Audrey Hunt, author of "Anyone Can Sing," teaches us how to sharpen our ear-training skills.
Sing Without Fear
Four Causes of Fear That Attack Singers
In the Book of Lists, Wallace, Wallechinsky, and Wallace ranked fear of public speaking and singing as the number one phobia in America. Fear of dying is number six. Anyone can experience fear or stagefright, not just shy or insecure people
Let's take a look at a few main causes of fear:
- You make predictions about every situation you're about to enter. As a performer, you imagine a number of things that might go wrong. These fear-provoking thoughts come from your own past failures, observing others who have made mistakes or simply having an active imagination. There is no truth to your predictions. Stop believing them.
- You experience anxiety as a result of your fear-provoking thoughts. Your feelings and emotions are produced by your thoughts. If you believe you're going to have difficulty, you will become frightened. Overcome these negative thoughts by proving them wrong. Face your fear, one-by-one, and watch them disappear.
- Since the brain can only focus attention on one complex mental task at a time, the more you focus on assessing your anxiety, the more the task you are performing will be interfered with and interrupted.
- The main cause of fear and stagefright is the fear of a negative evaluation. So, lift yourself up, face each fear, and little-by-little each one will fade away.
Fear Keeps Us From Being Who We Are
Five Ways To Control Fear
Learning to recognize your fear and the causes of fear is one of the first steps in learning to control it.
- Your prediction about how well you think you will perform determines your failure or doom. The more you predict failure, the more fear you will experience.
- Your evaluation of the importance of the consequences of performing determines the level of fear you experience.
- Be prepared. Before my students sing or act in a performance, I put them through weeks of training under various conditions. This consistent practice teaches them to focus on the business at hand and not at distractions. Know your material inside and out.
- Be passionate about your performance. Believe the lyrics and find the emotion, then live it.
- Use humor. Humor is such a powerful tool for reducing anxiety. It's also a wonderful way to gain audience acceptance, and we know that a fear of audience rejection is one of the most common fears leading to stagefright.
Anyone can experience fear, depending on the situation. I too experienced fear in the early stages of my career as a professional singer. Then one day I asked myself this question. What is the worst possible consequence that could happen during my show? I imagined what it could be and came up with a great solution. That was the end of my fear.
An Affirmation To Help Reduce And Eliminate Fear
Become As A Little Child And Play The Lyrics to The Song
When we were children we sang freely, without fear of judgment, and our voices rang with confidence. We made up our own lyrics as we went along with no concern about rhythm or rhyming. Our songs were our dreams and we wanted to share them with our friends.
We knew something the grown-ups didn't know. We knew that singing is simply dreaming out loud. No fear or concern is present. We connect with our inner self.
You may think this is a silly thing to do. It isn't. Think about how much fun it is to play with a child. Remember the funny, child-like things you do. You become the age of the small child in order to communicate. You don't feel silly at all. It's important to take yourself back to that time and relax when you sing, especially to others.
Celebrate By Singing Without Judgement Or Fear
As children, we celebrated everything with a song. Birthdays were honored with a special verse of "Happy Birthday To You." So what if we mispronounced a word. Who cared if we left a word out. We dreamed about our own birthday party and the excitement of sharing our cake and special surprises with friends. We dreamed of a brand new bike that we might get this year. We sang without fear or judgment.
But never, were we afraid to sing. Singing was a natural form of self-expression and communication. It still is. Don't let an opportunity to sing pass you by. It's a gift, so open it, delight in it, and use it.
Helpful Tips To Overcome Fear
Singing Reawakens What Has Been Tucked Away
Why do we forget and dismiss this power as we grow older? We silence ourselves and lose touch with our own imagination and our own voice.
We are taught to discount our inner voice and when we do that we lose touch with ourselves. How sad this is. Is it any wonder then that we grow up hating the sound of our own voice?
We are missing so much by refusing to dream out loud through singing. Most of all, we are missing that deep connection within ourselves because to sing is to feel.
Dreaming about love brings a strong emotion. Singing about love allows us to bring the dream to the present and experience those feelings stronger than ever.
When We Sing Or Speak Vibrations Occur Within Our Body
Vibrations are not only heard, they are felt. These vibrations are felt by both the singer and the listener. This is why 'goosebumps' will be felt on the skin and inside the surface when you hear a beautiful singer or are deeply touched by certain music.
