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Have you ever experienced stage fright?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by philboking View Post
    I had a wee bit of it early on - at 13 in a battle of the bands thing. After that I was playing so much it just seemed like another day.
    But 20 years later, after raising kids & all, returning to the stage, I had a bit of a struggle with myself about it. The cure involved playing a lot, and playing out a lot, and meditative techniques. Being in the right frame of mind before you go up makes all the difference.
    I very much agree. 2 points I meant to get to.

    It helped a lot though it was rough going at times to be in a situation where I was regularly thrown back into the fire.

    If a person only plays a few times a year, it's harder to rebound I think. Gotta get back on that horse, soon and often.

    And I had more than a bit of help from meditation/biofeedback techniques. When you can bring yourself down to 2 - 3 breaths per minute you've found a new level of control.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by sharkbait View Post
      Never had stage fright, just excitement and butterflies... came to cherish that "pregnant moment": plugging in pedals, audience chattering, in between music playing, other bandmate's various focused energies, snatches of music from amps, in between music turned down, announcer introducing us, 5,4,3,2..1, GO!

      One of those externally asserted be-here-now moments that are so rare. Loved it!
      ​It's a cool thing when you can be excited in a positive way, far more eager to show than concerned about showing.

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      • #18
        My older brother does a bluegrass/folk kind of gig. Every clam or weak moment is an opportunity for a joke, or some sort of humor, a Roy Clark face. They have a lot of fun.

        Must be nice.

        ​Some gigs are more uptight than others.

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        • #19
          It must be some survival mechanism at work. Does filter the ranks though.
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          • #20
            Originally posted by 1001gear View Post
            It must be some survival mechanism at work. Does filter the ranks though.
            Sometimes.

            Then there's the guy that's been freakin in his fox hole who turns it all around and kicks some a**.

            I would caution those who think they're immune.

            I went on to a have successful, though truncated career as a performing musician in a very exacting environment. (I was culled by an injury.) It can be done.
            Last edited by RockViolin; 03-03-2017, 10:55 PM.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by RockViolin View Post

              Sometimes.

              Then there's the guy that's been freakin in his fox hole who turns it all around and kicks some a**.

              I would caution those who think they're immune.

              I went on to a have successful, though truncated career as a performing musician in a very exacting environment. (I was culled by an injury.) It can be done.
              I'm very familiar with competitive stress. It can go to fear and beyond (dead broke IOW) Stage fright otoh is not so severe and by and large, healthy. I'm a drummer so there just isn't the relevance of nerves as there might be for soloists and front people.

              As to that guy turned Sirius, that's my point. The hell might be prerequisite to the stardom.
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              • #22
                Originally posted by 1001gear View Post

                I'm very familiar with competitive stress. It can go to fear and beyond (dead broke IOW) Stage fright otoh is not so severe and by and large, healthy. I'm a drummer so there just isn't the relevance of nerves as there might be for soloists and front people.

                As to that guy turned Sirius, that's my point. The hell might be prerequisite to the stardom.
                ​ There isn't the relevance for you. Do you speak for all drummers?

                Your point files under 'what doesn't stop me only makes me stronger' then, which I won't argue.

                ​ I used to think, hey it's not brain surgery. Nobody dying here. Sure does seem that way to some people and that's the point IMO from those who have actually struggled deeply with performance anxiety/stage fright/panic attacks/nervous breakdowns. None other than Yehudi Menuhin falling under the latter term. He was never the same.

                ​We have a poster in this thread who equates his stage fright to fear of dying. Been there. Another, the OP, a percussionist I take it, who found it to be far from healthy. It's relevant to him obviously.

                Some of the experiences I had were the closest to complete terror I've ever been in my life. I was less traumatized when 9 guys were on the verge of beating me up for carrying a violin to school.




                BTW, to all, beware headless chickens that run around cackling about their nerves, as if trying to bring everyone around down with them. Those who have bonafide nerves trouble on their hands should steer clear.

                Is it a Marine saying? 'Keep your fear to yourself.'

                ​I've been around too. I've seen players of all stripes and even conductors struggle and have seen far mightier than I come tumbling down, permanently.
                Last edited by RockViolin; 03-04-2017, 01:52 AM.

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                • #23
                  Naturally I speak for myself. I don't have to make the latest Sinatras and Charles'z happy either so there's that. I had not heard about Yehudi Menuhin but it's unfortunate that competition happens anywhere the rewards are coveted. I can't claim occult since I'm not a practitioner but it is a fact of humanity and that's my take on it.
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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by 1001gear View Post
                    Naturally I speak for myself. I don't have to make the latest Sinatras and Charles'z happy either so there's that. I had not heard about Yehudi Menuhin but it's unfortunate that competition happens anywhere the rewards are coveted. I can't claim occult since I'm not a practitioner but it is a fact of humanity and that's my take on it.
                    Hmmm. Food for thought. Intriguing, as your posts often are.

                    There were certainly competitive forces at play for me. Direct and indirect. I'm not sure that competition always enters into it though. I think it is likely the case that when Michael Rabin (R.I.P.) went into the bathroom with a revolver, he was opting out of the competition.

                    And sometimes you just feel like a bug under a biology lamp and you wonder how the hell you wound up there. It just doesn't feel right.



                    Last edited by RockViolin; 03-04-2017, 11:42 AM.

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                    • #25
                      Competitive stress.

