Tips From A Vocal Coach
How To Get Your Kid’s Mind Right When She Has Stage Fright
Did you know that stage fright is one of the most prevalent phobias in people of all ages? In fact, some reports show that 40% of adults suffer from it! So what’s a parent to do to help their young performer manage this show-stopping condition? As a former child performer and now mother and coach to performers of all ages I have some ideas to help you prepare your child to tame stage fright.
The number one thing you must do to get ahead of stage fright is overpreparing. Your body is designed to protect you from danger, and stage fright is one of the ways your body does this. This type of stage fright is the result of feeling inadequate to give a stellar performance. Thankfully there is a simple remedy – go above and beyond in your preparation.
As the parent of a young performer, it is up to you to help your child take the necessary steps to overprepare. This means making sure he/she knows their piece inside and out. Set up several mock performance situations in which unexpected events happen such as someone entering the room during the performance or someone coughing. Random noises like babies crying or a train going by while your young performer presents will condition them to focus on what they are doing rather than on what is going on in the room.
During these mock performances, you can help your child prepare by playing the roles of various audience member types: the bored guy, the excited friend who screams the kid’s name during the performance, the latecomer, etc. Get creative and have fun with this part!
Once you’ve gone through the above exercises your young performer should be sufficiently overprepared, but don’t stop there!
Read on for the secret weapon against stage fright.
Equally as important as overpreparing is focussing on the needs of the audience.
Because children and teens at various stages tend to be very self-conscious they are highly prone to stage fright. That’s because stage fright often comes from thinking about yourself. We worry about how the audience will perceive us, whether or not they will like us, how we look on stage and a number of other things that make the performance all about us. If your child has stage fright ask her what she’s worried about. Listen carefully and rather than dismissing her concerns ask your young performer to come up with a list of reasons why people attend live shows. Some ideas are: to have a good time, to support their friend/ loved one who is performing, to relieve stress, or to hang out with their friends. At this point, you have successfully shifted your child’s thinking from negative to positive.
Now that you’ve got your child thinking about why the audience attends shows, it’s time to get your child thinking about what the audience must do to attend the show. Paint a clear picture in your child’s mind of the things audience members have to do in order to get to the actual show. These things include purchasing tickets, fighting traffic, hiring a babysitter or getting kids dressed and fed, taking time off work, having arguments in the parking lot, etc. Although children tend to be inwardly focused, they have strong empathy for others.
This trait can be their secret weapon when it comes to battling stage fright. To provide a frame of reference and a bit of comedy, ask your child to imagine himself/herself standing on stage looking out at the audience and the audience saying “Do you know what I went through to get here tonight? Please don’t stand there looking like a wet potato chip!”
After all this, hopefully, your child has a smile on her face and is standing with the superhero stance ready to rock out the performance!
One last bit of advice – don’t wait until you’re backstage to deal with stage fright. Prepare for it days – even weeks in advance by implementing the tips in this article at home and/or getting help from a performance coach. A good performance coach will be able to give your child guidance on staying in the moment to help them perform their best and give you peace of mind so you too can enjoy the show.
Dana Rice is the Momager of a teen actress and a young adult musician/athlete. Dana is also the owner of Dana Rice Music’s FAME Studio in Buford, GA where she develops performing artists through piano lessons and vocal coaching.
For Info About Lessons, Singing For Actors Workshops, and Her Music visit www.DanaRiceMusic.com
Follow her on Social Media at