Stage Fright Help by Female Country Singer Anne Minnery

Anne Minnery country singer image

Anne Minnery is a female country singer with an array of CDs to her credit. Anne has had #1 Country hits on many internet radio stations and has performed in the USA, Canada and Europe.

STAGE FRIGHT? ME?

by Anne Minnery – Country Singer

I am one of those people who suffer dreadfully from stage fright. I find that I am fine until about 2 minutes before going on stage and when my stomach starts to churn. Then, as soon as I hear my name called, my mouth suddenly goes completely dry. Worse than that, when I start to sing I find that my stomach is fluttering and my chin quivers. Once the first song is over, I seem to settle down, and by the second and third songs I am in full control again.

I have tried everything I can think of to get over stage fright. I have attended lectures, read books, looked on the internet for ideas and talked to singing coaches. The only thing that really seems to work for me is ‘comfort’. If I am comfortable in a setting or a club and know members of the audience that seems to help. I used to sing at happy hour in a piano bar in Greenwich Village in New York called "Rose’s Turn". At the beginning I had all the prior problems that I mentioned, but the more I sang there the more comfortable I became and I found that the symptoms seemed to disappear – all except the dry mouth – that I still had. My singing teacher told me to bite the inside of my cheek or bite down on the inside my mouth to try to get a bit of moisture going, but nothing seems to work.

Then I discovered another horrible tendency I have
and that is to allow my mind to wander while singing. I have had to really talk to myself about this and force myself to stay focused on the song from beginning to end. I have read that people are so worried about forgetting the first few lines of a song that once they get past that part they let their guard down and then they run the risk of forgetting the middle part. That describes me to a tee.

What I have found works
in helping me get over my stage fright is "control". If I have done all the rehearsal necessary and know all my patterns and moves, then my nerves don’t seem as bad. And, as I mentioned earlier, if I know the place and feel comfortable in the surroundings it helps too. However, how many times are we going to have the occasion to get used to a place before we have to play it? Mostly, we just get a gig and have to show up and perform. So, I have to use other tools at my disposal.

My sister is an entertainer with tons of confidence
and is completely at ease speaking with the audience. She can work an audience better than anyone else I know. I asked her once why she never has stage fright and she told me "Because I know when I get up there that I am the best singer in the room and that I am the best person to entertain them". This coming from a person who is quiet and unassuming off stage. But, she is right..she KNOWS that she is the best when she gets on stage – and she is. She takes command of the stage and is totally at ease with her performance. Why? Because she rehearses her material so well off stage that it is second nature to her when on stage. She knows her lines so well that if something unexpected happens (and when doesn’t it in a live show?) she is able to handle it and move on. She told me that the audience deserves the very best from a performer and that comes from the performer providing the very best she or he can.

I had a wonderful singing coach
who once told me that I had to be so well rehearsed before a performance that I knew each song as well as I knew "Happy Birthday". We all know that song so well, by heart, that if the walls started crumbling around us while we were singing it, we could still carry on while moving out of harm’s way. She told me that I had to know each and every song as well as "Happy Birthday" – to OWN each song, make it mine. And that I had to own not just the first few songs but the entire repertoire of songs. Another trick she told me was to always ‘eye’ the parameters of the room or stage, not only what was in front or at the side of me but at the back as well. She said this could be done quickly while entering the stage area and while saying hello to the audience. Her reasoning for this was so that the singer would own her space and give her a sense of control or comfort..

I am getting better at focusing, I have noticed.
I have learned the hard way that I must stay completely focused on the words and meaning of each and every song and to sing it from the heart, not just mouth the words. If I am in touch with the meaning of the song, I don’t lose focus – not as much.. A good trick I learned was to actually say the words of the song out loud during rehearsal. Each song has a story or message to convey and by speaking them we commit them better to memory and to heart.

I hope by sharing my story of stage fright I have helped some of you who suffer from the same thing. There are probably many of you who have never suffered the fear of being on stage like I have but this article is for those who have, and who may have an even worse case of it than I.

There are many books on dealing with stage fright and I can recommend a great internet site run by Art Nefsky that has online help available at www.nefsky.com. Give it a try. It is fun and has some great ideas. Hope it helps.
By Anne Minnery – used by permission

** Stage Fright – I used to have it in my early days as a performer. Thanks Anne for sharing your helpful tips. **

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Female Singer / Vocal Teacher Teri Danz Shares Remedies For Sore Throat

Teri Danz Singer

Teri Danz is a pro recording artist and vocal coach/producer, with record credits, national press.