                      Reminds me of the day they had challenges in the youth symphony. At rehearsal they went right through the violins one player at a time and had them play selected passages. The orchestra then voted on who got to move up, stay where they were, or get moved back. Brutal.

                      I moved up 11 chairs, btw.

                      That was bad karma right there...

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                      • #26
                        Never any stage fright, per se, but:

                        A few years ago I got the opportunity to play a lead role in a community theater musical. The show started with me onstage alone, singing a relatively demanding solo piece. Musically it was straightforward enough that rehearsals were easy for me, but I was way out of my element with stage makeup, costuming, etc. Opening night comes, I'm standing on stage behind a closed curtain, hearing the crowd noise. All I could think was:

                        "What have I gotten myself into? I have absolutely no idea why they cast me in this role, because I don't know what the heck I am doing..."

                        Then the band started to play, the curtain opened, I started singing and all was good. I learned a LOT from going outside my comfort zone with that experience.
                        "The historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency." ------------------ Pope John Paul II

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                        • #27
                          I recall Leonard Cohen saying he was terrified to go onstage. He started dealing with it by drinking a bottle of wine before the show. Eventually it turned into two bottles and by the time he got up to three, he felt he had to do something about it.

                          A good friend of mine is a very talented piano player and singer. Even after thirty years of performing she still fells the need to have a shot of Tequila before the show. I've often wondered why she and some other talented people don't seem to have the confidence that one would expect from someone with that level of ability.

                          Perhaps the anxiety is part of what gets them 'there'.


                          Last edited by onelife; 03-04-2017, 10:58 PM.
                          As a human being, you come with the whole range of inner possibilities
                          from the deepest hell to the highest states.

                          It is up to you which one you choose to explore
                          .

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by onelife View Post
                            I recall Leonard Cohen saying he was terrified to go onstage. He started dealing with it by drinking a bottle of wine before the show. Eventually it turned into two bottles and by the time he got up to three, he felt he had to do something about it.

                            A good friend of mine is a very talented piano player and singer. Even after thirty years of performing she still fells the need to have a shot of Tequila before the show. I've often wondered why she and some other talented people don't seem to have the confidence that one would expect from someone with that level of ability.

                            Perhaps the anxiety is part of what gets them 'there'.

                            Ah war nog. Cooling the fire that burns too hot. Reins for the wild horses.

                            I was in high school at The North Carolina School of the Arts, playing a concert with the orchestra. A good friend and fabulous violinist was playing the Channson "Poeme" as a soloist with the orchestra. After the overture there was some shuffling to do and I went backstage and there she was with some of her ballerina friends, and they had brought her a glass of wine. There wasn't much left in the glass.

                            She played great. Sounded as good or better than in rehearsals, which gave me ideas. I'd had pretty much nothing but rough juries and performances there after 3 years. For my next jury, in addition to being prepared better than ever I had a glass of Burgundy. I played the first movement of the Bach C major sonata, and some of the fugue.

                            I knew it went well. The next day my jury sheets read, "Doesn't look or sound like the same violinist. Bravo!" and "Well, where have you been all this time."

                            It got me over the hump, and was my fix for a while, but only for the most un-nerving situations. Sure was nice to have a positive experience to move forward with - but a crutch is a crutch. And in a busy classical career it was obvious that it couldn't be maintained. If you perform Friday night, twice on Saturday and again on Sunday afternoon...you know, you can't be throwing 'em back for every one. The busier I got the less I needed it. I'm somewhat addiction resistant, and I managed to shake loose. (I quit smoking cigarettes at about the same time too.) I encountered a few people that had a real problem though. Fortunately I found other ways to manage.

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                            • #29
                              I've been in bands with some musicians who like to have a drink to take the edge off. And I agree, it's a crutch.

                              I've seen musicians who can drink a few and still play well, and I've seen those who only think they play well when imbibing.

                              I've also seen musicians go over the edge. Not a pretty site, and I was in a band that had to fire the guitarist who actually started the band because it got to be 10-20 beers per gig, starting with a few before the first set.

                              In my younger days I used to drink one or two per night while the band was on break. Then I realized that I wasn't one of those people who played his best even with one drink. It never crippled me, but I could tell my fingers weren't as nimble as they should be. So I decided it was a handicap.

                              And now that I'm singing a lot (half the night) it's only warm tea for me. Cold drinks and alcohol are not good for singing, where warm tea is.

                              I know I'm a very good musician, and I know there are better (and worse) out there. I've known from the start that the audience likes what I do. I know I'm going to make mistakes, and I know I can cover up or recover quickly from most. I also know that if I cause a train wreck and have to stop the music, a grin and something like "Did you ever have one of THOSE days at work" will actually put the audience on my side. Fortunately those moments are extremely rare.

                              I don't understand stage fright because I've never had it. I guess I'm lucky. But I've seen others and I feel for those who suffer from it. If I knew what to say to ease their troubles, I'd surely say it.

                              Insights and incites by Notes
                              Bob "Notes" Norton
                              Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
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                              • #30
                                Never had stage fright in my life. It might be because I did school plays when I was a kid and that sort of opened me up to being a performer.

                                But whenever I do perform, I do get stressed most of the time, stressed about whether the list of all 1,000 of the things that needed to be done leading up to the performance are all checked off.
                                Elson TrinidadSinger, Songwriter, Keyboardist, BassistElson and the Soul BarkadaWeb: www.elsongs.comMySpace: www.myspace.com/elsongsFacebook: Facebook PageTwitter: twitter.com/elsongs

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