These same feelings can occur when someone says something that really moves you. When this happens, fear does not exist.
Then why do we fear? Can fear be reduced?
My Final Thoughts About Reducing Fear
Carolyn Sloan, author of "Finding Your Voice", feels that "The body, the emotions, and thoughts are all one. Singing is holistic in nature. It supports our wholeness as human beings."
I believe with everything that is in me that it is natural for us to sing. I know that it is unnatural for us to refuse to sing and release our emotions regardless of how we sound. When we dream, even if it's a bad dream we are free to express our true feelings.
Singing allows us that same freedom. We are not always free to speak our true feelings, but we can say exactly what is in our heart through singing.
Feelings are neither right or wrong - they just are. In singing, let go of all judgment and especially the need to be right. This is negative and keeps you from being what you truly are.
Fear is negative. It exists only in your own mind. With practice, you will overcome the debilitating emotion that scares you. You will become fearless.
You truly are a unique and beautiful diamond. You are part of nature. You are the very source of your own energy. Don't bury your diamond under a rock of fear and self-judgment. Let your diamond sparkle and shine. Sing!
Celebrate your own uniqueness and become fearless. Unleash the message you carry within you. Don't worry about how you sound when you sing. Just Sing!
© 2013 Audrey Hunt
Pammiestar on November 22, 2014:
Audrey, once again you stirred something deep in the depths of my soul. No one could put it as deep and yet so simple like you do. I've read and read it and will read it again until it's firmly ingrained in me. I got a phone call from someone yesterday who wants me to perform I less than 10 days time. I have never ever performed, never sung my songs in front of anyone apart from my kids, have many issues like timing, vibrato, breathing, vowel placements, don't like my voice that much but I will take up the challenge and try and do my best, after all it was I that wanted this manifested. I am scared and have a lot of fear as Maybe it's come a bit too soon as 10 days is not enough with working and being a mum. I'm just not getting the time to practice and know everything inside out but I can only do my best and let my light shine bright, like a diamond. Love everything you say and love you! X
Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on October 29, 2014:
Ah, Rolly, my dear friend. A comment from you is better than Chocolate. I can just imagine how those fish are running every which way...uh swimming, that is.
I about died laughing at Mr. Bean singing in church. Sharing this video on my FB page.
You're the best.
Hugs back from California.
Rolly A Chabot from Alberta Canada on October 29, 2014:
Well written my friend, love the way you can put people at ease with your writing... afraid when I sing I scare the fish in the fish tanks in the house... it is that bad really... love Mr. Bean and had to tag this one for you.
Hugs from Canada
Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on October 29, 2014:
Yes, my friend, honoring our inner-child nurtures us through fear. Singing is a gift given to everyone, not just to a special few. Thank you for your vote and for sharing.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 05, 2014:
Very useful tips on getting over fear!
Always be a child at heart and all the fear and self consciousness will be gone. Beautifully done hub, with a great and important message.
Voted up and shared on HP!
Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on August 03, 2014:
Is there anyone more supportive than you? Not! I see you have posted this to be shared and I just want to say thanks! Audrey
Nell Rose from England on August 02, 2014:
Came back for another read Audrey, awesome hub, voted up and shared! nell
Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on July 28, 2014:
FlourishAnyway - You are so kind. I certainly appreciate your coming back to revisit and for sharing. Happy Days!
FlourishAnyway from USA on July 27, 2014:
I enjoyed this so much for its youthful message. Had to revisit and share for those who are new or wanted to re-read.
Ian D Hetri from Papua New Guinea on May 11, 2014:
You welcome Audry. Happy hubbing
Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on May 11, 2014:
Dear Ian - Your remarks are so kind and supportive. Fear is a cruel thief, robbing us of success and good experiences. Parents must take care not to instill fear in their children. Children can be taught not to run into the street in front of traffic or to avoid strangers without instilling fear into them. Once we invite fear into our thoughts, it spills out into other areas as well.
I am pleased to have you approve of my hub, my new friend and look forward to visiting more of your hubs. May peace and joy go with you - Audrey
Ian D Hetri from Papua New Guinea on May 11, 2014:
This is a beautiful hub. I have written a lot on mindset and one thing that really holds us back and denies our life of promises that we supposed to get in life is fear. Fear does more damages to ourself than he or she thinks possible. Fear is really a stealer of time and killer of dreams.
