As a church singer, you have the honor and privilege of leading the congregation at Mass. However, it's not uncommon for the nerves to kick in and the stage fright to take hold. This could manifest in your heart POUNDING, shaky knees, shaky voice or sweaty palms! But fear not, with the right mindset, you can begin to overcome stage fright and sing with more confidence. In this article, we will explore some basic techniques to help you strengthen your mind and overcome stage fright. This is the first of 3 articles about overcoming stage fright. In the articles, we will cover Mind, Body and Soul.
Visualize Yourself Cantoring/Singing
Visualization is a powerful tool that can help you overcome stage fright. Take some time before your cantoring to visualize yourself singing confidently and passionately in your church. Imagine the sound of your voice ringing out through the sanctuary and the congregation joining in with you. By focusing on a positive experience, you can create a positive neural pathway in your brain that can help reduce anxiety and build confidence when you get to the real thing.
You have to do this with as much detail as you can. Maybe start from when you get out of your car on Sunday. Who do you see? How do you feel? How are you walking? Who do you first see - greet them!
Then fast forward to the rehearsal process. How do you sound today? (imagine it being your best, what feeling is that for you?). What we are doing here is wiring up those neural pathways to make them more likely to happen in the future. It can work very well but the more detail the better!
Positive self-talk is another technique that can help strengthen your mind for church singing. Instead of allowing negative thoughts to creep in, replace them with positive ones. For example, instead of thinking, "I'm going to forget the lyrics," or "I have trouble with the high E," tell yourself, "I know these lyrics well and I'm going to sing them beautifully!!!" By speaking positively to yourself, you can shift your focus from fear to confidence.
You can replace these with a go-to verse of scripture that helps you through life. "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace" is a great one from St. Francis of Assisi. But, you probably have some of your own!
Preparation and Practice
Preparation and practice are vital for building confidence and reducing the fear of failure. Make sure to rehearse your songs thoroughly during the week before you sing. Listen to YouTube recordings of the piece in the car and sing along as you drive! You can also practice singing in front of friends or your spouse to simulate the experience of performing in front of an audience.
In conclusion, step 1 of conquering stage fright is all about strengthening your mind. By visualizing success, practicing positive self-talk, and preparing diligently, you can start rewiring your brain to overcome your fears and sing with confidence. Remember, you are there to lead the congregation in worship, and with a positive attitude and a strong belief in yourself, you can achieve that goal.
We really are just scratching the surface. I've helped hundreds of singers improve their confidence and there is SO MUCH more I want to tell you about overcoming stage fright (advanced techniques).
If you want to get the techniques that professional singers use to improve their confidence on large stages, check out my Fearless Voice training course at the link below.
This course teaches you in great detail how to become a very confident singer by giving you better skills to rely on when the moment gets tense.
When you radiate confidence, God's message can more easily flow through you to the congregation.
I wish this for all cantors, and I put together a step by step system that you can follow to overcome stage fright.
I hope this helps you!
Mike from Music Ministry 101