Calming Your Sight Singing Nerves
Updated: Feb 25
Calming your sight singing nerves is a really important part of becoming a strong and confident sight singer.
We all get nervous, we all get anxious when we know we're going to face the unexpected, which is exactly what sight singing is. So how do we calm our nerves, how do we cope with our anxiety and give the best performance we can?
A great place to start when trying to calm your nerves is following a routine for every time you pick up a piece of music to sight sing. Having a routine essentially gives you structure - having a routine means you know what to do, what process to go through when you're nervous or anxious.
A routine allows you to confidently pick up a piece of music and start to sight sing it instead of picking up a piece of music and freezing!!
I call this your 'Routine For Reading' and it's a huge part of Sing By Sight . I mention your Routine For Reading in every Chapter and on every Level of Sing By Sight because I know how important it is for you to establish a process you go through when you pick up a piece of music (and also a process you're comfortable and confident with) when you're sight singing.
Instead of worrying about what you're going to be handed, you can think to yourself 'I don't know what this piece of music is going to be, but I know how I'm going to start reading it' - you have a method, a Routine For Reading.
What is my Routine For Reading:
put yourself in a calm and positive head space - realise you'll most probably make some mistakes and be ready to move on from them, don't let mistakes crush you
look first at the clef, then the key signature, and then the time signature - this is the order they appear on a piece of music so start with this information first
look at rhythmic patterns in the piece - pick out any busy bars you see and analyse them - also looking out for repetition
look at melodic movement in the piece - pick out any melodic bars that are busy and analyse them - also looking out for repetition
notice the form of the piece - intro, verse, chorus, bridge, middle 8, instrumental solo (if there is one) outro etc - again looking for repetition
check the lyrics (if there are any) - always looking for any repetition eg chorus
look at articulation and dynamics (if there are any) - adding these finishing touches will really lift the piece, giving it energy and life
listen to the track for style and feel, as well as any features that are on your part (rhythmic, melodic etc)
I go into this Routine For Reading in a lot more detail on Sing By Sight, I talk about it with every exercise - it's so important to have a process to work on when sight singing, allowing your head to be filled with positive thoughts instead of negative ones, get on with the job of reading the music and then singing it.
Once you have this routine established, you will be able to pick up any piece of music and work your way through it with a positive mindset, and hopefully enjoy your sight singing experience!
So what does your Routine For Reading do:
1. clears your head from feelings of panic and anxiety
2. gives you a structure to work with when you pick up a piece of music
3. builds your confidence as a sight singer
4. helps develop your speed as a sight singer
For more great information on learning to sight sing, check out the courses and options on Sing By Sight, and start to calm your sight singing nerves.