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  • Twang mechanic
    started a topic Stage fright

    Stage fright

    My stage fright got so bad,I gave up gigging. Even jamming requires 2 or 3 beers. Anyone else have this? What helps overcome it?

  • oldgitplayer
    replied
    A long standing performer once said, "I still get butterflies, but I've learned how to get them to fly in formation".

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  • Li Shenron
    replied
    Great thread!!

    I have suffered this too in several occasions, and after a great deal of observing myself and thinking I've come to the conclusion that for me what makes a huge difference is my friendship with the other band players.

    Whenever I played with people who were friends of mine outside the band, I just didn't care about fumbles, broken strings or pulled cables (all of which happened aplenty, of course). We just laughed at each other and kept playing, and I never felt ashamed for more than a split second, because I always felt like we were all in it together, sharing the fumbles as well as the fun.

    But when I played with people who were not my private friends but mere band acquaintances, then I did feel a lot more pressure and stage freight. It's like I always had to prove I was up to the challenge, and always under scrutiny. I never had to prove anything to friends!

    Same thing when performing solo, thank God that happened only really a few times... the worst when I was asked to play an acoustic song at someone's wedding. Just ONE damn song, with a woman I barely knew singing along (so maybe not truly technically "solo" but I was the only instrument), and yet I spend almost 3 whole months in total anguish practicing that song to perfection, with the panic that if I made a mistake I would have ruined their wedding (they were the kind people who really want that "perfect" wedding). Never again...

    Edit: I forgot to mention, that eventually I did manage to play that wedding song perfectly, but the singer screwed it up
    Last edited by Li Shenron; 04-26-2018, 07:31 AM.

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  • Winry Ember
    replied
    Originally posted by Voltan View Post
    some old big band era horn player once told me, " if you ever stop gettin' butterflies before you go on... take up knittin' or something cause your heart just aint in it anymore."
    ^^^ I love that ^_^ There's always a fine line between being excited and nervous.

    Being prepared and knowing the set frontwards and back gives me confidence and helps fight nerves too.

    My stage fright gradually faded as I performed more and gained self-confidence. It's hard to explain, but I stopped being "nervous" and started being "excited" when I realized on a deeper level that the show wasn't about me, it was about the audience and connecting with others through music.

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  • Voltan
    commented on 's reply
    i understand

  • spacecommando
    replied
    I'm a Taurus born on the cusp of Gemini. Creative and artistic yet I battle with a dual nature. In my case I'm both an extrovert and introvert at the same time. I used to get hammered every time I performed. Over the years I've mellowed out and I don't care what other people think so much now.

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  • capitalist
    replied
    After many years of playing, I get a little anxious a few minutes before show time. I have noticed that I get more anxious if I am playing at a new venue. Once I get on stage and start playing, the nervousness fades away quickly. Talk to your physician, they may prescribe something to calm your nerves. Also, consider dark sunglasses and imagine everyone in the audience is naked.

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  • TIMKEYS
    replied
    Piano lessons , and the eeeeeek recitals. A couple of those made hiding out in a band pretty easy. The best way to get over being nervous is to know your material, and learn to blow by a clinker rather than think about it. After the gig dont labor on things.... that bad note has left the building.

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  • RockViolin
    replied
    To the OP if you are still there. Maybe some words here parted the clouds for you and by some miracle flipped a switch. I never found what anyone had to say to be of much help, other than to practice harder, smarter, and be much better prepared.

    With the irony in mind I would advise you to take it in small steps. maybe try to get down to 1 beer, or none at all when you jam with friends. Be well prepared in any way that you can be. From there set up small, low key performances. Real confidence will be at hand when you don't need a drink anymore. Maybe it goes well, maybe it doesn't. Try to take the long view, and don't let a setback sway you any more than is to be expected. If it is important to you, you can take the punishment.

    But it will take work and you can't give up, if performing in some comfort is something you wish to be able to do. I wouldn't expect anything that's been said here to make your next attempt easy though.

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  • RockViolin
    replied
    I don't think luck has much to do with it. As though one got bit by the 1 in 1000 mosquitos that's carrying the bug. 10% maybe.

    I'll give fear of making mistakes, for me, a whopping 20% - 25% maybe 50% for some people.

    On the day that I had my first bad experience, I was as prepared as I had been for any performance since the age of 5. But some other things had changed, most notably my energy, and perception. The level of preparation that had gotten me along well enough up to that point would never be enough again though. And to feel like I belonged, or had a right to be onstage, for classical stuff anyway, I had to take my preparation into 'no stone left unturned and placed just so' territory...a level of confidence where I was looking forward to showing what I had to accomplished - and had to offer quickly replaced concerns about making mistakes, or not having command of myself.

    Until I got to that point, teachers, friends and relatives urging me to just go out there and have fun got a rather blank look from me I'm sure.

    Preparation is big. 75%+ Some gigs require different types and levels of prep. Some gigs you can yuk it up with the crowd, some you can't.

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  • Notes_Norton
    replied
    I never had stage fright or even butterflies - lucky me.

