tip 4 Get Through the First Part
As you take centre stage (literally), focus on getting thought the first part. For some people it may be the first phrase,
for others it can be 30 seconds or a minute. But once you get into the swing of singing,
your anxiety will diminish and you will be able to finish strong. When preparing for your performance, rehearse
the first part mentally, if it helps. Right when you start singing, focus on what
needs to be done. Remind yourself of breathing deeply and keeping
your instrument open. Tip 5 Focus on Proper Alignment and Smile
Did you know that standing tall and wide with open chest tricks your mind into feeling more
confident than you may be in reality? Yes, scientists confirmed that good body alignment,
which communicates confidence, actually gives a person confidence in his or her thoughts. Combine that with a smile and you have a good
starting point to decrease performance anxiety. A smile activates facial muscles, which in
turn triggers release of endorphins, so called feel-good hormones. Also, a smile will trigger a positive reaction
in your audience. Smile is contagious, so share your smile with
the audience. It will make you feel better. Bonus tip
The more you perform, the better you get at controlling your breathing and anxiety on
stage. Find opportunities to perform. You can start with your family and friends,
then perform in smaller groups before you get on big stage. Your anxiety will probably never go away but
you will be able to accept it and control it better with more experience. Many singers create their own rituals that
help them calm the nerves and prepare them for the performance. Figure out what works for you and what does
not. And one more thing. Once you are on the stage and things don’t
go as planned, just go with the flow. Enjoy the process as much as you can, and
don’t worry about the outcome. So, what do you think? In the comments below, let me know if you
feel nervous when on stage and what you do to calm yourself before or during the performance. Thanks for watching. If you liked this video, click the like button
and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel for more videos about singing. Hope to see you in the next one. Bye

22 Replies to “How to Sing When Nervous: Breathing When Singing”

  1. I love these tips as they really work, the energy that you set up for yourself, like with visualization as you mention, creates the stage in advance so that you can step right into that calm, confident energy to be able to share your talent.

  2. Cindy-lou Schmidt | RE/MAX | Schmidt & Company Inc., Real Estate Group | Kitchener, Waterloo, & area says:

    I definitely know this feeling— every time I can't remember the name of a song and I try to sing it to my husband lol

  3. Thank you for these tips Katarina. This was totally me thinking about all the things that will go wrong instead of of just seeing everything going right. Thank you for the reminder.

  4. Excellent information, Katarina. I will share this in the Facebook women musician group I am part of. I like how you find the practical common sense solutions to singer's problems. Thanks again!

  5. I love your solid, down-to-earth tips on combatting performance anxiety. Very practical, and it helps me see how I might actually be able to do this! 🙂 Thank you Katarina!

  6. Yes… I know this feeling!!!!!!!!!!!!!! omg. You are the Singing BOMB! I mean that in the best way. I love your videos…. I'm a musician in my former life!!! … and boy, you would have been a godsend back then… And you still are… I know you are talking of singing and I pay attention because I sing in a choir,…. but this is so great for any type of stage work and life too! Breathing is soooooo key … and standing tall… yup… I sometimes forget that one..>!!! Thanks for the great tips for signing and all life performing things. Great video Katarina!! as usual! ~Elizabeth 🙂

  7. All great tips! I like the visualization method too because you can do it when you're in a relaxed state before you step out on stage.

  8. I use to go with my Girlfriend to her performances every weekend. She would be so nervous but we all came to support her and go out front when she sings to make her feel comfortable. I bet Katarina never gets stage fright anymore 😉

  9. Thank you so
    Much for this . I really appreciate all the valuable help you are offering those who sing . God bless you

  10. For some reason I can present something in front of people but I can’t sing in front of people, I just get moderately nervous presenting but singing I get full blown nervous

  11. My students are enjoying your videos but they would like to hear you sing. Do you demonstrate your voice in any of your videos or have a performance channel?

  12. I wanna sing the National Anthem at a basketball game in 2 more days, but my voice gets shaky and too breathy when I’m nervous.. how do I get rid of it even just a little bit?

  13. Oh God I have a concert and it's my first one.My whole class will hear me,my friends my teachers and more.The most people that I dang in front was maximum 6.So this is a really huge step for me.I hope everything will be okay 👀

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