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Stage fright

PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:23 pm
by leftyguitarman
So I am starting in a band this weekend, it's going to be my first band, and I am going to play rhythm guitar in the band. I have horrible stage fright, I mean, I cant even do a presentation in front of any of my classes. Does anyone have any tips on not worrying about stage fright? I really need some tips because I think that when I go to do my first gig, I might mess up on the songs because I would be so nervous and scared. Thanks in advance!


PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:35 pm
by allanlummox
First off, I've known some wonderful performers who had horrible stage fright - and I still get nerves before every performance, whether it's on a streetcorner or at a festival.

Stagefright can be your friend - it means that you care, that you really want to put on a great show. It can give you an extra bit of energy tha will help you win the audience.

With experience, you'll get used to it - even look forward to it. My butterflies usually abate as soon as I get applause - or the first bill hits the guitar case (coins actually make me MORE nervous).

One more thing - if I ever walk on to a stage and I'm NOT nervous, I'll probably take that as a sign that it's time to hang up my guitar - because "The Thrill is Gone".

Hope that helps.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:36 pm
by gcd revue
Everybody has his or her own way of dealing with stage nerves. Personally, I only ever had it when playing for people I know well and respect. But, then, I'm usually too busy to think much about it. I carry vocals and rhythm, and sometimes harp. I'm too busy concentrating on keeping it all together and in time. That being said, just remember: If you make a mistake, it's improvisation. If you make the same mistake every time, it's an arrangement. And if you make nothing but mistakes, it's JAZZ! Good luck, and above all, have FUN! As long as they're not throwing things, or shooting at you (been there) it's all good.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:42 pm
by leftyguitarman
gcd revue wrote:If you make a mistake, it's improvisation. If you make the same mistake every time, it's an arrangement. And if you make nothing but mistakes, it's JAZZ!

HAHAHA! I like that.

So I take it that I should just focus on playing my guitar and nothing else?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:47 pm
by allanlummox
You shouldn't really think about your playing too much while you're onstage - that's what rehearsal is for.

While onstage, think about connecting with the audience.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 12:08 am
by gcd revue
Don't get me wrong...I do my absolute best to connect with the audience. They just don't make me nervous. But, then, I'm wired wrong or something...there's never been any "flight" in my "fight-or-flight" response. And being in front of groups of people has never felt any different than playing in the living room. But let some close friends or family be there, and I'm nervous as the proverbial whore in church. ;-)

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 12:17 am
by 1four5
I'm still green, so I know exactly how you feel right now. We did our first show last Labor day and have done small stuff regularly since. Heres what helps me.

Get a very good night of sleep

Don't eat a big meal close to show need that blood in your brain, not your stomache.

Don't drink too much before the show, it sucks to have to pee in the middle of a set.

Deep breaths...very important, delivers more oxygen to your brain, it really works!

Know your stuff. most important. Be able to play it while carrying on a conversation. Your subconsious and your fingers need to know how to play your songs when your brain stops working.

Pick no brainer songs for your first few songs, especially the first time you play in public. Pick something you can play in your sleep. You will be shaking like a leaf, you won't be able to feel your fingers, your brain will be numb..but you still gotta play the song. The first song I ever played in public was "Can't you see" by Marshal Tucker...I still have the video, and watch it from time to time. I still can't believe how well we pulled off that first show, because I remember what it felt like, like it was yesterday. The audiance doesn't know what's going on inside you, so just smile and play.

This is VERY important for me, and has saved me from having a nervous breakdown: The nerves leading up to your first show are WAY worse than actually doing it. Remember this in the hour leading up to going on stage, because you will want to just run, and you may be doubting that you can do it. Bullshit. Because....

Once you finish that first song, having seen people tap their feet, clap, and then applaud for will experience why your up there in the first place. By the time your halfway through the second song, you'll still be nervous, but you'll be having fun, getting in the groove, and wondering what the fuss was all about. Once the set is over, you've forgotten all about being nervous, you can't wait to do it again, and wonder where the time went.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 12:26 am
by allanlummox
Really good, practical tips from 1four5.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 2:21 am
by leftyguitarman
Thanks everyone! It still may be a month 'till my first gig, but I am going to learn all the stuff I need to be in the band. I'll think of all that and remember it before I go on stage.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 2:25 am
by fat paul
I used to have bad stage fright but now there is no place that I like better. Just play a buncha gigs seems to help some folks.
fat paul

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:00 am
by lorilu
"Can't ya see, Oh can't ya see, what that woman, lord, she been doin to me?"
On the drummer's forum we talked about this and there was a young girl who performs and gets nervous and she thinks about it like when you're getting on a roller coaster. You're nervous but in a great way like you are going to have a really fun ride. Pretty cool, huh.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 4:50 am
by gcd revue
I'm with 1four5 on the good night's sleep and light meal...especially the light meal. Feed the dog, he won't hunt. While I don't get nervous or apprehensive about performing (been in front of people since I was a small child), I will say I experience a good bit of anticipation. Nothing feels quite as good as when everything just "clicks" and the band and audience are riding the same wave. No drug can come close to that feeling. Look forward to THAT! You're in for a hell of a rush when it happens.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 11:34 am
by maxx england
Things have changed since I accepted I have no ability but a heart of pure ham, so now I think I could do the Albert Hall and it would be the audience with the problem.

However, the first time I played guitar in public was at a bike club Christmas show, and I couldn't believe what the adrenalin did to me. I was on stage alone, banging through Johnny B Goode and having to push the guitar hard down onto my left leg to control it because it was shaking so badly I couldn't stand up. That was an education, you might have to be that determined too if it hits you really badly, but you have one major advantage: you are not alone up there. You can back off, you can hide a little behind the others. And if it comes down to getting lost in the middle of a number, don't worry, just listen for the bass and the drums and jump on the bus again the next time it comes past You. Also, this is blues. You have a basic series of 5 notes, and just hitting the root and 5th can go a long way to bluffing the audience (they're not usually musicians so they usually can't see the joins), so that takes the pressure off you.

Just remember, this is meant to be fun, just get up there and enjoy it and accept any litte mistakes you make as being exactly that - little.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 4:35 pm
by nizer
1four5 wrote:The nerves leading up to your first show are WAY worse than actually doing it. Remember this in the hour leading up to going on stage, because you will want to just run, and you may be doubting that you can do it...

This was very much my experience - and not just on my first show. I always had stage fright, but after a while learned to enjoy it. Kinda like going bunjee jumping I think...

It's a tough one Blake. One thing I learned over time was that I overestimated how much attention people actually paid and that they weren't as critical as I imagined them to be. That's important because performance anxiety is a viscious circle - the more uptight you are the less the music flows and the worse you actually do sound. Over time I learned to "stay within myself" - not try to impress everyone but just to relax and to focus on what I enjoyed doing, not how people might be perceiving it.

Easy to say I guess. Like 145 says, the anticipation is worse than the actual show. Just takes time, a few good experiences and you'll be fine. Let us know how it goes.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 4:41 pm
by guitarslim101
I agree with what has already been said and also add this little tid-bit: make sure your fly is up...unless you have some sort of gimmick involving exposed body parts.