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Have you ever experienced stage fright?

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  • #31
    Surprisingly, no, I've never had any sort of all-consuming stage fright. Nervous to go on, sure, but debilitating or overt stage fright, no. Almost always, I have been very very well-rehearsed by the time I went up on stage. I've played in front of 2000 people before as well as other relatively large crowds, and what's interesting is that I've felt more nervous in more intimate settings, where you can make a more immediate connection with everyone, and you can feel their eyes on you and feel their individual energies more.

    I took piano lessons and was used to playing music for people during recitals and performances in retirement homes during grade school, and this is what I attribute to not having stage fright in other capacities.
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    • #32
      I was 12 or 13 when I played my first solo spot in a talent show fingerpicking ragtime tunes on an acoustic in front of a full house of about 5000 people.

      Man I froze up about half way through and stumbled through to the end. I never felt like such a fool in my life.

      I can say it was an important lesson I learned. You cant think you know the music - you have to know you know it.

      I could say it was partly the fault of the music instructor who pushed me to play the hardest tune I knew. I could have gotten by just fine doing simpler tubes. They said don't worry about it, just fake your way through. Man I had only been playing a guitar for a couple of years, I wasn't able to fake anything yet.

      Then all of a sudden you're up on that stage by yourself in front of a formal audience of adults (not kids my age) Its like being in a car wreak. All you remember were flashes of stage lighting, that big black void of the open stage and the applause afterwards.

      That was probably the only time I had it that bad. I'd get butterflies before a big show but that usually dissipated after a couple of songs.
      I think it all has to do with how comfortable you feel acting in front of people. I say acting not playing because its really the visual aspect that really puts the heat on you


      • #33
        When I was in school band, I chose pieces that were challenging for myself, but not super-challenging for solo and ensemble contest. Hard but not too hard. They needed work, but weren't over my head.

        I got a "Superior" (highest mark) for every one, and every year I was eligible to compete, I got first chair tenor sax AND section leader. Section leader goes to the first alto by default, but I took it away every year. I'm good, and I was well prepared.

        Perhaps not having stage fright, even if only in front of a panel of judges helped that. Once the music starts, all there is is the music to me.

        That doesn't mean I don't make mistakes. I play music for a living, and make my share of mistakes. I have enough experience to recover and cover them up. Most of the time the audience doesn't know I made a mistake, and more often than not, even my band mates don't know.

        But there are times when I really screw up. They are rare, but they happen. So I smile, or even laugh, and say something in the mic like, "Did you ever have one of those days?" and instead of the audience laughing at me, they laugh with me, and it even endears them to me. Because it's happened to them in a different situation.

        When gigging on cruise ships, I got to see other entertainers. I saw one great singer "accidentally" trip over the mic cable every week in the same place in the music and the same spot on the stage and with the same comment after. Not a big trip, more of an assisted stumble. It caused enough giggle to relax the audience and made the show better.

        Bob "Notes" Norton
        Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
        Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
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