Wicked Cold and a Big Gig? Tips for Singers — What Works!

by Teri Danz

So you’ve got a big gig and a wicked cold or flu (especially with lots of congestion), the bad news is that this is the worst for singers. Your body is your instrument, so when you’re ill, stressed, or compromised in any way, it can impact your performance directly. The good news is that you can still sing and perform, in most cases, without the audience knowing. It’s just a bigger challenge than a normal performance. The key is to prepare, take care, and modify to get the best performance possible. It’s a tribute to your skill, training, and professionalism to pull off the vocals convincingly. no matter how compromised you feel.

When you have a cold, flu or sinus infection type illness before a gig, there are a number of things you can do that really work.

Being good at assessing the situation is critical — how sick or ill you actually are (do you need to see a doctor for instance?), what type of gig, what time (it takes longer to warm up for a day gig), how many sets, the venue, your schedule around the gig and how much time you have to take care of yourself with rest prior to the gig. Once you clearly assess the situation, there are lots of things you can do.

First let’s look at remedies and then specific steps you can take to "deal"!!

Remedies: A while ago, a dentist recommended putting Lipton tea bags on my gums to decrease the intense inflammation. Lipton tea has tannin root in it and is very soothing. Miraculously, the aching was relieved. It works when your voice is congested, stressed or when you’re just ill. You can use it to warm up faster (it works!) or just if you can’t seem to get your voice or throat clear. You can also try Throat Coat tea (Medicinal tea) — it has slippery elm root in it. Commercial products also work such as: Two Tree Voice Lozenges from Thayers or Vocal eZe Throat Spray or try music stores (Guitar Center).

The following are recommended tips that really work:

1. Assess the damage
— this means doing vocal exercises to see exactly where in your range the notes are compromised. Usually with a cold or extreme nasal congestion, there will be "drop-out" on the high end. Don’t force your range — you just need to find out where the real problems are.

2. Rest, rest, rest!
Fatigue is the enemy of singers and worse when you’re sick. Sleep more!

3. Don’t sing at rehearsal.
Talk the parts so as not to strain your voice. Your band will be fine with the vocals simply marked.

4. Warm up gently.
Drink lots of Lipton tea before and during the warm-ups. This has worked for me for countless gigs. Also, drink lots of water! Stay hydrated. A rule of thumb for a normal gig is to do at least 20 minutes of vocal exercises and 40 minutes of singing. You may need more (but gently) when you’re sick.

5. Consider changing your set list
to exclude demanding or very rangy songs. Also, trim the set list if possible. It’s better to do less songs with a small range than force your voice and crack etc… This is a professional and less stressful approach.

6. Quit Pushing.
Feeling powerful in singing and being powerful in singing are two entirely different things. While efforting — pushing chest, singing louder to hit pitches, creating and pushing sound from the throat — may feel powerful, it actually sounds worse. It’s easy to go off pitch, sound strident (even painful), hurt your voice, crack etc… when you do this. Singing this way when you’re sick or very congested compounds the problem.

7. Use decongestants on a per need basis.
I like to use the 4 hour ones and experiment with when they’re working but I’m not too dried up to sing. Lubrication is essential in singing, so keep that in mind.

8. Coughs are even worse for singers.
the reflex is hard to suppress. Use a cough suppressant. Take Lipton tea with you to the gig. If you feel like you will break into a cough, it’s better not to come in than risk a coughing fit. (I did this at an original gig and no one except my band knew the difference … or that I was so sick!)

9. Be sure to eat!
Proteins are essential for maintaining energy in singing. Singing takes energy. Many performers lose energy halfway through a set and then end up efforting, pushing and stressing their vocal chords. It takes even more energy to sing when you’re not well.

10. For health and sound quality reasons, use your own microphone.

11. A hot bath or steamy shower
will loosen up congestion.

And most of all:
be gentle with yourself. Come up with plan B or C until you find something that works. Do whatever it takes to get functioning for the gig. Your reputation depends on people being able to depend on you! A pro attitude is to show up and do the very best show possible despite the obstacles.

FemMuser Tips:
I’m always interested in the experience of other singers. Please post your tips on the site! Your experience helps all of us!

FemMuser Amy Raasch
in her recent post shared about a remedy from a talented singer who had to perform the lead in the "Threepenny Opera" when he had pneumonia that worked for her! His suggestions: Take Sudafed 12-hour (Daytime), and to make sure that the performance time fell in the middle of the 12 hours. Skin and chop up fresh ginger root – "as much as you can stand" – and put it in a thermos for about 3 hours. Drink it right before you go on. Said Amy: "I got organic ginger, and chopped up an entire, 7-inch root and put it in a thermos. I added a little organic honey to make it go down easier, and started drinking it about an hour before I was to go on. It immediately made me feel better, and by the time I went on, I was absolutely shocked to find that I could sing, and even belt, fully relaxed."

** Good tips if you have a sore throat just before a Gig **

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