Well done on this hub. I enjoy reading it and learnt new things in this hub. You too good a hubber as always.
Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on April 01, 2014:
Hi Audrey - Happiness is having a compliment like this from Audrey Howitt herself. Wow.
Audrey Howitt from California on April 01, 2014:
Such a wonderful hub Audrey!! Passing this out everywhere!
Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on March 28, 2014:
rajan - Hello my friend. Yes, the best of times - childhood. Thank you. Hugs.
Harishprasad - Your beautiful words have touched me deeply. I am so grateful for all you have said. Thank you so much. ~ Audrey
Harish Mamgain from New Delhi , India on March 28, 2014:
Powerful words to eradicate fear from our life ! It is only from you that I learnt that irrespective of our quality of voice and our ability of rendering a song, it is very natural for us to sing and we must sing loud and without fear. Fear is a big obstruction in the way of growth not only in singing field but every activity of our life. Your words are very inspiring and are capable of arousing vigor and strength in our capacities and talents that are lying dormant. Audrey, great hub, very unique and fantastic ! Voted up.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 28, 2014:
Very useful tips to overcome fear. Of course, becoming a child once again is the best of it. As children we were so unconscious of everything.
Great hub. Voted up, useful and shared.
Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on March 25, 2014:
Storytellersrus ~ Very true. I agree with you. Thank you.
drbj - Oh my goodness. Giving a speech to dentists about being positive - I can't imagine. I now have a new respect for you my friend. :)
Genna East - Oh, how I loved "The King's Speech." Great movie and superb actors. And I still use singing as a way to help reduce stuttering with speech. You are right on!
Sherry Hewins - I like hearing this Sherry. What a wonderful gift for you!
Dee aka Nonna - I'm delighted to hear that you like this hub and even more delighted to know how much you love to sing. What a wonderful memory for your grandchildren.
teaches12345 - Glassophobia. I didn't know this. Thanks for sharing with me. I always learn from you and I love this. Appreciate the votes.
quildon - Isn't it a shame that we lose the confidence we had as children? I appreciate you for sharing this experience. Thank you.
mckbirdbks - Thanks so much for your nice compliment. As for singing, yoou don't have to understand it, you just do it :)
Dim Flaxenwick - If we could all go back in time and visit our childhood. We could unlock the door to the fear of singing. Thanks my friend.
Hello Audrey - Thanks for being here and for letting me know about Barbara Conable. Will google her right now.
fiftyish - I like this quote from FDR. How very true it is. And you've really 'hit the nail on the head' with "it's not the act of doing, but the thinking about it." Wonderful point! Thanks, Andy.
Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on February 20, 2014:
CraftytotheCore Thank you for sharing this. Praising you little guy will continue to keep fear at bay. Give him opportunities to sing in front of others while he's young. ~ Audrey
Andy Aitch from UK & South East Asian Region on February 15, 2014:
Good Hub Audrey.
It's been my experience that the biggest fear of all is fear itself, or as it's often defined: F-alse E-vidence A-ppearing R-eal. Usually it's not the act of doing something that is so daunting, but the thinking about it (whatever "it" happens to be). Or as one wise old bird once said: "Don't THINK, just DO!"
Audrey Howitt from California on January 22, 2014:
Great hub on the subject! Are you familiar with Barbara Conable's work on the subject? Take a look you might find it interesting!
Dim Flaxenwick from Great Britain on November 24, 2013:
Wonderful hub. I love the thoughts on how we sang as children, with no fear of being critisised or laughed at. It just wasn't considered at all. We just sang?
Thank you for lifting me out of a dreadful mood , today.
Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 23, 2013:
bravewarrior ~ I really love this story. I'm sharing it with social media and with my vocal class. You'd better keep on singing dear heart.
FlourishAnyway ~ Thank you so much. I know I've reached my goal when I hear comments such as yours!
Jackie Lynnley ~ I love to hear about people who sing out just because they love it. Whether it's a solo, group or choir; it comes from the heart. Thanks Jackie.
mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on November 23, 2013:
Hello Audrey you are a wonderful teacher. All your music hubs prove your love of the subject and your students. I never have understood singing - an obvious fault. And public speaking, oh - don't get me started.
