How to deal with nerves

Sorry for the wait for my next blog! I’ve been very busy recently, especially as we are moving house soon. We are currently surrounded by boxes and bags with our belongings all over the place. It’s safe to say there isn’t really any space in our room to breathe, let alone move around! I can’t wait to move next week and have some space again. I actually can’t wait to organise our new flat too! Bring on the move!

I have been prompted by various things this week to write a blog about dealing with nerves during auditions and performance. This all stemmed from a very talented friend of mine having an interesting time with auditions last week.

She had an audition for a top West End musical and said her nerves were unbelievable. She hadn’t dealt with nerves like it for the longest time and cracked when singing her audition song, which is very unlike her. The following day she had another audition for a top tour. She had been told by a friend of hers that the dance call in the audition was extremely difficult and so she went into the audition thinking she wouldn’t get it and thought she’d just enjoy herself instead. This attitude resulted in her getting through all of the dance rounds and the singing round that day. The outcome of that is that she has been invited back for a recall this week!

What a difference your attitude can make. I don’t mean attitude as in “having a negative attitude” towards something, but attitude in the sense of how you deal with something.

As a performer it’s inevitable that you will experience nerves. Sometimes nerves can be a good thing because they give you that extra little buzz that you need to get through your audition, but if your nerves are crippling your chances at success then that’s definitely not a good thing.

I must admit, I definitely do experience nerves in auditions. I feel that the longer I have to prepare for an audition, the more nervous I get because I’ve had too much time to think about it. Whereas, if it’s more of a  last minute arrangement, I feel less nervous because I know I just have to throw myself in there and do it. It’s difficult because you’re bound to experience nerves at some point and you definitely can’t stop them completely. At the end of the day, you’re only human.

However, here are some top tips for dealing with nerves in auditions and during performance:

  1. Take some deep breaths. Don’t take too many to the point you feel like you’re going to pass out, but just taking some deep breaths can help to regulate your breathing. When you’re nervous you fill with adrenaline and that makes your breathing shallow.
  2. Drink water. When your nervous you will start to get that awful dry mouth feeling coincided with your throat closing up like you’ve had some sort of allergic reaction. We’ve all been there. Drinking water can help to ease that and hopefully calm you down.
  3. Visualisation techniques. They’re usually helpful as it can change your state of mind and help you to relax. Just visualise something that makes you feel calm and at ease.
  4. Listen to music. Pop on something that you really enjoy to make you smile.
  5. Chat to others. Talk to the people around you! Sometimes they can help to ease your nerves because you are letting yourself adapt to the situation at hand.
  6. Enjoy yourself. You’re definitely going to come away from the audition feeling a lot better if you’ve let yourself enjoy it. Tell yourself why you’re at the audition in the first place, you’re not doing it to torture yourself.

In the Spring 2018 edition of Equity magazine actress Stephanie Cole talks openly about her thoughts on stage fright and performance anxiety and how she feels it should be accepted as part of the professional life. Stephanie says that:

“It is something performers should talk about more because it does not simply affect people at a particular point in their working life, such as when starting out or when getting older, it can happen at any time.”

There are so many reasons that a performer can suffer from nerves or stage fright:

  • Wanting the job.
  • Not wanting to fail.
  • Not wanting to let your cast down.
  • Worrying about forgetting lyrics or lines.

The list goes on.

Stephanie herself suffers from performance anxiety and sees a therapist to help herself to work through it. She strongly suggests it as a great way to overcome fear.

I don’t think that my nerves get so bad that I would need to see a therapist, but I am definitely going to be taking the positive approach to auditions from now. I am going to head into them with a feeling of pride, a sense of fun and enjoy every moment. I really do think this is the way forward. Even if the outcome of the audition isn’t what you were hoping for at least you know you enjoyed it at the time. Bring on the auditions!

Exciting to think that my next blog will be written from our new flat!

 

 

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