Maybe this has happened to you. You’re singing, performing in front of other people, and suddenly you realize, “wait… I’m IN FRONT of other people.” And just like that, you become self-conscious, and your voice tenses up. Your control goes out the window, and your pitch starts failing. The anxiety maybe even completely stops you from singing.

You’re not alone. This has happened to me over and over. Vocal coach Chris Johnson joins us to teach you how to deal with – and finally – SOLVE singing anxiety.

Perceived Threats.

There’s an interesting relationship between voice and fear. When our human ancestors lived in the wild, they faced all sorts of threats. Whenever an animal or unfriendly foe popped up, their bodies evolved to respond in one of two ways: fight or flight.

If our primitive human friend tries to run away, their vocal folds become tense to let air in and out of the body without obstruction. And if they stay and attack, the folds shut the larynx completely to block air, helping deliver a more vigorous blow.

Fast forward to the present. We may not stumble upon many bears or lions in our day-to-day. But our bodies still react to perceived threats in the same way. So when you see the audience or have to be in the spotlight, your body says, “I’m ready to either run away or attack.” I know… not very helpful.

So here’s your first tip. If you feel vocal tension in those environments, don’t try to work on the tension itself. Focus on dealing with the cause of the problem: the environment. 

Environment.

Chris’s advice is to frequently alter your environment to start getting used to safe but changing circumstances. If you only sing at home and suddenly find yourself on a stage, performing in front of people. There’s a stark contrast in environments. And your body WILL react to it.

Whenever Chris is doing vocal coaching and knows his student only practices at home, he will make sure that the student is gradually exposed to different situations. Maybe changing rooms, or bringing in some family members and friends. The surrounding elements of the performance change, but the stakes remain low. So it feels safe.

Eventually, adding a microphone will make the experience even closer to that final moment on stage.

The idea is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. But only gradually, so your body doesn’t feel the need to jump into that fight or flight state.

Beyonce can go into a completely new venue in front of thousands of strangers without it affecting her voice because she’s done it a million times. Repetition is the essence of learning.

Relaxing the tension.

Breathing techniques are ideal for helping your body find a state of safety. Try a Buoyancy Exercise. Extend your arms out in front of you at shoulder height. Let them be a little loose, and slowly wave them from one side to the other. As if they’re floating in front of you. Breathe in and out softly.

Now, try singing your song as you do this. The body movement will help your brain let go of the pressure in the moment and, little by little, get into character – The version of you that isn’t stressed and anxious.

Obviously, you won’t do this on stage. I mean… you can. It certainly would make for an interesting performance. But this is an excellent habit for helping your mind drift away from the anticipation of being on stage.

You need to involve your body. It’s difficult to use the mind to ease the mind. Movement is the best tool you have to help your brain prepare.

Preparation.

If you have access to the space where you’ll perform ahead of time, try rehearsing beforehand. Get comfortable with it. Know the stage and the staff, learn how the light feels on you and what the speakers sound like. Get yourself as used to that stage as you can. So when the time comes, the audience may be new, but you’re comfortable with the space.

And this goes for any preparation. Get your outfit ready a couple of days in advance, do a dressed rehearsal, and show up early to the venue. Do everything possible to help your brain not worry about ANYTHING other than singing. Feeling ready will make a world of difference.

Take your singing to the next level.

The best tool to deal with singing anxiety is movement. That’s why we flew Chris Johnson across the Atlantic to teach you how to unlock the power of your singing through movement.

Chris is a vocal coach known for developing areas of the voice that may not have been usable or releasing any tension or discomfort that has crept in over time. Helping singers strike the perfect balance between technique and artistry is an art unto itself. And Chris has mastered that art and will share his secrets with Singeo members. 

Our new featured course, “Movement: The Quickest Way To Improve Your Voice,” is available now, and you can have full access for FREE by signing up for a Singeo Membership trial.

Just click here and learn from Chris and our other Grammy Award-winning featured coaches.

Plus, get step-by-step singing lessons, and receive personal feedback and support from myself and our other coaches.