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Performance anxiety

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by Blues Man, Jul 19, 2018.

  1. G Money

    G Money Strat-Talker

    Jul 9, 2010
    League City, TX
    For me preparation is the key. If I feel fully prepared it removes enough of the stress of live performance that I am able to push thru. Knowing your equipment and having a consistent system to prepare your material is part of being prepared.
    stratnutz and BallisticSquid like this.
  2. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.
    They had more to be embarrassed about.

    Back to being serious though, as others have said, it’s something that you just need to jump out and get used to doing. Getting up and singing karaoke helped me, just get used to being in front of people performing.
    BallisticSquid likes this.
  3. Morf2540

    Morf2540 Strat-Talker

    Nov 8, 2017
    Philadelphia, PA
    For sure, knowing the material backwards and forwards helps a lot. Cause then you can just feel it in the moment, rather than focusing on what comes next.

    When playing in front of an audience, just pretend they are not there. Just you and the band, like rehearsal. If you're nervous in rehearsal, just pretend you're alone in a room, playing along with a record.
    BallisticSquid and stratnutz like this.
  4. cappei

    cappei Strat-O-Master

    Jun 24, 2017
    Quillota, Valparaíso, Chile

    I've found that expsure is the best way to overcome that.

    When i first start playin, I did it with my friends, I was nervous even though they were my friends

    Same happened when i started playin' with people I didn't know, I would freeze in rehersals, now I can play with different people and the best way to overcome the initial first is go berserker on my guitar. Maybe showoff a lil' to feel sure. For those ends, I got a couple of nice sounding licks that are kind of my safe blanket

    Then was live playin'. You got to take the nerves, they are part of the game, you'll learn to manage them, at first will make your perfomances be dull, then you'll find a way, but you must keep on goin', as anything in this guitar world, is goes about being constant.

    I've found that when I was in a band where bandmates had issues among them, it was harder to me to go on stage, I was pissed and I just wanted to leave, playing with no energy or goin' up stage without actually wanting it is the worse thing ever. Nerves never actually let you go and you just want to leave stage ASAP

    Few nights back I had a really good gig and It was mainly cus the group of new people Im in is really funny, light blooded and nice to each other, that helped a lot.

    I tried booze and sometimes help, but theres a thin line between "im not afraid anymore" and "I have no idea what Im doin'" So i don't recomend... unless you got like super human powers to take booze like slash or ozzy.

    I smoke all the time so that actually does calm my nerves a lil bit.

    And yes, practice, practice, practice. As Claus Levin says, you don't rise to the circumstances, you just do what you are trained to do, so You wont be channelin' no hendrix avatar, only the things you do know and learned. Practice the songs a few hours at home, alone, relaxed, it does help me.

    Hope it helps

    but most important


    you'll get there, where you want to be.
    BallisticSquid likes this.
  5. thomquietwolf

    thomquietwolf Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 2, 2010
    Peardale CA
    Oh yeah...
    You're going to sing...
    Apply really, really good denture glue...
    Deal with it...
    Silvercrow and Bob the builder like this.
  6. heltershelton

    heltershelton ASKED TO LEAVE THE STAGE Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    i feel at home jammin in front of a rowdy crowd. i dont think ive ever had that type of performance anxiety.
    i think the reason is.....i dont care if i make a mistake.....everyone makes em.
    i thinks its good not to focus on yourself.....thats when you screw up.....kinda like the kid just starting to ride a bicycle.....hes so worried about running into the curb that he.........runs into the curb. know what i mean?
    Keith268 and BallisticSquid like this.
  7. Strat-Slinger

    Strat-Slinger Senior Stratmaster

    I've been playing out in bands for over 30 years and still get a bit nervous sometimes before gigs...

    I realized a long time ago that the reason this happens is because we want to play our best... which translates to the simple fact that we are someone who is accountable for their actions... which means plain and simple... that we take responsibility for ourselves and we choose to do things to our fullest potential...

    This is good and should not be viewed as a a drawback in any way... Embrace the butterflies and ride the weirdness... don't worry and be clear, kind & calm... it's all good...
    Silvercrow likes this.
  8. heltershelton

    heltershelton ASKED TO LEAVE THE STAGE Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    very true. but i believe obsessing about making mistakes will lead you to making mistakes.
  9. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    We have a couple of songs in our setlist that give me some fits...they are just a bit tricky. They are things that really aren't hard, they just trip me up. I found I would start anticipating them and the more I focused on it, the more likely I was to mess it up.

