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Some people are not meant to perform...it is performance anxiety, the fear of being judged, and not easily overcome if you have that issue. Drinking is likely the worst 'solution', as it will likely impair your judgement and goof up your performance. Counseling may help. We have a number of players at HC who are not willing to get up on a stage, and that is okay.

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I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people that would encouraged me to play but did not require me to do so, so that I was able to build up my confidence over time. In the end though you just have to get out there and do it. I took to busking at farmer's markets as a low stress way to get used to playing in public. I still prefer busking or open mics to playing on a stage/in a bar. At least when I busk I know people are not there to hear me vs being in a bar where people are just 'sort of ' listening to you which I just find strange.

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I get butterflies before going onstage a lot of the time... I enjoy playing live in spite of that, but I still am much more confortable working in the studio.

 

One of the worst cases of stage fright that I know of is what Andy Partridge of the band XTC suffers... he's a fantastic player and great songwriter, but his nerves are so bad that they had to quit touring because of it. A shame really - I would have loved to have seen them live, but never got the chance to do so before they stopped touring.

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Do you have a problem when playing around friends or the band? If not, then is it the numbers? If it is, look for a friendly face, even if it's in the band. Think of things that make you comfortable. Stay away from beer or liquor. That won't help in the long term. You can start to look away and peer at faces as time goes on. Look at your feet, pedals, amp, or guitar. Look at the ceiling above the center of the crowd.

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Do you have a problem when playing around friends or the band? If not' date=' then is it the numbers? If it is, look for a friendly face, even if it's in the band. Think of things that make you comfortable. Stay away from beer or liquor. That won't help in the long term. You can start to look away and peer at faces as time goes on. Look at your feet, pedals, amp, or guitar. Look at the ceiling above the center of the crowd.[/quote']

 

Coming from no small amount of experience, looking away rates as little more than an attempt to pretend the audience isn't there. Tantamount to not meeting the gaze of one's opponent, it is a weak footing that only encourages fear. I was far better off when I learned to at least come out and look at the audience and smile. Trying to fool myself into thinking I had the courage was ultimately way more successful than trying to fool myself into thinking the audience wasn't there.

 

That's not to say that ogling the audience is the thing to do either. That's a different trip. But an acknowledgement that they're there is important IMO.

Edited by RockViolin
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some old big band era horn player once told me' date=' " if you ever stop gettin' butterflies before you go on... take up knittin' or something cause your heart just aint in it anymore."[/quote']

 

​I think there's some truth to that. Some peoples' butterflies are more like swarms of giant hornets with 9 inch stingers packing nerve toxin of the highest order though. They don't add a little skip to your step, they make you wanna run for your life. And that's effectively what the op has done. He can scarcely jam with his peers < (presumably) without taking the edge off.

 

 

 

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#8.2

 

GoldJim commented

01-30-2017, 12:46 PM

Editing a comment

 

No, but it would help in the short run. There is no shortage of professional or amateur musicians who look anywhere but at the audience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

​Show me a bunch of *performers* that can't manage to face the audience and I'll show you a bunch of performers that are stuck, and will likely never progress beyond that unless they take that first brave step of facing their fear.

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im a front man by nature in a band, but its the same solo... make contact, not just eye contact, listen! watch! observe and comment on what you see! bits of conversation overheard trigger musical response in turn... and it becomes a "personal" experience for everyone there... small intimate venues to multiple thousands, the techniques are relatively the same... i always get a little anxious and ive been perforing on stage since i was three. vivid memories of the first real case of stage fright was in front of 5000 people. i felt like i was floating above the ground and couldnt get traction to move, my drumsticks were balsa wood and the count in for the first tune sounded distorted and time slowed down... i wanted to bolt but i knew there was no way that i could... i couldnt not do this thing. about halfway through the third tune, i was in gear and in the zone... using the energy from that case of nerves to fuel one of my better evenings. i cant imagine having to fight that everytime you walk on stage though.

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well' date=' i guess this " sia" is making bank? i dont know just thought it odd but fit somehow... not facing the sudience by design.[/quote']

 

Does he make bank staring off stage somewhere, or at his shoes? I was doing well myself until an injury got in the way. I don't want to go off qualifying myself or my opinion save to say that when I mentioned my experience at the outset here it was in regard to stage fright/panic attacks. I had it bad, no less than anyone at this site has reported. And it was a fight for me, from about 13 to 18 years old and again for a while in my 20's.

 

I tried everything I could think of and most of what people suggested. FWIW nothing anyone said ever helped much, or even at all really.

 

I agree with the big e above in that it's important to keep getting thrown into the fire. There can be a lot to that beyond those words though, and it ain't easy, until it is.

 

 

I tried beta blockers for a while, and they mellowed me out some, but also killed what was good about me. Alcohol worked and along with ever growing levels of preparedness got me over the hump. As someone said, it can't be maintained in a busy schedule. But if somebody only plays out once or twice a month/year whatever impairments it presents are probably nothing as long as they don't over do it, compared to the impairment that comes from being in knots - a nervous wreck. As I got busier I got some stage legs and just didn't need it anymore though.

 

Meditation helped me a lot. I think a big part of it for me was managing the adrenaline rush. I used to be quite envious of more popular music scenarios. Rockers can run over here, over there, wiggle this, wiggle that. Dumb stupid idiot classical scene making me sit still like a bump on a log when I'm freakin inside.

 

Anyway, it can be overcome. I managed to get to where I looked forward to and enjoyed performing and could actually be depended upon to deliver.

