Shame on me for being away so long.  Mea Culpa!

One of my students expressed her fear of singing for people as a case of nerves she felt unable to overcome.
Just to make things clear. . .everyone suffers from nerves before singing in public.  But there are ways to handle this.  I always joke, saying that when I was singing I would have paid someone to go on for me in those moments before walking on the stage.  But I knew that it wouldn't last a long time, and of course I never did this!  I said my mantra and dedicated the performance to someone or something, so it could be bigger than singing for my own aggrandizement.

First, a mantra.  Something meaningful to you that you can repeat over and over again to calm yourself.  One sentence will do it.  Tops two.  Go into a quiet place and close your eyes, and let the words come to you.  When it is right, you will know.  And then. . .do not tell anyone what it is! It is just for you.  Prior to going on stage, repeat your mantra to yourself and it will help you enormously. I promise you.

Next. . .dedicate the performance.  You can dedicate your performance to anyone, living or dead, related or not, famous, not famous.  Or you can dedicate it to anything!  Like world peace or stopping hunger.  As long as it comes from your heart, you will be singing for a cause or a being that you love and respect.  It raises your game several notches and you will feel proud for having done this.

And then. . .back to the Breath!  In the first 5-10 minutes or so on stage, you just concentrate on your breathing and that alone!  Your voice is there but your breath can desert you!  So breathe through parted lips and through the nose and go on to breathe either diaphragmatically, or intercostally with your full attention on doing this.  I promise you that within 10 minutes tops you will be calm and your attention will be on performing, interptreting the music given to you, and you will wonder where you nerves went!

And here I must include a statement from the N.Y. Times review of "Inside Llewyn Davis, about the folk music scene in the early '60's.  He said he was reminded that. . ."
the most fundamental fact of musical performance: It is always, first and foremost, an act of courage."

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