    This past weekend, I got so caught up in the excitement that I forgot these things tripped me up, and I played them next to flawless. Afterwards it occurred to me that I had no trouble :). Problem is it's hard to think about NOT thinking about something.

    I honestly don't get nervous at all any more about mistakes...I don't really care. It's a fine line though between being OK with mistakes and being totally ambivalent about them. You have to care to some extent, otherwise your playing devolves into a sloppy mess. Kinda like the booze thing that @cappei brought up.
    heltershelton likes this.
  10. heltershelton

    heltershelton ASKED TO LEAVE THE STAGE Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    crazy how that works huh?
    its a balance man. yes you wanna play your best, but dont go jumping off a building because you make a mistake.
    and like someone else said, knowing your stuff well is a plus.
    you can be confident without being arrogant.
    BallisticSquid likes this.
  11. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 6, 2014
    Bucks County, Pa.
    It's been said here and I mentioned it in a recent similar post:

    The audience is ON YOUR SIDE! They are not a crowd of vultures waiting to pick you apart if you 'crash and burn'! They generally want you to succeed and THEY want to have fun!

    A little nervousness is NORMAL. Over 30 years doing this stuff and I still get the butterflies until "into" the first song. Kind of like catching a wave when surfing, it comes...WHOOO-HOOOO! Ride it baby!

    Be prepared. NOT only the music / songs: make sure EVERYTHING in your rig is working EVERYTHING! Have spare strings, extra picks, small tool kit (not talking the Sears 5 drawer model; just small screwdriver(s), peg winder, string clippers, visa or master card...etc.). NOTHING worse then getting ready to go on and finding a cable shorted...then running around trying to borrow one. Try to eliminate UNNECESSARY stress by reasonable planning for contingencies.

    In our originals band, when we auditioned for a rhythm guitarist we could tell a lot about him / her by how prepared the guy / gal was. Difference between a pro and a novice / experienced vs. inexperienced.

    HAVE FUN! Give us a full report please! BEST WISHES!

    BallisticSquid and Strat-Slinger like this.
  12. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 8, 2016
    Know your stuff, so well that you could do it in your sleep.

    Then go do it.
    The "pain" of stage fright is small, compared to the pleasure of performing.
    heltershelton likes this.
  13. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    YES!!! So much to worry about and many things that can go wrong...take control of what you can and eliminate easy things. I wish I could like this 100 times!!

    I rehearse with my rig as I have it set up at a gig. Getting up on stage is just like rehearsal! :)
    Silvercrow likes this.
  14. Wrighty

    Wrighty Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 7, 2013
    Harlow, Essex, UK
    I stripped off last week for nothing.............did My Ding-a-Ling, honestly thought the audience were just mesmerized by my brilliant rendition.......................should have kept my pants on
  15. ido1957

    ido1957 Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 13, 2014
    Practice and know your material. If you are trying to impress with a difficult solo that causes you nerves, consider dropping it until it's solid or do an improv. It all depends on your ability retain that muscle memory between gigs.
  16. jaybones

    jaybones Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Know your songs backwards and forwards. Know them so well you can play them in your sleep.

    Every show I did I always got butterflies, but got through it. I wouldn't want to play without having the anxiety beforehand, since it usually dissipated quickly, and the reward of the adrenaline was better than any drug.
  17. Blues Man

    Blues Man Strat-Talker

    Feb 7, 2018
    Thanks for the feedback everyone

    I am nowhere near getting on stage yet but I did find a couple of open jam sessions that take place pretty regularly in my area

    I'm going to start sitting in even if it's just to play some cowboy chords in the back of the room
    ocean likes this.
  18. mw13068

    mw13068 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 29, 2009
    Ithaca, NY
    Some thoughts from someone who was extremely introverted for the first 40 years of life:

    1. I had to mentally decide that I was fed up with being afraid of expressing myself, with words, music, etc.

    2. Open jams / open-mics are a GREAT place to start. Everyone who goes to those has been where you are. They want you there, mistakes and all. You know what's most important to them? That you're friendly and supportive of others as well. They are also a great place to meet people and network, and find bands to play in.

    3. Practice a lot of course, but you'll never avoid mistakes. They happen. We are all human. The audience doesn't notice/care. Just laugh it off and keep playing. I make mistakes in every show I play. The mistakes don't matter.

    4. Play in a group. Mistakes matter even less when you've got everyone else to lean on.

    5. Record your playing and listen to the results. You'll find those mistakes that sear into your brain when they happen aren't that bad a couple days later on the re-play.
    BallisticSquid likes this.