Stage fright is a totally natural feeling that many performers and public speakers experience. Us drummers must overcome this feeling when it arises in order to perform for any live audience. How do we overcome this feeling?
A good way to begin overcoming stage fright is to perform your act in front of a small audience of family and friends. There is less pressure because the audience is comprised of people who care about you and are less likely to be critical of your performance, and more likely to be encouraging and supportive. Do these family-and-friends performances as often as you can, especially if you've never played in front of strangers. The more you do this, the easier it will be to overcome your stage fright.
You know that tingly feeling in your stomach when you're nervous? You know that feeling of butterflies in your gut when you're excited? These two feelings are the same! It all depends on your perspective. Just like when we see a 16oz glass containing 8oz of water. Is the glass half full or half empty? The glass is both half full and half empty, it just depends on how you see things. By choosing to see the positive in situations, we can really make the most of things and have a much better time! So when you feel nervous about the upcoming show, remind yourself how much fun you'll have and get excited!
It's part of the gig
If we want to be successful performers, we must get used to playing in front of an audience. It's part of the gig! Even when recording drum tracks in a studio, we'll have to play in front of an audio engineer we may have just met. As drummers and performers, playing in front of strangers is a must! The sooner that we accept this reality, the sooner we begin to overcome our stage fright. Realizing this is a MUST and not just a SHOULD will really help push us forward in overcoming our fear of performing for a live audience.
Just like with learning the drums, repetition is key! The more you play in front of audiences, the easier it will become to conquer your fear. If you are someone struggling with stage fright, I hope these tips help you overcome your fear and that you have a wonderful time at your next performance!