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savethecheerleader
11-01-2010, 09:13 AM
I don't know about you all, but sometimes performing your instrument can be an intimidating thing. Even in small groups. All eyes are on you and at some level you feel the pressure to want to impress or wow your audience. You want your audience to engage in a meaningful way to what you're doing. I even posted a video (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?37479-quot-Hallelujah-quot-ukulele-cover) to the forums here of a cover, and even though the performance is a bit one sided being a video clip, I still got a little nervous about it.

I wrestled this out today a bit on my blog, but I wanted to carry the discussion here and ask you all... How do you fight any fear, nerves, and anxiety that goes along with performing your uke, singing, or any other instrument? What are some things that have helped you out with this?

Would love to hear your thoughts :)

Chap
11-01-2010, 09:19 AM
Safety in numbers. Start off, if you can, playing with other people on stage. It's far less stressful, if you know there are other people there to help shoulder the attention and/or blame. :)

Nick from PA
11-01-2010, 09:33 AM
I agree with Chap. Also, the main thing for me has been experience, i.e. the more you perform, the easier it becomes. My belief is that, just as we practice our instruments in order to improve, we must practice performing in front of an audience in order to be more comfortable with performing.

Tudorp
11-01-2010, 09:38 AM
Well.. I haven't "performed" in years. But I never considered playing as far as I was concerned "performing". Maybe it's me, but my definition of performing is "pretending" or acting. When I play, and it has always been this way for me, I play because I enjoy playing and feeling what I played. To me, that isn't a "performance". Kind of like if you are doing something you love in your spare time, hobby, or whatever, do you consider it "performing"? I also love antique cars, and restoring them. When I restored one, It wasn't a performance. It was just doing something I loved, and if someone appreciated it, and loved what they saw when it was done, that's great. But I did it for me and my own therapy, but thank you though for appreciating my efforts. When I play today, it is ussally just among a few friends sitting around talking, or visiting. My last was before my medical emergency 3 months ago with a neighborhood gathering. I sat there, in my time, my space and just played. If you wanted to hear, or listen, people came up and around, if they didn't, they walked off to chat with others or participate in something else going on. That was the closest to any public "performance" I have done in over 20 years, but, still, didn't look at it as that, nor tried to "impress" anyone. People that were around loved it by their comments and/or smiles, and those comments were appreciated, but again, I played because I love to, and it was for me, and I was happy to provide smiles while doing it. As I get healthier, I will most likely be more active in the public, and places with my Uke. But to date, with my disability, I am just a little more than a shut in and have been for years. Being a people person by nature, I have hated that about my exsistance the past 10 years, and really am looking forward to being able to get out amungst people again. Soon... Very soon.. ;)

So, I guess maybe that is how I cope with the pressure, by not putting any pressure on myself by "performing", but rather just enjoying a pass time I have enjoyed for nearly a lifetime.

If that makes any sense.. <shrug>

CoLmes
11-01-2010, 09:41 AM
Best way to beat your fear is to do what you fear, over and over. Still a thing I am working on.

Tudorp
11-01-2010, 09:43 AM
Best way to beat your fear is to do what you fear, over and over. Still a thing I am working on.

You showed no fear a few days ago brudda.. You are doing just fine..

spruce
11-01-2010, 09:56 AM
How do you fight your fear of performing?

Don't fight it.
Embrace it.
You could be Jake, and still have that fear.
So enjoy it.
It means that you are alive... ;)

And then look out over the audience--one by one--and silently say to yourself: "You get up here!"...

bazmaz
11-01-2010, 09:58 AM
i'd second playing with a friend - its how I started, and it does work

ukeeku
11-01-2010, 10:00 AM
I have 2 things
1. Perform on UUminijams
2. Before you get on stage do the king louie dance (or while on stage)

Anton K
11-01-2010, 10:17 AM
In 1980 I was in the US Navy. I went to fleet week in NYC where I bought 2 ukuleles, both Oscar Schmidts the ou2 and ou3. Bought them at a pretty well known music store Benson and Jacobson's. I knew I was about to board the USS Ohio. A sub and space being space guitars were not allowed. 2 ukes were. I knew there would be guitar players aboard who would miss strings.

I don't really perform, I have played for years though and somtimes there are people around. I always just kind of go back to a small galley and think of guys bored sipping coffe enjoying the sounds, as long as slides hammer ons and pull offs can be done....

