Tricks to Developing More Confidence on Stage

Sometimes the hardest thing a songwriter can do is perform their songs live…. Perhaps you’ve got a sweet little Protools studio (or maybe a nice big studio; of some sort), at your disposal. You may have recorded your songs beautifully; and gotten them out to radioland. One might think that’s enough in itself, should be enough of a reward, for being a songsmith.

However; here's the sobering truth: every songwriter worth their salt knows that in order for a song to have a full, rich life, it must be performed live - to real, flesh and blood ears, eventually.

I have students and former students approach me all the time about this very subject: "Yikes; I've got to get out there and play for real people; but where do I start? How do I get over my shakiness?

 

5 Tips For Building Confidence On Stage

My methods are tried and true. I submit to you, that if you are having stage fright issues, and you try my suggestions, below; you may well be on your way to overcoming your greatest fears!! Here, in no specific order, are my methods for curing "the performing willies":

1. Begin by playing to a live audience 3 or 4 nights a week, but do this, at first, in an atmosphere where it doesn't matter much; because although you are appreciated as background music, not a lot of people will really be listening to you, or pay attention to your possible early mistakes (For this, pick some place like a coffee house, or a restaurant).

2. When performing to a larger audience that is there to hear you, you can get over nerves fairly quickly, by placing an imaginery person in the audience that always loves hearing you and thinks you're the greatest person on the planet. Place that person between two people in the middle of the crowd. It will look like you are singing directly to them!

3. Prepare what you are going to say, BEFORE you go on stage. Make your intros short as possible. The audience will read into it for themselves, and then enjoy your songs more.

4. Similar to point #2: If looking directly at audience members makes you queazy, look BETWEEN them. It will still look to them as if you are making eye contact.

5. Finally, my favourite way to get over stage fright is to allow myself to be so submerged into the delivery and story of a song, that I actually forget, for a moment, where I even am. Many artists rely on this little icebreaker!

© copyright Cheryl Hodge, 2010

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About Cheryl Hodge

Cheryl_Hodge_2_300Cheryl Hodge has been in the music and songwriting business for well over 30 years; recording on several labels; among them Atco Records (Raindogs, 1990), and has released 4 CDs of her own; on her own label: Jazzboulevard.com Records.

She has performed her music for the last 10 years with noted jazz guitarist John Stowell (amongst many others), and they are about to release a CD of co-written originals. She has been private instructor to many; including the gifted Paula Cole. She is also the author of "A Singer's Guide to the Well-Trained and Powerful Voice", and is a published vocal arranger.

Cheryl is currently the head of the vocal dept. at Nelson, BC's: Selkirk College Music Program. There, she teaches Songwriting and Advanced Songwriting, Business of Music, Arranging and Vocals.

She continues to write and produce her original materials, and has just released "Cheryl Hodge: Original Article" - a compilation of her favourites.

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To me, it's always a joy to create music no matter what it takes to actually get there. The real evils are always whatever stops you from doing that - like if your CPU is spiking and you have to sit there and bounce all your MIDI to audio. Now that's annoying!”
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