The Challenges of being on Stage!
Breathing and performance anxiety are a marriage. To ignore either one is at the expense of the other. Here I will expand on the importance of finding the balance.
F. M. Alexander : I do not claim to have discovered any new method of breathing, but to understand the only true one – Nature’s.
My husband and I went through a phase of riding bicycles; huge fun, great outdoor adventure, massive benefits especially to the breathing. But the first couple of months were not easy at all. My lungs just would not provide enough air for me to peddle. Never mind get up a hill!
It took me all my mental strength not to throw in the towel, ditch the bike, WALK away! Find something easier and less taxing.
Is this how you feel every time you stand in front of an audience…you want to run….you want to hide…you wish you had never started this!
Recently I read about Dame Malvina Major who said that being in front of an audience is a very scary thing for her. Is this surprising, it was to me!
Today I want to demonstrate what happens with anxiety and breathing on stage.
It’s a bit like a ship going round and round instead of just going forward.
The singer is taught a method of breathing
the singer practices for hours and hours and hours. Then..
Heart is fluttering! Knees are knocking!
Practiced breathing working……….
The first phrase comes out awfully!!
Has this ever happened to you?
Worse, the next time that first experience is running through the performer’s head
…..they try harder to get the breathing right.
Strangely this first phrase is worse than the last time!
And this scenario gets repeated again and again.
The more you try the worse it gets, the more you don’t want to be there!
The biggest challenge any performer faces is…………..
How to turn it around so you love the stage the moment you face the audience. A new kind of solution…
As you sit there reading this try the following…
Place your feet on the ground, sitting easy.
Project yourself onto the stage, ‘see’ the packed and eager audience waiting to hear you at your best.
Really get into imagining the audience, your heart is pounding, you open your mouth and
You sing! Loud and clear!
How was it? Did you notice anything about yourself, is all as usual?
This time try this. Focus on yourself before you start.
Is your head balancing on your neck with ease?
Relax your shoulders
Let your breathing be free and easy, just in and out as Nature intended.
Calm your thoughts; ease a gentle smile to your face,
Open your mouth and without drawing a breath, sing.
Was that different to the first time? Can you say it may have been a bit easier?
I know it isn’t easy to stage an audience in your mind never mind feeling the anxiety when you are far from it, but it can give you an idea of something different you can start to be aware of.
Just to recap then on how to get an easier breathing going:
- Decide you will do this a different way to what you know already.
- Resist the thought to take a deep breath to start.
- Give yourself a time to prepare your thought direction– let your reorganizing head, neck, feet and breath happen before you sing (or do anything).
- Let the natural action happen….and win!
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