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TicToc
10-06-2010, 01:19 PM
Hey guys, I've been in Musical Theatre since 4th grade, so I don't usually get nervous, but this Friday I'll be playing Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue in front of a class, and guess what? My new girlfriend who just so happens to have blue eyes and is five foot two (weird, right?) happens to be in this class, and the nerves are killing me. I can't back out at this point, so does anyone have any ideas on how to deal with these new found nerves?

sukie
10-06-2010, 01:34 PM
Yes. Have 1 (only 1 not two) cocktail before -- unless you aren't old enough. Then I can only advise taking deep breaths. And remember to concentrate. The minute you lose concentration is the minute the nerves come out and screw you up.

Uncle-Taco
10-06-2010, 01:47 PM
Yes. Have 1 (only 1 not two) cocktail before -- unless you aren't old enough. Then I can only advise taking deep breaths. And remember to concentrate. The minute you lose concentration is the minute the nerves come out and screw you up.

Yeah, I was going to say "scotch." Failing that:

Go potty. Drink some water (you'll probably have dry mouth), go potty again because of the water. Go potty one more time just for something to do with your nervous self. Check your fly, your clothes, your hair, your make-up, or anything else that might make you nervous. Tune your axe...again.

breeeeeeeaaathe.

Then, just before you go on, remember this: Those listening want the same thing you do, as much as you do, and that is for you to play your best, enjoy yourself, and be musical.

Have fun.

thejumpingflea
10-06-2010, 01:48 PM
Don't think about it, don't debate it, don't put yourself in a position to contemplate it.

Just do it.

salukulady
10-06-2010, 02:21 PM
Valium washed down with a shot of rum always works for me.

mikeg0232
10-06-2010, 02:54 PM
Valium washed down with a shot of rum always works for me.

So that's your secret! I must try that...

Jerlial Prophet
10-06-2010, 03:30 PM
Don't think about it, don't debate it, don't put yourself in a position to contemplate it.

Just do it.

THe Jumping Flea, brought to you by Nike.

itsme
10-06-2010, 03:59 PM
Then, just before you go on, remember this: Those listening want the same thing you do, as much as you do, and that is for you to play your best, enjoy yourself, and be musical.
Yes, your audience wants you to succeed as much as you do. If you make a flub, someone would have to be a heartless mofo to come up to you afterward and say you sucked, like they could have done better. :rolleyes:

I've taken some seminars on public speaking (another thing that nerves out most people) and one of the things I recall is to focus on a random person here or there toward the back of the room, rather than on the sea of people who are focusing on you. You probably want to avoid focusing on your GF for any length of time.

I used to be really terrified of speaking in meetings that involved a lot of high-level executives, since I was a lowly admin. But ya know what? I was invited there to deliver information they wanted to know about and to answer their questions. No one ever treated me as a lesser being because I didn't make their high salaries.

When all else fails, picture the person you're looking at as sitting on the toilet doing their business. Everyone does, you know? That helps bring them down to your level as just an ordinary person who's no better than you.

Brad Bordessa
10-06-2010, 04:46 PM
Make it fun. That's what music is about, right? You're gonna be the bomb. +1 on "Just do it".

TCK
10-06-2010, 04:51 PM
Dang- how did everyone beat me to booze? I would go nice small batch bourbon, but the sentiment is the same.
Not sure if girlfriend and wife are the same anymore (it has been a while) but mine is my biggest fan...even when I play 5'2" (she is 6' and has brown eyes...makes it funnier).
If the sentiment is there- I am sure you will have at least one devoted fan in the audience.
THe drink of water thing is critical though- great suggestion up there.

Hippie Dribble
10-06-2010, 05:53 PM
hi TicToc

many great suggestions so far. When I used to play live a lot in my twenties I used to suffer from bad nerves and found that "Beta Blockers" worked amazingly well...didn't make me lethargic, drowsy or anything, just made me feel calm, confident, in control.
But as you're a young guy, wouldn't recommend those...
I just think you should know the song as well as you can, and, like others have said, whether they admit it or not, they will be in admiration of you getting in front of all your peers and performing. If they bag you it's just jealousy rearing it's ugly head.

Good on you mate...I reckon it's awesome...and, gee I hope you like this chick cause after this she's not gonna let you go for awhile....milk it for all you can bro....in the quiet of the late night evening whisper in her ear "...I was playing that for you baby...." Happy days! It may just become your song!!!

