How do I stop shaking while performing?

I have a concert tonight, so fast answers would be appreciated.

I’m singing an original song, along with a backup track made on GarageBand.

I auditioned about a week and a half ago, in front of around 20 people. I did well and I got in, but the whole way through, I was violently shaking and thought I was going to fall over. I was focusing most of myself on singing and the rest on standing up.

I don’t know why it’s happening now. Back in the spring, I performed an original in front of at least 200 people, and only my hands shook. This time, my whole body was trembling.

I am confident in my abilities, I’m not afraid of not doing well, and if I don’t, it won’t be much of a big deal anyway.

People say they have stage fright up until they get up there and start, getting lost in the performance. But I’m totally fine up until I start, and then it hits.

I just know it will happen again tonight. I need help.


Update: The concert went great! There were some technical difficulties but I sang through them. I did awesome and I didn’t shake one bit! It was really fun and I wish I could do it again. Thank you to everyone who gave advice, I’m glad I asked.

4 Answers

  • 10 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    I know you're looking for quick answers but for future reference I suggest researching Musical Performance Anxiety (MPA). There are numerous resources that are aimed specifically at addressing music-related anxiety symptoms.

    As for quick tips, the fact that you don't experience symptoms until you're actually performing suggest there could be physical and environmental factors as well as mental.

    Musicians are often creatures of habit without knowing it and subtle changes in environment can "throw off" the senses, causing anxiety. For example, when moving from a smaller venue (like an audition room) to a bigger one (like a concert hall) the issue isn't always just the number of people watching, it could be the unfamiliar acoustics or your mind noticing there are faces much further away and sending impulses to your body to exert itself more to "reach" them.

    It could also be body tension or endurance issues. Nerves can restrict breathing, triggering a "panic" reflex or a light-headed feeling. If you're not accustomed to long performances and tire midway through, your body again could try to compensate with more adrenaline, causing "jitters."

    Try getting to the venue early and walking around to get a feel for the place. Stand on stage and move around so you get accustomed to its feel beneath your feet.

    Keep the body relaxed before and during the performance. Pay attention to your breathing and posture. Feel free to move around the stage and take a moment to flex your legs and bend at the waist between songs. These will help keep you "loose" and avoid the physical tension that can feel like "panic"...

  • 10 months ago

    So - I want to know how it went! Did the Earth open up and swallow you? Did you faint? Pee on yourself? Throw up? Get booded? NO??????? So - the WORST did not happen. And even if the BEST did not happen - so what? You need to do this many, many times before you are so experienced that you are SOMEWHAT calmer. I have done thousands of performance, the majority of which I was featured or a soloist. I do longer freak out - but I DO make lists, check my packed instruments and all the audio stuff over and over (learned to use a checklist - much easier - I just have a thing now about DO NOT LOSE THE LIST - it proves I have everything I need.) IN ever single thing I have played, there has been SOMETHING that I thought I could do better next time - because I make sure there IS a next time that I play that piece. There is a very short list of things we tired in public and then dropped - not because they were too hard, but because - meh. We AND the audience really do not like them as much as other things. YOU will do this forever - it shows you want to improve. So - good for you! I had a live concert recording once, that I refused to listen to for YEARS - until my husband said he needed a clip of another work on there - so I let it play thru. In the place where I had blanked - there was NOTHING WRONG!!! Yes, I had lost mental focus - but my lips and fingers just sailed me thru. Wrong notes, forgotten words, getting momentarily lost - these mistakes do not like up like dead leave! They are GONE - like the never happened - and many, they never DID happen. So - when is your next performance? Schedule one - and get out there again!

    Source(s): Got a serious duo concert in 12 days. We chose music that is a challenge - and we are working our butts off. But gotta be a first time to play this I public - so there can a second, and seventeenth, etc.
  • Anonymous
    10 months ago

    You need to have faith that over time this will get better. I know it's bad at the moment but each time you're brave enough to perform it will get a little bit easier. Good luck!

  • 10 months ago

    Take some beta blockers about 20-30 minutes before performing, you will be focusing on the music and become super concentrated on the performance. Zero shakes. Most musicians have been taking this for decades. No side effects whatever.

    Note this is NOT to be used regularly, only on very specific occasions.

    If you are taking ANY medications to control your cardiovascular system (hypertension, etc.), do NOT take this.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.