 

People want to help and it seems to me like to think that there's a key to the lock. Surely the right words will set someone in need free. It's really a combination lock though and there's no real shortcut to turning the tumblers time after time searching for the right combination, in my experience.

 

 

Edited by RockViolin
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by that i just meant that what she is doing goes against what we are saying... i understand novelty and this presents as such. i found it ironic that as we were discussing eye contact and audience engagement i run across a performer that bases their persona around a dedicated physical barrier to such? and apparently makes enough money to be noticed... nothing more... im a type a ... i thrive on living on the edge of the razor... that adrenaline rush, for me, is a familiar tonic that puts me into a state of hyper awareness and my mood to bliss. it unnerves my wife to no end, one of the best jazz saxophonists ive heard but she doesnt like and cant handle the masses. i do understand from both sides to a good degree, both functional and dysfunctional types of stage fright. if i may offer one small thing that might help? i see you as a driven musician... we've spoken before and you always present as intensely passionate about your art, as it should be. but there are dragons here...as a result of your rigorous training you develop listening skills, entrainment, that the average music aficionado rarely has... different areas of the brain are at work when we listen as opposed to when a non muso listens... critical listening as opposed to listening for pleasure. i play one note, i hear thirty different ways it could have been improved, all those negatives wrapped in an instant yet stop... now... right here your audience hears a beautiful, flowing, living vibration that connects them to you... not just the music.. they cant hear the thing you think was a little less than perfect, face it, even good relative pitch isnt that common, but the music helps people connect to your passion... on a gut feeling, i would be humbly honored to take the stage with you any time.

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by that i just meant that what she is doing goes against what we are saying... i understand novelty and this presents as such. i found it ironic that as we were discussing eye contact and audience engagement i run across a performer that bases their persona around a dedicated physical barrier to such? and apparently makes enough money to be noticed... nothing more... im a type a ... i thrive on living on the edge of the razor... that adrenaline rush' date=' for me, is a familiar tonic that puts me into a state of hyper awareness and my mood to bliss. it unnerves my wife to no end, one of the best jazz saxophonists ive heard but she doesnt like and cant handle the masses. i do understand from both sides to a good degree, both functional and dysfunctional types of stage fright. if i may offer one small thing that might help? i see you as a driven musician... we've spoken before and you always present as intensely passionate about your art, as it should be. but there are dragons here...as a result of your rigorous training you develop listening skills, entrainment, that the average music aficionado rarely has... different areas of the brain are at work when we listen as opposed to when a non muso listens... critical listening as opposed to listening for pleasure. i play one note, i hear thirty different ways it could have been improved, all those negatives wrapped in an instant yet stop... now... right here your audience hears a beautiful, flowing, living vibration that connects them to you... not just the music.. they cant hear the thing you think was a little less than perfect, face it, even good relative pitch isnt that common, but the music helps people connect to your passion... on a gut feeling, i would be humbly honored to take the stage with you any time.[/quote']

 

I read ya. smiley-happy

 

I come from a family of professional musicians. They already laid the "the audience just wants you to do well, they don't worry about all the little things..." bit. Again, for me, nothing anyone had to say on the matter helped. It was never so much about being nervous about imperfections that I could detect and worries about the audience hearing them too, or even being judged by them in some way. I just couldn't control my energy. Way too much horsepower for my axles.

 

 

My older brother once took a different tack than most, "Now see here. Nobody likes to watch somebody nerve out all over the place like that." :D

 

Yes, at 14, having performed in public quite a bit since I was 5, I suddenly could not perform for a few members of my own family. And my struggle went on for years. I can say that it wasn't just one thing. I think the matter can be quite complex. My diet sucked, I was under prepared. Puberty. All coming together to form a very surprising and nerved performance one day. And once that happens to you, you can't forget. Then you're nervous about being nervous and it's a conundrum.

 

But I fought the dragon many times. One step forward, and then set back two for quite a while. But I won.

 

It's water under the bridge now. I was injured back stage at an orchestra pops concert back in Jan. '02. Whiplash...for real and really bad. I have continuing difficulties from that. Daily. Occipital neuralgia is the worst of it. I've heard that the front side version-trigeminal neuralgia-is called the suicide disease. The back of the head version radiating into the eye sockets and forehead is no breeze either. But y'all don't need to worry about me. It's been 15 years of it and I haven't cashed out yet. I fight dragons don't ya know. :thu:

 

So, after being on stage most every weekend for 20 some odd years, I haven't been near one since I was injured. But I appreciate your kind words more than you know. I still play some, and much to my amazement still have most of the goods. An occasional not very long stage appearance might be possible. I've been thinking of taking part in some of Red Ant's grooves up above too.

 

Finally, I meant no hard feelings to GoldJim. But in my experience, shy and retiring to any degree is not at all conducive to getting over the hurdle.

 

Edited by RockViolin
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have you ever played in the blue tick tavern?

 

Nope. That sure sounds familiar though. Morgantown? I saw a post of yours, GJ I think, where you mentioned you were at WVU. I was there for 3 years and then followed my violin teacher to another university. But anyway, I was almost entirely a classical gig guy when I was at WVU. '83 - '86.

There was a hippy restaurant, Maxwell's. Underground Railroad. I mostly hung out at the CAC though. PRT much?

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right' date=' 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...[/quote']

 

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. very-happy.png.197c47f720636f02390cc2b0a33804da.png' alt='smiley-veryhappy'> 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. :cool2:

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