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dbrian66

Stage Fright

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So I am an amature guitar palayer at best, but I play regularly with a group at my church. Almost every Sunday morning I play in front of 2 - 3 hundred people. On Friday nights we play for a much smaller group of people in a CR meeting. Now my role in the the group is to play rhythm in the backround with the bass and drum. I am fine with that. But anytime I have to do something on my own, my brain locks up. Just tonight we were playing a song that I know real well. While warming up during sound check, I was playing an intro to the song that sounds real good. A lot of chorus and delay and picking through the chords one note at a time. Really simple. Now I dont normally play this intro live, just when we are practicing. Well right when we were getting ready to play the song live the guy who leads us looks at me and says "do the intro". Well I did, and totally messed it up. Brain just locked up. How do you overcome that?

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The traditional answer is... keep doing it. The more you do it, the better you'll be able to ride the fear (as it's been put to me).

 

It's said so often because... frankly, it's the way to do it. There's no magical sequence of words that'll dispel the fear, just keep going.

 

Everyone's on your side, everyone (especially the musicians around you) understands. (and if they aren't and don't, **** 'em)

 

I've traditionally had serious troubles performing solo (perhaps because... nearly every time I have it's been in the environment of juries in a formal and classical environment), but every time I do it, it gets better. I used to lock up, hyperventilate, tremble, you name it. I still haven't gotten all that under control (possibly because I do solo stuff so sparsely), but it's better.

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I can only offer some trite, but effective, advice that my Band Director gave me years ago: visualize that you are performing while you practice at home; then in performance, visualize that you are practicing at home!

 

Craig

Beaufort, SC

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The traditional answer is... keep doing it.

 

I think that is the right answer as well. If you are not a natural performer - one who loves the attention an audience gives - you just kinda get used to it by repetition. I've done hundreds of performances, but I've always struggled with the attention performing brings. I focus on the music first and the people I'm playing with. I try to get lost in that and let the natural showmen in the band focus on the outward stuff. That has worked for me.

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Thanks for the advice. I guess I already knew the answer. If only someone could snap their fingers and make it better! I am not a natural performer. I dont like the attention to be on me, but I love playing the guitar. I just wish the performance part would come easier to me.

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Intro's are trickier than solo's in many ways because they are like the signature of the song for lots of songs. I've found that a good tactic is to realise that if its an original or a song that's not super well known it really doen't matter if its not perfect - most people don't even pick up a bum note and if they do will say 'that's live music' - no big deal so don't feel under too much pressure.

 

but if, however, its Sweet Child of Mine, Black Dog or Wish You Were Here and it aint working... drop it like a stone cos no one wants to hear that buggered up! [biggrin]

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Thanks for the advice. I guess I already knew the answer. If only someone could snap their fingers and make it better! I am not a natural performer. I dont like the attention to be on me, but I love playing the guitar. I just wish the performance part would come easier to me.

Usually my first response to "not messing up" is to pray.

 

That goes for everything in life, not just messing up in front of an audience. As it goes, I pray a lot. A LOT.

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I think lots of new, young guitar players practice the part, but nothing else. Practice while walking around. I like to every morning before work, spend half an hour walking around the house playing things. Sing and talk too, always be doing something else while you are practicing. That way when you are playing it and you want to look like you are really concentrating and focusing you'll have to act like you are, because you physically have it down so well you don't have to concentrate and focus. When you know something that well it's kinda hard to get nervous and a lot easier to enjoy the chi...people in the audience.

 

rct

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Usually my first response to "not messing up" is to pray.

 

That goes for everything in life, not just messing up in front of an audience. As it goes, I pray a lot. A LOT.

 

 

We pray a lot! Didn't help tonight. I dont think God is a huge fan of my Guitar playing! LOL

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Well I did, and totally messed it up. Brain just locked up. How do you overcome that?

 

 

Thanks for the advice. I guess I already knew the answer. If only someone could snap their fingers and make it better! I am not a natural performer. I dont like the attention to be on me, but I love playing the guitar. I just wish the performance part would come easier to me.

That's going to be as much practice as it is the jitters. And practice includes not just where the notes are, but practice with the band(s), timing, takings cues, who to watch, all of it.

 

Performing is like preparing for a sporting event. You aren't just practicing to learn how to play, you are preparing yourself.

 

In the end, you don't actually HAVE to overcome stage freight, you just have to overcome messing up. Or rather, control the results. 90% of us who play live only play 50% of what we know how to play live, because there is a big difference between what you can play at your best, and what you can play in front of people under pressure with the band.

