Four Tips to Karaoke When You Have Singing Anxiety
Is singing anxiety a problem for you? Singing anxiety can be especially problematic if you’re called upon to sing unexpectedly. What’s one situation where this is bound to happen? When you’re out with friends and everyone decides to head to the Karaoke bar. You might even face a Karaoke machine at a home-based party.
I’ve done Karaoke only once. It was the summer of about 1987 and my friend and I were pre-teens on a summer vacation at a resort reminiscent of the set of Dirty Dancing. I don’t even remember the name of the song we sang in the final show—and I’m sure it wasn’t that memorable for the audience either!
Whether you want to become a Karaoke star or just want to try it once, it’s important to follow a few simple rules that will help you to perform a bit better (but not that well—it’s Karaoke, after all, remember) and manage your singing anxiety.
The most important point to remember is that nobody cares if you are a star. Most people aren’t, and the ones who are usually spend way too much time on the Karaoke circuit (and that’s not really your life goal, is it)?
Don’t Drink Too Much
Some people would rather leave the bar before the action starts than be part of it due to performance anxiety. To others, it’s the only reason why they’d ever set foot in a bar. A lot of people will only sing if they’re in a group setting, or if they’ve had a lot of alcohol and their inhibitions are totally thrown by the wayside. First of all, contrary to what a lot of people might feel, you’ll always sing much better when you haven’t had too much to drink.
Learn to Relax
This follows on the heels of not drinking too much. If you find yourself in a panic at the thought of singing in front of people, learning to generate a relaxation response in your body will be helpful.
You can do this by practicing a strategy known as progressive muscle relaxation. Do this at home on your own, and gradually you will be able to call your body into a relaxed state on cue.
Breathe the Right Way
When you get anxious, chances are you start to breathe shallowly from your chest instead of deeply from your abdomen. Alone with progressive muscle relaxation, learn how to do diaphragmatic breathing. Vocal training also often involves a breathing component, so practicing breathing will probably benefit your singing voice as well. Double whammy!
Choose the Right Song
Song choice is very important in having a successful karaoke performance. Make sure that you know the song inside and out! It’s many a singer who takes the stage, only to find out that the lyrics are impossible to remember.
If you find yourself in this predicament, just mumble your way through, and really blast that chorus! Similarly, even a little invitation to the crowd to sing along is a good way to mask not knowing a song. The person running karaoke might even help you along with the song if you ask. Chances are, no one will remember by the end of the night.
Try to Make it Fun
Finally, relax and try not to take it so seriously. Everyone there is waiting for their name to be called, and, therefore, probably isn’t paying attention to you anyway. Karaoke can be a good icebreaker, a fun night out with friends, and a unique way to express yourself. The most important thing though is to have fun. If you aren’t having fun while singing karaoke, you aren’t getting the most out of the experience.
Get Help for Anxiety
Singing anxiety extends beyond normal nerves about getting up in front of others. If you find yourself in a panic at the thought of doing Karaoke, it could be that you are living with a severe type of performance anxiety known as social anxiety disorder.
Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for this disorder including medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). If singing anxiety or performance anxiety extends beyond Karaoke to other aspects of your life, you may benefit from an assessment and plan for treatment, so be sure to visit your doctor or a mental health care professional.