You decided to learn an instrument. You took your lessons. You’ve practiced every day. Now the day has come to see if all your hard work has paid off—the day of your first gig.
Now, if only you could get your legs to stop shaking!
Whether you’re hitting an open mic night at the coffee shop down the street or competing in a local talent show, your first gig can be a nerve-racking experience. But never fear, new performer! Take a deep breath, and we’ll show you how to fight stage fright at your first music gig.
Prepare Yourself Thoroughly
The fight against stage fright starts long before you roll up to your venue. In the weeks leading up to the performance, make sure you know your set front to back. The more comfortable you are with your songs, the easier it will be to hype yourself up on the big day.
Additionally, it pays to practice what you want to say between songs. This isn’t to say you have to have a memorized speech for every song you sing. But having a general idea of stories or jokes you want to make will give you something to fall back on. That will help you avoid awkward silences on stage.
Address the Source of Your Fears
If you can recognize what is causing you the most distress, you can address it before the show. For example, if you’re afraid of tech trouble, you can get to the venue early to run an extra soundcheck. Of course, some fears are a little tougher to address, like the fear of losing your audience.
Sometimes, you have to come to terms with the worst-case scenarios. What if you mess up and get booed off the stage? Well, it will be awful, but famous musicians across genres have been booed off the stage, from Amy Winehouse to Marilyn Manson to Beyonce. A bad performance does not mean a bad music career.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It
When your nerves first start setting in, it’s okay to allow yourself to feel the fear. But if you’re still feeling stressed after a few minutes, it’s time to put a pause on your fears and play the part of the confident performer. Putting on a confident air can be just the thing to help you.
Here are a few ways to fight stage fright before your first gig by faking it ‘til you make it.
- Doing power poses in the mirror
- Taking deep breaths
- Releasing tension in your body
- Smile at and make eye contact with people
- Stand tall with your head up
- Admit your mistakes without trash-talking yourself
Aping confidence goes down to choosing clothes that make you look and feel good. Wear that bright blue blazer that brings out your eyes. Wear that hat that matches your face shape. When you act like an amazing performer, you’ll eventually discover that you are one.