How can I live my dream if I'm scared?OK so I want to major in music. Playing guitar and piano...maybe be a composer...I'm not sure yet. I do know I really want to perform but I absolutely fear...

How can I live my dream if I'm scared?

OK so I want to major in music. Playing guitar and piano...maybe be a composer...I'm not sure yet. I do know I really want to perform but I absolutely fear singing by myself in front of people. I've been told I have a pretty voice and that I'm good...but how can I get to the point I'm completely past this fear? I'm a junior and I'm in choir and I do fine singing with my choir members..but when it comes to auditioning for a solo I freak out and do terrible. I really need help because if i can't do it now how will i audition for colleges?

Expert Answers
maadhav19 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Practice, practice, like others have said. In front of friends or in front of family at first, or even ask your fellow musicians to let you do practice auditions - and offer to return the favor. In grad school we had an annual in-house student conference so we could practice delivering papers and answering questions before going out to professional conferences.

I had a pretty severe fear of public speaking when I was younger. I was terrified when I first started teaching. For the first semester it would take me a whole day to work up to it, then a whole day to decompress afterward, and usually by then I would have to lecture again. I would spend a day or two preppign what I was going to say, going over the material again and again. Eventually it got so I could speak without my notes, and they became a "prop" so I wouldn't get nervous and worry about forgetting what I would say. Also, after teaching a couple of classes each week, I did eventually get accustomed to it. I had a semester when I had several classes every day, and had no time for the lengthy preparation and letdown; that semester i just got used to going from class to class and trusting that i knew what i was doing. I still get just a tad nervous stepping in front of a class, but I don't need the lengthy psychological prep anymore. And sometimes I've been in the position where I've had to go into a lecture cold or with minimal prep and managed to keep organized and on task simply through repeated practice.

I hope this helps some. One more thing: if you remember you know what you are doing, it heps to forget everyone out there. Good luck!

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Stage fright (or glossophobia) is something that even superstar performers have learned to overcome. Barbra Streisand is one example. Streisand hated giving live performances and often eliminated touring to promote her albums because of her fear. I have also performed on stage as both a singer, actor and musician, and occasionally stage fright popped up. I used to focus on NEVER looking audience members in the eyes, instead staring above their heads into the darkness of the theatre or auditorium. I can tell you that the more you perform in front of people, the less conspicuous you will feel. Don't even consider giving up because of this phobia--your fears can be alleviated.

Here are several links that suggest ways to eliminate stage fright.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I usually overcome fears like this by polling as many people as possible to verify that I'm as good as I think I am.  It helps me boost my confidence when others boost it for me.  Sounds arrogant, now, but it does work.

I encourage you to sing/play in front of your friends and family as much as possible.  Then, when you are in front of strangers, try to imagine that you are still in front of friends.  Also, when it comes to college auditions, if at all possible, network beforehand and try to meet some of the people who will be judging you.  I'm very good friends with a woman who is earning her PhD in choral conducting, and has not only gone through many of these auditions, but now, sat through and judged many more.  I'm sure to a stranger she seems intimidating, but anyone who has ever met her in real life would not be scared, she's that down to earth and kind.  I imagine most in the industry are actually in your corner, and not against you.  They are looking for talent but willing to praise all attempts because they are usually just passionate about music and others who are also.

Consider your judges future peers.  Have confidence in yourself.  Fake it till you feel it.  It really does come with experience and practice.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you want to major in music then you should focus on the music itself.  If it is what you love, then that passion may be able to carry you over some of the fear. I am sure you have some nerves before all performances, even in full choir settings -- pay attention to how you work those smaller butterflies and apply those strategies to the solo efforts.  Do you take some deep breaths? Do you focus on director or some other focal point? I would also encourage you to practice the performance aspect of this major in the ways in which you are most comfortable.  If you are comfortable in a group -- then you can always be in a band -- no need to be the lead singer!  Learn as much as you can and practice as much as possible because knowledge and experience can be powerful influences on your performances.

pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am confused - do you want to major in voice? Normally, colleges have you audition only on your major instrument. Is that voice, piano, or guitar? While having multiple instruments is desirable, you will have to choose one to concentrate on to get into most music programs.