Angela Joseph from Florida on November 21, 2013:
I always enjoy your hubs because I love to sing and love listening to people sing. But “When we were children we sang freely, without fear of judgment, and our voices rang with confidence” is so true of me. I remember our music teacher calling me up to the stage to sing in front of a lot of kids because my friends told her I could sing. Now? No one can get me to do that. I sing at home and that's it.
Dianna Mendez on November 21, 2013:
I use these tips to help students through speech anxiety. I believe it is one of the top fears: glassophobia. Singing falls into that category as it is coming before a public audience and it is very intimidating. Your post will help many to overcome their fears and to perform with confidence. Voted up ++
Dee aka Nonna on November 21, 2013:
I love, love, love to sing....mostly for my own enjoyment. I also sing to my grandchildren who love to hear the songs from my childhood. Although I am not a "singer" singer....I love the message in this hub. It is truly a powerful message for anyone who need to let the inner voice out.
Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on November 20, 2013:
I find it so much easier to sing in front of a crowd than to speak. It's a wonderful feeling.
Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on November 20, 2013:
My biggest fear has always been public speaking; sometimes I am called upon to give a presentation to clients in m work with HR consulting. When I read this wonderful hub, I was reminded of the film, “The King’s Speech,” and how ‘Bertie' was able to articulate his words without stuttering when he sang. “When we were children we sang freely, without fear of judgment, and our voices rang with confidence.” This is soo true. Thank you for this fascinating and helpful hub! :-)
drbj and sherry from south Florida on November 19, 2013:
I remember, Audrey, reading one time a list of our greatest fears and the Fear of Public Speaking was #1. Tied at #1 also was the Fear of Dentists. So I guess giving a speech to a convention of dentists would be maximum phobia. But I did once. Give a speech to a convention of dentists - about the power of being positive. And I'm still here.
So there is hope for everyone. Follow Audrey's advice about controlling your fear and you will be successful. Trust me.
Barbara from Stepping past clutter on November 18, 2013:
I think in elementary school as many people shut down their artistic expression as their ability to sing with joy. Both are huge losses to the soul! Thanks for an amazing article.
CraftytotheCore on November 18, 2013:
What a great Hub! My son has an amazing singing voice for a little boy. He has no fear at all. I'm completely opposite. I was a piano player in my childhood. I had every opportunity to join chorus, band, jazz band, etc. But I would never sing. In chorus, I would whisper. LOL The first time I sang out loud was for my husband. I practiced his favorite Christmas song and finally sang it for him. That's the only time!
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on November 18, 2013:
I am fearless singing in church, that is it. lol Which reminds me of a girl years ago that would get up to sing and so afraid that those first words came out were so horrible but as she got into the song you never heard anything so beautiful. I hope she ever got over it but in her case it just did not matter! Great write, up and sharing.
Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 18, 2013:
Mhatter99 - Exactly. Believing in yourself is mandatory for overcoming fear. Thank you!
Hi Billy - It doesn't surprise me that we think so much a like. I'm ready to read your new hub. I can't wait. Thank you for being here and always know how much I appreciate you and your support.
FlourishAnyway from USA on November 18, 2013:
I like your characterization of singing as dreaming out loud, and I like the encouragement and motivation that this uplifting hub provides.
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 18, 2013:
Audrey, when I was in 9th grade I was in the chorus - Alto 2. Once I saw that people were being called on at random to sing solos, I quit. I was new to the school and wasn't readily accepted. The thought of singing in front of a bunch of people I didn't know terrified me.
Today, I sing all the time without even realizing I'm doing it. When I worked in a corporate environment, I'd walk down the halls singing. I had a radio in my office and sang along all the time. I remember one day our Controller came out of her office (from across the hall) and asked what was wrong with me. I said, "what do you mean?" Her reply was, "I can't hear you singing. You are always singing. Today, you're not. What's wrong?"
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 18, 2013:
We are on the same wavelength today...singing without fear and writing without fear. Great minds and all that, eh?
Very helpful work from a quality teacher and professional.
Keep encouraging my friend.
Martin Kloess from San Francisco on November 18, 2013:
Once I knew I was really good, the rest was easy. Thank you Mr. Land... and thank you