I’m an ordained minister and an atheist (got ordained as a joke) with no formal religious nor public performance training or experience, and the first wedding I did was outdoors with no amplification. I’ve no idea how many people were there as everything was kind of blurry (I got tunnel vision) which turned out to save me. After the first panic, I just focused on the bride and groom and talking really loud.
In the weddings I’ve done since I still usually try to ignore the audience (without *appearing *to ignore them)
It may not get easier, but you’ve probably picked up a few tricks already that will serve you well.
In my singing days I always had a conductor and just focused on her, but that’s not so helpful for a solo, I suspect…
My senior year of college we performed a play I wrote, directed, and [del]starred[/del] performed in at my high school and at the high school where I took drama class in order to warm up for the competition we had coming up. My parents and my grandmother attended.
Oh, did I forget to mention that every, like, fifth word was the f-bomb?
I’m just nervous. The accompaniment track I found is in the right key, except the first verse is just a tiny bit low (the rest of the song is perfect for my range), and I’m worried I’m going to sound like I took a big hit of testosterone right before the performance.
There is a forty-something woman in our church who has a magnificent mezzo-soprano voice. She has been singing in front of people for probably 25 years. And yet, when she gets up to do a “special” on Sunday morning, she is still visibly shaking with stage fright, and I mean as in you can see her hand holding the mike tremble. Even after all this time.
Everybody gets it. And they manage to perform just fine. You’ll be fine, too.
Also, remember that people want to enjoy your singing, they aren’t going to mark you afterwards. Whilst you might remember the two or three notes you didn’t hit properly, they’ll be remembering the notes you hit beautifully.
Enjoy yourself! The ability to sing is one to be shared with others!
I do have one thing to mention. Last Christmas at my kids’ school they had a Carol and Hymn reading thing, and one of the teachers really sung beautifully. I was very impressed and made a point after the show of telling her how well she did.
She made a face and said she didn’t hit one of the notes right and she didn’t do something else that she should have, blah blah. I was a bit put off. It was almost like she was insulting me for not having a good enough knowledge of music to know when she messed up.
Point is…if someone congratulates you, thank them graciously. As I’ve learned from my knitting…no one will know you screwed up except you, unless you point it out to them.
I recently joined Toastmasters and have been entering speech competitions. Humorous speech competitions. I’ve learned that it’s always nerve wracking, but the audience is rooting for you. Sometimes I can relax during the speech and enjoy the audience approval and sometimes I’m nervous the whole way through. And sometimes the evaluators like the one that felt bad better than one that felt better.
So, you may end up enjoying the performance, even after being nervous beforehand. And you may end up giving a good performance, even if it’s butterflies the whole way. Either way, I bet you knock 'em dead.
Oh how wonderful it must be to have a voice that people would want to hear! You have the talent that I would most like to have.
I’ve borrowed this story from something I read long ago, but it’s true for me. I wish I could give credit to the author:
My idea of heaven is to be in a great choir with 10,000 altos, 10,000 tenors, 10,000 basses and I am the only soprano. We begin a magnificent choral piece and I open my mouth and lift my voice. Soon the conductor stops us and taps his baton on his music stand. “Please, please, Zoe! A little less soprano!”
Thanks for all of the kind words. It went fairly well - I was so nervous that I was shaking like mad, and I had a bit of trouble with the low parts on the first verse, but I managed to stay on key during the chorus (which is what I was worried about - because it was COLD out, and I always tend to sing flat when I’m cold). We had some issues with the sound system because I couldn’t practice ahead of time (too busy setting up), but for what it was, I’m okay with it.
I told my boss definitely not for next year, though ;).
I came in late but I wanted to remind you that Jerry Lewis sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone” every Labor Day to millions of people (er…is it the same song as from Carousel?) and he never looks nervous. Only really really sad and really really tired.
If you discount the gravity of what he’s trying to do for Muscular Distrophy, it’s usually quite funny to watch. I thought that might calm your nerves to see ol’ Jerry up there
I have taught as few as 2 dance students and as many as 300+. I always have a wee bit of stage fright when getting up in front of the crowd. I don’t know if this helps but it, the stage fright, goes away very quickly (plus there are several well known and very good celebrities that have this issue as well, Kim Basinger, Barbra Striesand to name a couple). Based upon the song you chose I’m going to guess you really love singing and good music. To me that says you are really good at it.
For me, the energy exchange between me and the crowd does it. I don’t know if I can call it “calming” it’s really more energizing, in a ZAP kinda way (I can see why rock stars LUV the crowd) but in about a nano-second I’m having a great time amping them up and enjoying it and the stage fright just goes away very quickly.
I’ll bet the same thing happens with you. Pick a sympathetic looking person to look at (to start out with) or someone you know who will give you an encouraging look. After that just be your fabulous self!