Hey Astrid - GREAT QUESTION!!! Like @HarpinBobbyMcB said Nike says “Just Do It” but I’m gonna add one more word:
JUST DO IT AFRAID!
You have to do it afraid. There’s no other way. In my first marriage my wife was very abusive and always told me I was a terrible singer. I heard it so many times over 10 years, I really believed it very deeply.
After we divorced, I returned to music. I remember the 1st time I got up at an open mic to play guitar and sing a song. Everything inside of me was screaming “You can’t do it!!!” But I did it any way. It was not very good. My voice was all shaky because I was so afraid.
Thankfully I had some good friends who were supportive of me and that helped. And every time I got up and sang in front of people it got a t TEENY TINY bit easier.
I wrote a little bit on this topic in an email I sent out a couple of months ago, and I’m gonna include it here in case it’s helpful:
My daughter used to play sax in a student jazz ensemble that my wife and I taught. The kids would take turns improvising. After one performance, we were talking about a solo that happened right before hers. I asked her, “Did you hear it?” She replied, “No! I was in THE FREAK-OUT ZONE!”
We all had a good laugh, and “The Freak-Out Zone” has become a family joke that we each love to bring up at opportune times.
But if you’ve ever been on stage, and you remember how you felt just before you stepped out into the spotlight, then you know exactly what the Freak-Out Zone is!
Stage fright is part of what it is to perform music in front of people. I’ve been performing in front of people for over 30 years, and I still get stage fright. It’s not something that you grow out of.
But… IF you can harness the energy well, stage fright can actually serve you ; if you don’t, the freak-out zone can turn your performance into a train wreck.
The key that I’ve discovered to being able to play great while in the freak-out zone is the same fundamental key to playing harmonica well: Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing. This means when you inhale your belly goes out, and when you exhale your belly goes in.
Nothing helps relaxation more than deep breathing. And relaxation is the #1 key to mastery.
By the way, train wrecks are not all bad. I could tell you some funny stories about how badly I’ve fallen on my face during performances. The ego gets bruised, but then time passes, and you realize life goes on. It’s not that big a deal. Nobody died. And that can actually help you have more confidence the next time you’re in the freak-out zone.
Just focus on taking nice deep breaths, Astrid. You got this!