When I was much younger I used to think that once you knew everything and were vastly experienced, only then would you become confident.
But one day I was in a singing workshop when I realised that this is not true. You just have to decide to be confident! Behave as if you are and the rest will take care of itself.
Many years ago, when I was first starting out as a singer, I attended a singing workshop. At the start we went round the circle and introduced ourselves. I was horrified to discover that most people there were professional singers, singing teachers and choir leaders. I freaked!
The workshop began and I was extremely hesitant. What if they could hear me (and my awful voice)? What if I was doing it wrong? Could I pay close attention to the others to find out how to sing properly? Why were they all singing so confidently?
Then something unexpected happened: I stopped caring what others thought.
It was taking so much energy keeping a lid on my singing voice and focusing on the others all the time, that something must have snapped. This was stupid! I was there to enjoy myself, not to worry and be a mouse.
So I decided then and there to be confident. What that meant was that I just did what was asked of me to the best of my ability. I sang out loud and proud, lost myself in the group, and stopped worrying what others thought of me.
Suddenly I started to enjoy myself. I started to catch people’s eye and feel a real connection. Other singers began to smile at me. I really felt that we were making music together. People’s backgrounds and experience became irrelevant.
Afterwards I realised that I had been wrong in my understanding of confidence.
You don’t become confident when you feel you’ve really nailed something or developed a deep understanding.That day may never arrive. After all, it’s impossible to know everything about a subject, and you can always, always find ways of being better at something than you are right now. So there will never come a time when you feel that you’ve really arrived.
To be confident is to express yourself as best you can given the circumstances, and not to focus on other people (how much better they are than you or how badly they think of you).
That means that when you are starting out you can be a confident beginner, and as you get very experienced you can eventually become a confident expert. And in between you will be a confident learner.
So next time you’re at choir or in a singing workshop, stop worrying about other people (or some unrealistic expectation of yourself) and do what you can loud and proud. You will have more fun that way, and attract people to you as they see you oozing confidence.
You will also discover that you learn more quickly. If you stand at the back singing quietly you will not notice your mistakes so will never improve. Sing confidently, make big mistakes, correct them and become a better singer.