My Audition With The Voice – Can Stage Fright Be Controlled?

Abbie Stancato of Rockin' God's HouseI recently auditioned for the early rounds of The Voice. In the process I learned a great deal about myself. I’ve been performing professionally since I was a teenager. Additionally, I perform weekly as the music director at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. I am no stranger to the public platform. I have been blessed with a very good voice, and I want to use it as a means to allow others to discover Christ. I’ve always been nervous when undertaking big opportunity auditions and performances; however, looking back at some of my taped performances, no one could notice, not even me.

With such a huge platform and such seasoned judges, I feel my nerves, not my voice, may have cost me an opportunity. It’s not that I was unprepared; I was just UNCONTROLLABLY nervous.

On a forum I recently discovered, I was blessed to find a great response to the question “Can stage fright be controlled?” by Daun Weiss—an Instructor of Singing at California State University.

Daun said, “The number one cause for stage fright is lack of preparation. You said you were super prepared for your audition, so we don’t need to discuss that – except perhaps in the sense that preparation also means obtaining as much information about the audition specifics so you’re not surprised, and so that you can imagine performing in that setting with success. Literally imagine. Mentally rehearse in that situation.

“Stage fright is a physical reaction to your excitement and can be managed physically. Your body is trying to ‘fight or flight.’ The best physical method to calm down is to breathe. Practice measured breathing anytime you’re feeling all that adrenaline. Slowing down your breath slows down your heart (eventually) and teaches your brain you don’t need to keep producing adrenaline. But of course you can’t do that ON stage. You must practice measured breathing before you begin and remind yourself to take slow deep breaths while you sing.

“But what is causing that initial adrenaline? Our minds! There is so much to say about managing our thoughts and attitudes about performing. I will limit myself to my favorite two things.

“1. You know what you are capable of. You’ve heard your very worst day singing and your very best and every single increment between the two. But your audience and adjudicators have not. It’s just natural that you’re going to give a performance somewhere in between your best and your worst. And because of your preparation and excitement, you’ll likely give a very good performance. The audience wants you to succeed. (Those who like to see crashes go to races, not concerts!) And they will hear what they want to hear! Your success!

“2. (And this is my favorite mindset plan!!) You do what you do because you love it. It is your craft. You have carefully chosen music that you find beautiful and meaningful. You have practiced diligently. Now simply offer it to your audience as a carefully crafted gift. Give it generously and with great joy. It really doesn’t matter how it is received. The joy is in the giving.”

 Read Part Two – Stage Fright – Convert The Worried To Worship!