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Car Singer
02-22-2016, 11:18 PM
Hi all, new forum member here and new 'seasonista' too.

I took up playing ukulele nearly exactly a year ago now. I'm just getting to the point where I feel a bit more confident in both singing and playing. I'd love to take the next step and actually play some songs in front of people, rather than just for youtube uploads.

Is there a 'best way' to do this? How did you personally take that first step from playing in your home to playing in front of an audience?

Someone told me that busking is the way to start and get used to having an audience before moving to say, open mics. Which I'm mulling over, for when the weather improves.

I should mention that my two public outings so far were:

1: at a relative's birthday after numerous drinks, where I played without fear and was told I should be playing at open mics by real musicians (!) This was the confidence boost I needed.

2: months later in a more public venue. My voice had a microphone, my uke didn't, and all I could hear was the slight delay of my, incredibly loud, own voice coming back at me from huge, booming speakers behind. Could not hear my ukulele at all (which I rely on for vocal cues etc.), both threw me terribly from the very offset, along with the expectant crowd, and I began to miss chords, as my fingers sweated and slipped, which then affected my voice. I just about made it through a song and skulked off stage feeling totally mortified and humiliated.

This latter experience has set back my growing confidence a lot and I actually stopped playing my beloved ukuleles for a long time afterwards, then played a little, but avoiding the song I messed up as it reminded me of that horrible night. Finally, my disastrous debut became a distant memory and I'm singing and playing enthusiastically again. However, alone at home - and part of the point for me of learning to play for me was to get me out and about and meet new people and have experiences.

So, if anyone has any advice or stories of their own first steps into playing in a more public arena, I'd love to hear them, so I can maybe follow the same route (and to also hopefully avoid falling apart from nerves again!)