Mary Ann Coggins Kaza, Donnell Plumlee, Laura Handke

I’ve been teaching at Lake Music, not just in my home studio, since last August. Lake Music’s second recital this year was Saturday, October 26th. Seven of my students, four voice and three piano students, had originally signed up to perform.

Now, the word “perform” is a bit of a stretch for a recital. This is not an audition or professional production, just an opportunity to stretch and show off what you’ve learned so far with supportive family members and friends in the audience.

Yet it can feel like a performance, as I remember from my childhood piano recitals and early vocal performances in church and school. And…not that long ago…when I auditioned for a musical for the first time in 20 years.

It can be freakin’ terrifying…especially sharing your voice in a solo singing performance. For me, having not jumped out of an airplane, or been diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness, solo singing is the scariest thing I’ve done. Perhaps even scarier than leaving a job when I had no money in the bank because I knew I needed to complete my vocal training with the Transformational Voice® Training Institute, and I was forced to make a choice.

Lina Chang

How crazy is this? That the thought of singing in front of other people can wreak so much mental havoc we might as well be about to cross a railroad track in front of an oncoming train. Can you see the headlight? Hear that whistle blowng? Feel all that fog rolling up and around? I sure can. (Hmm…do I watch too many movies? Maybe I’ve sung Folsom Prison Blues one too many times.)

The fear of public speaking (without even adding singing to the mix) is consistently – in study after study, year after year – in the top three fears of most people, along with death and height-related fears, like falling or crashing in a plane. I read somewhere that certain insects/bugs are close in the mix as well.

Allow me to laugh about this for a minute. God, please make sure the flight attendant doesn’t hand me a glass of tomato juice with a spider on it, while he forces me to give a speech as the plane is crashing.

Okay, that wasn’t very funny. I tried.

Because solo singing (not speaking so much) has been one of my big fears, I can relate.

I’m getting over it, and so can you. It starts in the brain, impacts the body, and you can re-reprogram the brain.

Two of my voice students backed out of the recital because they were afraid of performing. And they were two of my strongest students, in different ways. Another spaced it because of competing family priorities. The one who did get up and sing sounded fantastic and empowered herself. I was so proud of Chloe. (By the way, I made a mistake while accompanying her on the piano to Scarborough Fair; I wasn’t perfect!)

I asked Chloe if she felt good about her singing afterwards, and she did. Her family was there supporting her with a bunch of congratulatory orange/peach colored roses, taking family photos.

Chloe Baker

Performance anxiety will lessen once you perform, in a safe environment, just a few times. And I happen to have this very cool MP3 file (I didn’t create it) that helped lessen my performance anxiety.

Yet it all starts with the breath…being able to breathe with a relaxed core so your belly goes out when you inhale, and your breath is carrying the sound of your beautiful voice.

If you’re fearful about speaking or singing in public, know it’s natural and there are ways you can move forward and express your inner voice in the outer world.

Karma Bradley and Mark Kellogg
Shelly Zhuge
Donn Skrivanek

Love Your Voice and Voice Your Love,


Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)