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I think lots of new, young guitar players practice the part, but nothing else. Practice while walking around. I like to every morning before work, spend half an hour walking around the house playing things. Sing and talk too, always be doing something else while you are practicing. That way when you are playing it and you want to look like you are really concentrating and focusing you'll have to act like you are, because you physically have it down so well you don't have to concentrate and focus. When you know something that well it's kinda hard to get nervous and a lot easier to enjoy the chi...people in the audience.

 

rct

 

 

That is a good idea. When I am playing, if someone talks to me, I'm done. I cant do a conversation and play a song at the same time. Walking around and doing other stuff while I am playing might help. Things like that never pop into my mind while I am practicing.

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We pray a lot! Didn't help tonight. I dont think God is a huge fan of my Guitar playing! LOL

God wants to keep us humble.

 

It takes a lot more to keep a guitar player humble than it does for the average person.

 

Maybe he has to go to extremes with you because he knows how good a player you are.

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God wants to keep us humble.

 

It takes a lot more to keep a guitar player humble than it does for the average person.

 

Maybe he has to go to extremes with you because he knows how good a player you are.

 

 

thanks

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That is a good idea. When I am playing, if someone talks to me, I'm done. I cant do a conversation and play a song at the same time. Walking around and doing other stuff while I am playing might help. Things like that never pop into my mind while I am practicing.

 

Most of the time, most guitar players are doing something else while playing. Getting to the mic, dodging drunks, hopping over the monitors, dancing with the chi...patrons. Big places, arena and theater stages are obviously no different, you have to be doing a bunch of stuff up there too. If you learn to enjoy all the other stuff the whole thing becomes easier to do in front of chi...people.

 

rct

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Most of the time, most guitar players are doing something else while playing. Getting to the mic, dodging drunks, hopping over the monitors, dancing with the chi...patrons. Big places, arena and theater stages are obviously no different, you have to be doing a bunch of stuff up there too. If you learn to enjoy all the other stuff the whole thing becomes easier to do in front of chi...people.

 

rct

 

just where is this church you attend rct?

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I think lots of new, young guitar players practice the part, but nothing else. Practice while walking around. I like to every morning before work, spend half an hour walking around the house playing things. Sing and talk too, always be doing something else while you are practicing. That way when you are playing it and you want to look like you are really concentrating and focusing you'll have to act like you are, because you physically have it down so well you don't have to concentrate and focus. When you know something that well it's kinda hard to get nervous and a lot easier to enjoy the chi...people in the audience.

 

rct

 

 

That is a good idea. When I am playing, if someone talks to me, I'm done. I cant do a conversation and play a song at the same time. Walking around and doing other stuff while I am playing might help. Things like that never pop into my mind while I am practicing.

That's a good idea, and would also stress that playing while standing up, or practicing while standing up, is something a lot of folks overlook.

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A little "tingle" of stage anxiety is normal, and good! Keeps you honest. If you lose that entirely,

I think you'll lose the "edge" that's needed, to try your best every time.

 

But, it DOES get easier, the more you do it! I too, am one that's least comfortable, as a solo

performer, but do just fine, as a band member, even if/when I do most of the singing. As long as

I have my "mates" around me, I'm good to go! So, just keep at it! [thumbup]

 

CB

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just where is this church you attend rct?

 

 

Yeah, not a whole lot of drunks that I have to dodge. We would welcome them, but have'nt seen alot of them so far at church. LOL!

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Guest Farnsbarns

Never expect to get over the fear. Only hope to learn to play through it. To lose the fear is to undo millions of years of fight-or-flight evolution that has kept the species alive.

 

I met up with Tman this year and I was terrified because I know he plays out and was, therefore, clearly going to be a higher skilled player than I, and he is, but once I'd got one good lick out and I knew I hadn't made a fool of myself I relaxed and could play to the poor-mediocre standard I'd hoped for.

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Wise words indeed.....

 

Performing is a hands-on, practical skill...theorising is of limited value...

 

Everybody has their own unique approach to nerves etc, personally I have enjoyed performing both with and without nerves....in front of strangers and groups of friends...

 

Complicated intro's are a challenging area IMX...different mistakes each time... [biggrin]

 

Always move on after any perceived poor performance...everybody does it...

 

I did it last week....a poor(IMO) performance where the voice was not keyed correctly to the songs for technical reasons....I learned a lot in a short space of time...scuttled out completely embarrassed....

 

And did some more much better gigs within a few days... [thumbup]

 

Physical movement and chat/banter with band and audience can alleviate some nerves

 

V

 

:-({|=

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Yeah Brian. Just like everyone else is saying, I think you just have to fight thru it.

 

But I can sympathize with you. I'm fine playing along with the band, but when its me alone my fingers get all shaky and whatnot [crying]

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