Pippin
10-06-2010, 07:58 PM
Visualize yourself playing all through the song flawlessly and relax. A breathing exercise that helps you relax is to inhale slowly pushing out your stomach while counting to nine, hold for four counts, exhale slowly while drawing in your stomach-- again, nine counts. Hold for four counts. Repeat this process for several minutes. It is harder than it sounds, but, learn to do this. Your body will release the chemical beta-endorphine. This causes oxygen rich blood to reach every muscle and your brain, too. You will be relaxed and clear-headed. Visualization and "deep breathing" help martial artists do amazing things and are time-tested methods to ensure success. I have a chapter dedicated to visualization in my last book, "Get Happy, Write Away".

Lexxy
10-06-2010, 08:34 PM
Look your girl in the eye, smile, and believe that nothing is wrong. :)

I think if you believe nothing will be wrong, nothing would go wrong. Of course i could be wrong..

prettiwiki
10-06-2010, 08:45 PM
Practice practice,

Lots of sleep the day before the performance, If you stuff up just keep playing as if you haven't.

Good Luck

TicToc
10-07-2010, 01:23 AM
Thanks guys! As for the alcohol suggestions, I'm not quite 15 yet, so that's out of the picture. I like the deep breathing suggestion, very nice, just tried it out. I'm performed in front of this class before on Ukulele, but last time it was an impromptu performance of Stu's Song from The Hangover. Right now, I'm debating a kazoo solo to break the ice.

joeybug
10-07-2010, 01:29 AM
Thanks guys! As for the alcohol suggestions, I'm not quite 15 yet, so that's out of the picture. I like the deep breathing suggestion, very nice, just tried it out. I'm performed in front of this class before on Ukulele, but last time it was an impromptu performance of Stu's Song from The Hangover. Right now, I'm debating a kazoo solo to break the ice.


I don't have any suggestions, the ones given so far are great but I just wanted to wish you luck! I hope it all goes well!

Let us know how it went :D

Hippie Dribble
10-07-2010, 01:29 AM
Thanks guys! As for the alcohol suggestions, I'm not quite 15 yet, so that's out of the picture. I like the deep breathing suggestion, very nice, just tried it out. I'm performed in front of this class before on Ukulele, but last time it was an impromptu performance of Stu's Song from The Hangover. Right now, I'm debating a kazoo solo to break the ice.

aaah...the kazoo solo - the missing link!!! Great idea Tic Toc...that will relax both you and them!!!

brucemoffatt
10-07-2010, 01:50 AM
You could do a little thing that works for me in public speaking. Decide that you're not going to do it as you, but you're going to go out there and act the part of someone whom you admire and who plays uke just like you do and who has lots of self confidence and audience appeal. So you don't actually go out there and do the thing, you act or perform the part of someone else who is doing the uke thing, and they do the rest for you.

sukie
10-07-2010, 02:36 AM
Thanks guys! As for the alcohol suggestions, I'm not quite 15 yet, so that's out of the picture. I like the deep breathing suggestion, very nice, just tried it out. I'm performed in front of this class before on Ukulele, but last time it was an impromptu performance of Stu's Song from The Hangover. Right now, I'm debating a kazoo solo to break the ice.

I love the kazoo solo idea. And definitely don't use my cocktail suggestion. Sorry I gave that to you. You will do fine. Remember to have fun.

pulelehua
10-07-2010, 12:35 PM
There is only do or not do. There is no try.

(Most 14-year olds can't imagine how much a girl could ACTUALLY like them - believe in yourself and listen to the wisdom of Yoda)

There is no try.

TicToc
10-07-2010, 12:36 PM
Thanks a million guys!

ichadwick
10-07-2010, 01:00 PM
I usually find a small portion of 100% agave tequila goes a long way... but failing that, green tea and a moment's quiet contemplation (with a little deep breathing) works.

Uncle-Taco
10-07-2010, 04:46 PM
OH, and one more piece of advice (and I have gotten TONS of mileage out of this one):

When you make a mistake, do it again so it sounds intentional. Works especially well with Jazz. :)

Pippin
10-07-2010, 08:33 PM
When you make a mistake, do it again so it sounds intentional. Works especially well with Jazz. :)

CLASSIC!!! This has to be immortalized. Let's Carve It In Stone and set it in town square.

oohilovereviews
10-07-2010, 09:07 PM
Usually butterflies are the result of over-excitement and can cause that tension feeling, so if you think of something you don't like and change the emotion it can help a great deal.

Tikas
10-08-2010, 01:55 AM
if its not too late, what I do when I'm nervous is with both hands at the same time slowly touch my first fingers to thumb, second fingers to tumb, third fingers to thumb, little finger to thumb and back and repeat a few times

ukeeku
10-08-2010, 04:43 AM
I don't know if yall get Ralph Shaws newsletter, but he just sent this and I think it fits here.