Fear of performing is not uncommon, and what others here have said is true; the more you do it, the easier it will get. You might want to consider a few voice lessons, either individually or with a small group, perhaps 3-5 people (which makes it less expensive). You also can practice in front of a webcam and record yourself when no one is around to perform for. This makes most people very uncomfortable at first, but if you can get used to doing it, it will help to desensitize you.

belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If it is a fear of performance, you must push past it to live your dream. How powerful is the dream itself? Is it something you would like to do or something that you must do? Small performances in front of friends and family will help you get past your initial fears. Remember, you are not really performing for anyone but yourself. If you love what you are doing and want to succeed, you need to push yourself, be cruel to yourself, and believe that you can succeed even if you are sure you will fail.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You have to practice.  The more your practice performing, the better you will get at it.  In time, you won't be as nervous.  Remember that even regular performers are often nervous.  Start with local talent shows, when most of the contestants are terrible.  Then there won't be as much pressure.

dogtracks | Student

First, you need to recognize that this is indeed one of the fears you have. If you already accept this particular fear as the absolute truth, then there is no way to face that particular fear and hence no way to overcome it. For example, say you want to start a business, but you are afraid of taking risks. Every time someone talks to you about starting a business, your immediate response is “Oh, that’s too risky for me”. In this instance, you have so internalized the fear of taking risks that you don’t even recognize it as one of your fears anymore. In your world, it becomes an absolute truth that starting a business = bad. You no longer recall why or how you came to that conclusion, just that it is.

To get rid of the fear, simply figure out what you will do in each of the possible scenarios. For example, for the fear of asking someone out on a date, figure out what you would do if he/she says yes, he/she says no, he/she says yes with a smile, he/she says no with a smile, he/she throws a glass of water at you, etc. Once you know exactly how to handle every single situation, there is simply nothing to be afraid of anymore.

posted by dogtracks

lalala18 | Student

Hi! I am also a performer with stage fright! I love singing, and everyone who hears me says I'm good, but when it comes to solo's I flip out!

My best advice to you is:

Pray. Nothing cures anything in life like praying. If you're not a believer, then just don't let your fear control you. Don't think of "Oh, what if I mess up?" "Oh, what if I miss my entrance?" "Oh, what if"  The "What if's" before performing will always screw you over. Instead, think exactly how you want your performance to go, visualize every detail in your mind. Then just act out what you visualized.  But don't be cocky. Don't be like "I am gonna rock this!" "I am so good!" "Just wait till they hear ME!" Just be yourself, and throw your fear away. But most of all, pray.

Good luck, and I hope this was helpful!!! :)

jess1999 | Student

As a piano player myself I definitely get stressed out during my recitals. To help with this though I usually have two spoons of honey, I don't know why but I've been told that it helps a lot ( which it does ). Also I tend to freak out before I play by telling myself negative thoughts, so I try to avoid doing that and just focus on other things. Also the most important thing is I usually practice a lot days before, and relax/play for a few minutes the day of.

samjazael123 | Student

Practice doesn't make you obtain your dreams, because to be successful you got to have three things: Ego, Wisdom, and the will to do something. I myself plan to be a History teacher, yet I also see a few obstacles ready to crush me. Practice does make perfect, but its not always what saves you. What you need is to beat everyone to the punchline and by giving the neccessary hope in yourself to thive and survive the obstacles ahead. You need to be egotistical in this world to obtain anything, you can't always get what you want, but you can still get what you need.

puppyluver12 | Student

If you love to do something, you should continue to do it. Do not let fear get in in the way. Push it aside and start living your dream. If you keep thinking about your fear and letting it get to you, you cannot acheive what you wanted to do. Just belive in yourself and keep trying!!!!! :)

zerokloppy | Student

Like Nike's slogan says, "Just do it."

Once you get used to singing in front of people, it won't scare you anymore.


sallamaliwaong | Student

You should try NLP (neuro linquistical programming)or 'tapping'. It will help you overcome your fears that you have in your head that prevent you from doing the things that you want to do in your life. Just do a youtube search for 'nlp and anxiety' or 'tapping anxiety' and you will find lots of resources to help you out. :)





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sallamaliwaong | Student

You should try NLP (neuro linquistical programming)or 'tapping'. It will help you overcome your fears that you have in your head that prevent you from doing the things that you want to do in your life. Just do a youtube search for 'nlp and anxiety' or 'tapping anxiety' and you will find lots of resources to help you out. :)



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riot174 | Student

to #9 ive thought about voice but also guitar im nt sure yet. and voice lessons with a group would be great ive never thought of that! and i dont practice breathing and relaxing first so im definatly gonna try tht annnd thanks all this is great info!

riot174 | Student

oh wow. i love these discussion things. Yeah practicing in front of my friends and family really would help(to #4) I even have a fear of singing in front of them! Ahhh. So do you like pretend to be all confident when you go audition... and let people think you really do believe in yourself until you finally get to the point your not faking? Hm.

riot174 | Student

OK thank you. i will look at the links. I don't want to give up on performing but sometimes I feel like i should. But hopefully i can overcome my fear.