Okay, let’s be honest, most of us have felt that nervous energy coursing through us as we step onstage. Some of us have been completely overwhelmed by it. Our hands shake, our mouth and throat suddenly dry up and our mind goes blank, we forget that line of lyrics, skip the bridge, and totally screw up that solo…and walk off the stage thinking “I know I could have done better if I hadn’t felt so nervous!”
As a child and teenager, I always thought nerves were kind of fun – natural actually. Before every show, I would feel those butterflies in my stomach and know “This is it. This is my time. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for! This is my moment to share my gift and shine!”
But then, somewhere around age 20, I started having what we call “Stage fright” – fear so strong it interfered with my performance. I would stand onstage and wish to God the show would get itself over with and SOON – before I completely lose it! I felt completely disconnected from the music, from the audience and I hated every minute. But afterwards, offstage, I was heartbroken, wishing to have another chance, longing to perform. So I would schedule another show, look forward to it for weeks, and then onstage again, I’d be consumed by fear, struggle through it and wait for it to all to be over. I knew I loved performing – I was even told I had “great stage presence.” I wanted to share my music, but I had lost my sense of how to love it in the moment. Not to mention that playing my best was impossible.