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Singing Nerves


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Hey

I've put this in here instead of Dating and Shy People...because this has nothing to do with dating whatsoever - and if I could overcome this I would see it as Personal Growth!

 

Right. Well, I love to sing, as do a lot of people! I've always loved singing, and always have sung. I could hardly not - I have a very musical family, and my mum has an amazing voice. I'm in a choir at church (it's a folk choir though - my mum and I play guitar also), had singing lessons for about 3 years ("classical" training I guess...I learnt how to sing songs from musicals), and am in a different choir with my mum and sister that does a large range of things - from Robbie Williams, to Karl Jenkins, to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

 

I don't have a bad voice. I'm not being arrogant - I just know that it can be good, and is better than some. It was at it's best whilst I was in singing lessons, but that was because they were one-to-one. But now I'm in this other choir and my self-confidence has gone back to what it was before my lessons. Most of the time I don't have to worry about it - until recently.

 

We've started a new song. We're separated in Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. I'm a soprano. In this particular song the choir...guy, chose me to sing the soprano solo. The first time we ever went through it and I had to sing alone, I thought I was going to black out. I could feel my heart pumping so hard, I was shaking like crazy, which led to my voice being quiet and shaky also. I felt like bursting into tears the whole time. Today was the second time we did it, and I spent the whole week psyching myself up for it, and ok, it wasn't as bad as before, but there were moments just like before. If I screw up somehow I can't let go of it and so everything else after that suffers until the others come in and I get a chance to calm down before starting solo again.

 

What can I do to stop this? I'd love to sing in front of people, I daydream about it all the time - but even when I do karaoke I feel physically sick afterwards. I couldn't even sing to my ex, though I desperately wanted to (obviously, whilst we were together. I don't wish to serenade him now). I try a load of calming techniques I learnt when I did drama for 4 years - all the breathing beforehand, stroking soft areas of skin and pulse points. It didn't work. Anything else? Please.

 

Sorry it's long..

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What a wonderful talent to have!

 

And stagefright, so to speak, is perfectly normal. As you progress in your comfort level with performing, this will disappear (and hopefully you won't turn into a diva, lol!)

 

Now, it seems your singing lessons instilled some confidence in you. Are you still taking them? If not, maybe resuming them for a little bit will help. Even if you don't really need them anymore, but just to loosen you up a bit again.

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I had to give them up because I was going to uni. The timing was great, as my singing teacher was moving to Australia as well! I can't afford to start having them again - and I don't know if I would want to start with a new teacher even if I could. Marcus was amazing - everything was constructive criticism and he because he never piled on compliments, when he did, you knew it meant something.

 

Lol, I can only try not to become a diva! One of my best friends is a singer-songwriter, and she's absolutely amazing - 3 years younger than me, but you wouldn't know it to listen to her. That makes it kind of difficult as well - even though the way we each sing is completely different I can't help thinking "Ok, this sounds alright - but it's just not Kelly is it?"

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Oh believe me - I do! When I'm at home, or anywhere alone - I sing loud and proud and ALL THE TIME. Even tonight in the car on the way home - I was singing along to the cd with my mum and sister like no one's business! I just can't transfer it accross to singing in front of people.

 

Thank you so much for your help - sorry if I'm being difficult!

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I used to be a semi-professional classical singer, and also had a brief spell as a concert pianist, and I can entirely sympathise with the nerves; it's really quite natural.

 

Three possibilities

 

(1) Graduated exposure: find the person you're least afraid to sing in front of, and sing to them a few times. Then the next least person, and sing to them a few times, then the next person etc.. You'll hate it every time you move up, but you'll get more used to it, and less afraid the more exposure you have.

 

(2) Practice, as Scout says! The more thoroughly familiar you are with something, the less you have to feel the dangers of every note at the time, the more confidence you will have.

 

(3) Focus on the positive, which in this context means try very hard to resist the temptation to see it as an obstacle course, i.e. something to get through, and if you make it to the end without tripping up, it's a great relief. Instead, see if you can visualise is as an opportunity to move people, to communicate to people, to let people see what YOU have to say, musically. It isn't something to get through, to survive, it's an opportunity to tell people something, to make them listen to you. Take it.

 

I know you'll be great, and believe me, it will get better over time.

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Wow, that's great!

 

Okay, number 1 does terrify me to the pits of my soul to some extent...I guess practising that song with my mum and sister will be easier. We've done that before, and I'm the only soprano of the three of us so I sing alone then.

I have just put the songs on my computer so I can get more familiar with the notes.

I very much like the idea of 3, and hope I remember it next week! It will be difficult to convey a particular meaning in this song...the words aren't real words (it's Cantus Iteratus by Karl Jenkins...a song from the same set as Adiemus which was on a British Airways advert awhile ago? I'm pretty sure you'd recognise it if you heard it) but I reckon I can try and find my own meaning to them...if you get me? Make it mean something to me, and get that message through instead.

 

Thank you

xxxx

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