    I come to the gig prepared, I know I'm good, I know the audience wants to like me, and I usually know what songs to play for them.

    I make mistakes, but I'm good at recovering so that the audience doesn't know, and most of the time my bandmates don't even know.

    And there have been times when a 'train wreck' occured or I screwed up so badly that the song had to stop. Rare, but sooner or later it will happen. When you can't hide it, don't. Laugh at yourself. Say something like "Did you ever have one of those days where things you do every day for some reason just screw you up?" or "Oops!" or "Damn! That worked out perfectly in rehearsal yesterday", or something appropriate to the moment, "Did you see that gal wiggle!" (be careful with that), and you will find the audience will bond with you. Instead of laughing at you, they will laugh with you, and inside cheer you on for the next song. After all, when you let your humanity show, people will bond with you.

    The secret, prepare, and have fun. Make sure you are appropriate for the gig (don't go playing disco in a country bar). Remember you are playing WITH the audience, not TO them.

    Insights and incites by Notes

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  • RockViolin
    replied
    Originally posted by Kramerguy View Post
    I had bad stage fright starting in my teens. I couldn't even speak in front of the class without stammering and losing my crap and not being able to finish what I started, I was terrified to perform. And then my very first gig was a county fair and this guy (a senior at the time, we were just sophomores) just heckled us the entire set, start to finish, him yelling at the stage , you suck, booo, insert graphic insult here. I was mortified and didn't take a stage again for more than 15 years.

    Fast forward to 2008. I never drank much in my life, if at all before that, wasn't my thing, but someone here suggested it, and I started my night with a couple of beers and a shot. Instead of being terrified taking the stage, I found myself with only a bad case of butterflies. After a while, I became more confident, and was able to take a stage sober, without alcohol.

    Now I take the stage lubed by choice, not necessity.

    Don't knock social lubricant, it changed my musical life.
    Some war nog to steel the nerves is probably nearly as old as war.

    As I already mentioned in a post on the same subject upon SSS, I had nothing but tough juries when I was in HS at The North Carolina School of the Arts. For several years. One day a good friend of mine, an awesome violinist, was performing a piece with the orchestra as the soloist. After the overture there was some shuffling around to do and I got up and went backstage. There she was with a few of her ballerina friends, and they had given her a glass of wine. There wasn't much left in the glass. She went on and played great. As well or better than the rehearsals.

    That gave me ideas. For my next jury, in addition to being better prepared, I had a glass of burgundy. I had also practiced with a bit of wine a few days prior to it. Anyway, it went really well, and I knew it. I played the first movement of the unaccompanied Bach C Major Sonata. And half of the Fugue. The next day my jury sheets read, "Doesn't look or sound like the same violinist. Bravo!" and, "Well where have you been a all this time." So, it wasn't simply that maybe I just thought I'd played better. There was really no question.

    And that was my fix for a while. But only for the most nerve wracking situations. And as I got busier, and more accustomed to being under pressure, I shook loose. It can't be maintained in a busy schedule anyway - where you're playing Fri. night, twice on Saturday, and again on Sunday afternoon.

    It should be mentioned though I think, that there are some who will go from a little loosener to full on Duff, quickly. How many bottles of vodka was he putting down a day? 17 iirc. What was once helpful, becomes ruination, and stories abound of the sad consequences.

    Anyone who decides to avail themselves of a medicinal libation should be very careful, IMO.
    Last edited by RockViolin; 03-29-2017, 09:42 AM.

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  • Kramerguy
    replied
    I had bad stage fright starting in my teens. I couldn't even speak in front of the class without stammering and losing my crap and not being able to finish what I started, I was terrified to perform. And then my very first gig was a county fair and this guy (a senior at the time, we were just sophomores) just heckled us the entire set, start to finish, him yelling at the stage , you suck, booo, insert graphic insult here. I was mortified and didn't take a stage again for more than 15 years.

    Fast forward to 2008. I never drank much in my life, if at all before that, wasn't my thing, but someone here suggested it, and I started my night with a couple of beers and a shot. Instead of being terrified taking the stage, I found myself with only a bad case of butterflies. After a while, I became more confident, and was able to take a stage sober, without alcohol.

    Now I take the stage lubed by choice, not necessity.

    Don't knock social lubricant, it changed my musical life.

    Leave a comment:


  • Voltan
    replied
    yes, the blue tick was the student union... prt... we used to joke either take a good book or a pint of whiskey anytime you rode it... it seemed it was down more than runnng in 79- 80.

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  • RockViolin
    replied
    Originally posted by Voltan View Post
    right, give them something to remember... make contact! now about the injury... if you are saying what i believe you are saying, in all seriousness we should talk...
    Fortune favors the bold.

    I'm solid. There's been times when the pain was so bad I could have cut my own head off though...with a fork. But I'm still here. Opioid free too. I have to be really careful or I can get in deep fast. But I manage.

    When my career was curtained I did what any reasonably smart musician would do. I shacked up with a really cool chick. We have a fine son together. I'm still in the house I started paying for in '89. It could actually be worse. Much worse. But, I'm not planning on going anywhere anytime soon, if that's what you mean.

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