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How Do You Calm Your Nerves Before / During A Performance?


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No matter how many shows I have played in my own and others bands I still get the shakes and butterflys. I can't play guitar when I am intoxicated so I usually just have one beer before goin on stage and I bring a bourbon on the rocks with me... This helps a little bit to settle the nerves but it's not nessicarily the healthiest option.

 

It might be impossible to eliminate the nerves all together but I need to find something. It's kinda driving me nuts and effecting my playing, as I become fixated on it and not the tune.

 

If the venue has a green room or even a little pseudo private nook I will sit there and "warm up"... This sOmetimes helps as well but then I look / feel like an antisocial dick which adds a whole other thing to the mix.

 

How do you calm your {censored} down?

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truth is your nerves can drive down 80% of your chops if you aren't careful. I don't get nervous anymore since I perform so much, but I do worry about gear catching fire or something while playing (which goes away once I play). I dealt with it by doing things that are against my nature like jumping off stage or looking right at people and rocking with them. It relaxes you. I never touch a drink I know I'll get sloppy. Before I go on stage I remind myself to have fun and don't worry about mistakes people won't hear or that I can play off to be more entertaining anyway.

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No matter how many shows I have played in my own and others bands I still get the shakes and butterflys. I can't play guitar when I am intoxicated so I usually just have one beer before goin on stage and I bring a bourbon on the rocks with me... This helps a little bit to settle the nerves but it's not nessicarily the healthiest option.


It might be impossible to eliminate the nerves all together but I need to find something. It's kinda driving me nuts and effecting my playing, as I become fixated on it and not the tune.


If the venue has a green room or even a little pseudo private nook I will sit there and "warm up"... This sOmetimes helps as well but then I look / feel like an antisocial dick which adds a whole other thing to the mix.


How do you calm your {censored} down?

 

 

A famous musician told me his secret eons ago- when facing the audience, look at the back of the club or arena, do not look at the front rows.

 

It worked for me, although I can't help but glance at the front rows, since that is usually where the energy comes from

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A famous musician told me his secret eons ago- when facing the audience, look at the back of the club or arena, do not look at the front rows.


It worked for me, although I can't help but glance at the front rows, since that is usually where the energy comes from

 

 

I don't recommend trying to ignore the front row, it's best to obliterate nerves by looking at the people. Chances are they're drunk/tipsy and just waiting for a good time and aren't there to harshly judge you like creature of the night

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I don't recommend trying to ignore the front row, it's best to obliterate nerves by looking at the people. Chances are they're drunk/tipsy and just waiting for a good time and aren't there to harshly judge you like creature of the night

 

 

It works for people with stage fright. I don't suffer from that, but on nights when things aren't going right, it helps to look out beyond the front rows.

Although many places have such bright stage lights that you can't see much beyond the first few rows anyway

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it's been awhile since i've been in a band or played gigs, so my memory may be faulty, but I don't recall ever having that much nervousness on-stage, even though public speaking really makes me edgy in general. One thing I did was avoid being in the venue until the last moment I had to be...I'd go and do other stuff before the show and not think about the show at all. Also, I never really looked at the audience either, but I'm not sure if that's the best way to go about things.

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I get the nerves before gigs too... I like to do the warm up thing you were talking about. I run a little routine of 5 different thinga-ma-bobs (I focus and run them hard until my hands calm down and become more in control) They are mostly technique-y, so they can be done while walking around if you didn't want to run off and be alone. You could do the whole "stare at people blankly while running warm ups" thing.

 

Sometimes smoking pot puts me in this haze where I'm not nervous all of the sudden but only on rare occasions... In the middle of a show its nice, I guess... Once I've gotten past the nerves and have loosened up.

 

I'm generally one of those shy, dodgy eyed type people but once I get passed the nerves before/during playing, I'm a bit more myself behind the guitar. It's a nice change.