UE #49 The Sacred Path of the Worrier

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I just got back from the land of beer and cheese - Milwaukee. I attended an enjoyable one day ukulele festival there put on by Lil' Rev and his trusty band of uke playing volunteers.
Milwaukee was settled by Germans who found the local water & farmland perfect for brewing beer. Many of the big breweries have gone but some of the best beer I have ever tasted was home-made by my host Steve Yeo. After my long flight his beer, served with cheese, crackers and a bit of smoked salmon REALLY hit the spot. I swear it was one of the most delicious glasses of beer I have ever had the pleasure of washing my cheese and crackers down with. It was full flavoured without being too hoppy, too malty or too anything.

I've been doing a spot of brewing myself lately but my latest batch didn't work too well. When I added the yeast to the wort (thats the mixture of malt, hops and water) nothing happened. After a day or so I realized that the yeast wasn't activating. Steve informs me that this anxiety over whether the yeast will take or not is the origin of the term "Worry Wort" for someone who tends to worry about things. He may not be correct about this since the earliest written reference of the term is spelled Worry Wart.

But, whatever its origin, I am one. If everything in my life was flowing effortlessly in seamless perfection I would worry that it was all too perfect.
To regular readers of this newsletter I may come across as an upbeat sort of chap. A person with a positive and optimistic outlook. Actually I'm not that at all. The reality is that I have always been a bit of a worrier.

My tendency is to look into the future and think of everything that can go wrong. If there is a silvery lining then that only highlights the fact that a big looming cloud is coming over the horizon. I wish I were one of those eternally cheerful people who walk around grinning as they enjoy every moment on this green earth but I'm not. Since I can't make my tendency to worry go away I have learned to embrace and use it.
They tell me, "Don't worry" and "Think positive". And that's another thing. Who exactly was it that got to decide that thinking positive was such a grand way to be? I would argue that many people who achieve excellence do so through having a healthy dose of negative thinking. Though I prefer to call it contingency thinking or defensive pessimism.
It turns out that I still get uptight and nervous before many performances and festivals. Its because my mind is busy creating every disaster that might befall me: What if I forget the words/chords to the songs? What if I get lost on the way to the gig? What if I forget the electrical cord for my amplifier? What if the audience doesn't like me? and so on...

I also notice that as I think about these things my mind also comes up with solutions: I work on the songs so that I remember them. I look at the map. I asked questions to find out what sort of people I'll be performing for so as to plan my set accordingly. I double check the equipment I need to bring etc.
Negative thinking, when used properly, can be a powerful and vital part in attaining excellence or even just attaining being quite good. (Btw. extreme negative thinking in the form of a debilitating mood disorder is a sign of severe imbalance and needs to be treated).
Positive thinking on the other hand is really not much use at all. Positive emotions are no guarantee of positive outcomes. I'm not saying positivity is a bad thing but aside from making you feel good it really doesn't help with the specifics. Your negativity is what prepares you for all the stuff that can go wrong. Contingency thinking is vital for seeking out and correcting those little imperfections that make your musical performance less than it can be.
It is as difficult to change your average emotional state as it is to achieve a new average weight. Apparently its coded into our genes (see: Lykken's set point theory of happiness) If something really good, or really bad, happens in your life you'll likely be back to feeling your normal self within 3 to 6 months. And its encouraging to note; studies show that grouchy people are just as healthy as smiley people. Nature has endowed us with enough negativity to get the job done right so don't worry about worrying.
I once read that 95% of the things we worry about never happen. Good to know. But when the 5% does go wrong, and it happens on stage in front of hundreds of people, I want to be prepared!
The flip side of all this is that when things do go wrong it can be completely unexpected. No amount of preparation or pre-planning will help. So once you've dealt with all the reasonable worries learn to set them aside and live in the moment.
The positive use of your natural negativity may lead you to a place where you can actually relax and enjoy life more. Which, in spite of all I just said, is a good way to be. It may not feel like you are living in a land of milk and honey but you may find yourself in a land of beer and cheese. Which for for some of us is infinitely preferable.
Ralph Shaw 2010

Another thing That I do, and it is crazy, but it works.
Find a place away from others (or do this on stage) and do the King Louie dance. Just a basic flailing of your arms. It is so silly that it eases your mind that you just did something so strange.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXxjvdSlObc
It is like

TicToc
10-08-2010, 03:35 PM
Thanks again guys, I performed this morning and Aced it. I used a few of the methods beforehand, and was only a tad bit nervous, but I soon as I started playing, it all went away. Lots of "Awwwh" afterwards, as most people understood who I was singing about, and I got a kiss for it, so all in all it was a good day. Thanks again, guys! :)