There I was standing in front of a live studio audience of hundreds of people waiting to either be impressed with me or feel sorry for me. Tightly gripping the microphone in hopes of finding any kind of stability, I waited for the band (with whom I had limited prior practice) to begin my tune. Cameras rolling! The band started, I started, everyone was listening. As I sang, what came out was unfamiliar, I felt unstable and out of body. I tried to focus and sing what I had practiced, but all I could think about was why not a single one of the four chairs in front of me had turned. My song came to a close and a once cheering crowd turned to an empathetic halt. I received my feedback and the one consistent response from all four of them was “I could tell you were NERVOUS.” Me? Nervous? No way! I had practiced for months. I had been waiting and preparing for this moment and opportunity my entire life. How could I be nervous?
It took me a lot of hard work in the years after this experience to come to terms with my nerves as a performer. This moment was truly an intervention for how I approach being on stage. What I thought I had mastered in years past, I had only just scratched the surface. Nerves are not only a natural human condition, but they can open the door for further self exploration. You know, the whole “do what scares you” sentiment. I do agree, however, here are some tips I’ve learned to limit nerves to nerves of excitement and create a head space that will allow you to perform to the best of your abilities!