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I used to get so nervous that I couldn't even enjoy playing a gig until it was completely over. I'd be relatively frozen on stage the entire show, so focused on NOT screwing up - which as you noted is paralyzing and makes it hard to play! Here's something that helped me. Try to figure out exactly what it is that is getting you so nervous, and embrace it in order to get past it. Hear me out:

 

My nerves are due to insecurities about my playing and the fear that the audience will think I suck. I'd imagine most of us have had this at one point or another. I was able to get over it by realizing that there are probably only a handful of people in the crowd at each show that actually play guitar, and of that handful, I am sure there are 2 guys that are better than me. So be it - those two guys can think I suck. They would regardless! The other guitar players in the crowd can be jealous that I suck, but I'm the one on stage. The rest of the crowd doesn't know any better, and will have a good time as they get liquored up and we perform for them. Any time I get nerves going, I run this through my head a few times, and return to the state of mind I need to be in - focused on what I am there to do, and ready to have a great time.

 

While it might seem counterintuitive to acknowledge your shortcomings, its actually quite freeing. You also remind yourself what you are doing there in the first place - to rock some socks off. Now my nerves are more like little-kid-Xmas-morning nerves - I just can't wait to get up on stage and feed off that crowd.

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Hope it works for you.

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dude I've seen you. You pimp da hoes first then get the show going

 

This is true. I have had the pleasure to play with / watch Saturn Unleashed a couple times now and Natty always brings the relaxed ruckus... Now if only he would turn up dat Sunn and the other guitar player would get an actual amp I stead of dat AxeFx. :)

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if you can "get into" your music, that is all that can really help I think. May sound kinda silly but there is a interview with Maynard from Tool talking about the music being a "safe place," I think thats true - whether it be safe in a comforting sense on a "soft" level or on an aggressive level if you play heavy music. Once you get in that zone it all just kinda happens.

 

When I get into the music I don't think about anything else... Its been quite some time since I played a show though and I really need to get something going.

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The only time I get nervous is when I'm playing in front of another musician I really respect.....

 

If i'm playing at a bar or whatever, I never get nervous :idk:

 

I think the nerves go away if I can manage to play well at the start of the gig/whatever. If I fluff the first note, it'll stick around.....

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if you can "get into" your music, that is all that can really help I think. May sound kinda silly but there is a interview with Maynard from Tool talking about the music being a "safe place," I think thats true - whether it be safe in a comforting sense on a "soft" level or on an aggressive level if you play heavy music. Once you get in that zone it all just kinda happens.


When I get into the music I don't think about anything else... Its been quite some time since I played a show though and I really need to get something going.

 

Nothin' against Maynard or Tool, and I definitely hear what you're saying, but this is the guy who performs behind a screen for most of the set! I think he might have a few anxiety issues about performing as well. Hey that could be it SAL - maybe you just need to bring a 6'x6' tarp for gigs! :D

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I used to get nervous when I played out, then I realised that everyone's just there to have a good time and just chilled. Stopped thinking/talking about the show/{censored}ing up/whatever (other than setlist) between soundcheck and going on, and just had a good time.

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Nothin' against Maynard or Tool, and I definitely hear what you're saying, but this is the guy who performs behind a screen for most of the set! I think he might have a few anxiety issues about performing as well. Hey that could be it SAL - maybe you just need to bring a 6'x6' tarp for gigs!
:D

 

That may be more of a recent thing, he never used to do that. Also, that quote snippet was more in reference (IRRC) to talking about lyrical writing and being comfortable/vulnerable to be able to let stuff bubble up, but I think it can apply to playing live. Lol to that tarp idea. Would make for a mysterious atmosphere.

 

I also enjoy dark stages. Really hate stage lights, especially when they're on me.

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This is true. I have had the pleasure to play with / watch Saturn Unleashed a couple times now and Natty always brings the relaxed ruckus... Now if only he would turn up dat Sunn and the other guitar player would get an actual amp I stead of dat AxeFx.
:)

 

I love how he walks in with the axe fx and that big ass 1992 speaker for an old sound system

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i do a couple shots, get on stage, and pretend i'm the baddest mother{censored}er on earth.

 

 

* i should note that if i haven't played a show in a while or if i'm playing something new/unfamiliar i get jitters like a mother{censored}. but i still use that formula.

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i do a couple shots, get on stage, and pretend i'm the baddest mother{censored}er on earth.

 

Change the shots to a couple of IPAs and that's pretty much my strategy.

 

It's tough to find that drunken fist ratio but once you get it it's gold.

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