Singing: Overcome Performance Anxiety by Building Concentration and Focus

Concentration and focus can ease your anxieties when it's time to sing during a performance. Have you ever been so focused on a task were startled when someone came up behind you? Having this type of focus when you sing is possible to learn.

To help you practice concentrating, try these suggestions:

  • Stage some distractions. Practice in front of an audience of friends and ask them to randomly whisper, rustle paper, drop a book, or stand up and walk around while you’re singing. The first few times, you may lose your composure, but just laugh it off and keep trying until you can hold your concentration and ignore the distractions.

  • Practice concentration. Set a timer for five minutes and practice focusing totally on your singing for those five minutes. Five minutes may seem like a short amount of time — until you have to fill it with only one task. You may find your mind wandering and thinking about something else. That’s okay. Set the timer and try again.

    Working up to concentrating for the full five minutes may take a few days. You can also practice focusing and then intentionally letting your mind wander so you can tell the difference.

  • Leave distractions at the door. That fight you had earlier in the day, the report that’s due tomorrow, your upcoming vacation — any number of everyday concerns may occupy your mind. Create a ceremony that enables you to leave those distractions at the door.

    For example, you may want to put a basket outside your practice room door and mentally dump all your worries and frustrations into it before you enter the room. You can also write a to-do list before your session so you know exactly what you need to think about right after you practice.

    Acknowledge that you still have to resolve those issues in your mind, and then move to the current task at hand.

Here are a couple of pieces of great advice: “Never let anyone live in your head rent free” and “Have conversations only with people who are in the room.” Table any conversations in your head with people who aren’t in the room with you. What great advice!

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