Because we love our artistes. Because we love their craft and artistry. It also pains us when they fall off the stage while trying to entertain us on live shows. Apart from the embarrassment that comes with it, it has a lot to do with the artistes’ PR.
Here are a few precautions musicians can take to avoid fallen off stage while trying to entertain fans on live shows.
1. Be aware of the people around you
When you’re singing on stage, you’re not only combining language and music – you’ve also got to deal with spatial awareness and be aware of the people around you. There’s a lot going on, so watch the conductor if there is one.
2.Get used to the size of the stage during rehearsals
Enjoy the feeling of being on stage, look around you in rehearsals to get used to the size of the performance space and think how much energy you will need to fill that space. Ensure that the energy of a song is conveyed in your singing and not just in your dancing; thinking that the vigour of your movements will carry a song is a common trap to fall into.
3.Stop worrying and avoid being nervous
People are sometimes frightened of overpreparing because they think the material will somehow get stale. But that shouldn’t be a worry. Every time you perform, it changes: the atmosphere in the room is different, the people watching you aren’t the same. By preparing as much as possible, you’ll have the ability to deal with anything that happens, you’ll have more confidence and you’ll enjoy it more. Being in a show is an exhilarating experience but it’s also a big responsibility: you want to feel reliable. On the other hand, overpractising, for instance singing the one note you’re worried about 30 times before you go on stage, is to be avoided; you’ll only wear yourself out. Instead, you should just slide through your range once, with that note included, to reassure yourself that you can do it.
4. Think of the next line at just the right moment
To get the right sense of spontaneity to your performance, you have to be thinking of the next line at just the right moment. This thought about the next line is key; it should show you or your character having a new idea and, because of that, it is central to the way you’ll end up delivering the line. To see if you are thinking of the next line soon enough, walk around a room while singing, and change direction every time you have a new thought. If, by the time you’re changing direction, you’re already singing the line that made you change, you’re too late.
5. Stagefright happens to everyone, so don’t worry about it
Stagefright is not something that only happens to beginners; it can and does happen to anyone, including some of the most experienced performers. For years they’ll happily perform in front of thousands of people, and then, one night, they’ll go out on stage and think to themselves: what am I doing here?
There are several techniques that can be used to combat stagefright, but most of them focus solely on getting through that very first line. Once that’s out of the way, everything tends to fall into place, so giving yourself something specific to do before singing your first note can work wonders.
Stress is often relieved by physical exercise, so stretch and run on the spot before you perform. If you suffer from a dry throat, which is a classic symptom of nerves, try gently biting your tongue to increase your saliva flow. Also, stagefright is a great hunger killer, but it is important to eat: go for complex, easily digestible carbohydrates such as rice or pasta.
If you’re singing a song by yourself, a good ploy is to use the opening line to raise a series of questions that will help distract you from the task at hand. So, using the Beatles’ A Day in the Life as an example, which begins with the line “I read the news today, oh boy”, imagine somebody asking you a question such as: “What did you do when you woke up this morning?” Now you’re answering a simple question, rather than singing an opening line, which should take away most of your nerves.
Remind yourself why you perform in the first place. Think about how good you can be, about how much pleasure you could be giving to others. Try to remember times when you received compliments for a performance that you gave. And of course there’s the old cliche of closing your eyes and imagining the audience in their underwear – it really can work!
If these techniques don’t work, you may consider visiting a hypnotherapist or psychotherapist, who are trained to deal with mental blockages. Stagefright is usually triggered by something we are able to control, but it can sometimes take a trained expert to identify what might have caused our uncertainty.