Find a place you like to play when it is just you and play your heart out. When you find yourself somewhere else remember that place. Courage means nothing if you are fearless, courage is how you overcome when you are afraid.

Easy for me to say I play mostly on my porch.

casarole45
11-01-2010, 10:24 AM
Nerves are pretty normal to be honest... I remember seeing an interview with a really big comedian (forget his name), you know the sort of thing, in front of thousands + millions on tv. He said before every gig he would be hoping something would happen that would prevent him having to go on stage...

Its a pretty normal thing, the thing is to not back down from it and keep positive... also a tip a friend told me once, don't have more than a few pints, you need to be able to do it without relying on drink.... well his actual words were, thats how you'll turn into a fecking alcoholic, but I read through his Irish charm to the philosophy behind.


... and as the others said its definately good to start out in numbers, it helps loads even if its someone just beating a Djembe behind you or something.

CoLmes
11-01-2010, 10:27 AM
You showed no fear a few days ago brudda.. You are doing just fine..

Haha believe me I was pooping my pants. But, one thing I have learned is don't try to hide your fear. If someone asks me if I'm nervous I tell the truth. Feels like once its out in the open its a lot easier to deal with.

pulelehua
11-01-2010, 10:36 AM
Talk to the audience. Talking is easier than playing the ukulele while singing. You're more likely to succeed, and for 90% of people, it makes the audience like you more.

lindydanny
11-01-2010, 10:43 AM
I'll second the safety in numbers advice. Unfortunately, that isn't always an option.

What helps me the best is really knowing what it is I'm doing. If I have any amount of work that needs to happen to get something right, it isn't worth "performing". (But I will bring it to jams convincing myself that I'm practicing.)

The best bit of advice for musicians I have ever heard was given by a jazz guitarist: Never play outside of your technique.

Basically, all this boils down to practice, practice, practice. When you can play something perfectly ten times in a row, then you're getting close.

~DB

spoonido
11-01-2010, 10:53 AM
This is a fairly complex subject, because everyone's ability to perform varies. I used to do radio in Los Angeles. The best thing I was told by the news announcer was to write down everything you're going to say - even your name! That worked quite well.

For performing, I'd recommend sticking to an exact set list, keep between song banter to a minimum until you have a feel for what you're going to say, and say only as much as you intend to say.

And you're not going to be nervous... you're going to be EXCITED! :)

fitncrafty
11-01-2010, 10:58 AM
I don't know... amazing when I was watching your video the other day, you didn't look nervous.. Push through I guess.

I am nervous to play in front of my family and even my uke teacher and then make mistakes. I will have to jump over to your blog and see what you say over there.. Interesting topic. I am not real confident about my uke playing but there are somethings I don't get nervous about.

Nebs
11-01-2010, 11:06 AM
When I was in orchestra, I used to hate performing for the school. I'd get so nervous that I'd do vibrato naturally (from nerves and shaking fingers/body). Even though I didn't have the opportunity to talk to the audience or have any sort of interaction with it, I found that humor helps a lot. So does smiling an awful lot. Go in feeling easy and calm, crack a few jokes or so before performing. Treat the audience like you would your friends. Tell them why you're playing certain songs, tell them about the ukulele. Talking helps. It'll feel much better and any mistakes won't feel as bad compared to feeling as if you're playing with your back against the wall and the audience is armed with bazookas. :D

Might even be a fun/good idea to mention to the audience that you're actually a little nervous, too. :o

Faricelli
11-01-2010, 11:29 AM
Beer helps a lot.

ukeeku
11-01-2010, 11:32 AM
Beer helps a lot.

So does sailor Jerry

DAPuke
11-01-2010, 11:58 AM
I'll second the safety in numbers advice. Unfortunately, that isn't always an option.

What helps me the best is really knowing what it is I'm doing. If I have any amount of work that needs to happen to get something right, it isn't worth "performing". (But I will bring it to jams convincing myself that I'm practicing.)

The best bit of advice for musicians I have ever heard was given by a jazz guitarist: Never play outside of your technique.

Basically, all this boils down to practice, practice, practice. When you can play something perfectly ten times in a row, then you're getting close.

~DB Yeah, as Lindydanny said, I was going to say being prepared. And I'm still scared ;(
DAP

byjimini
11-01-2010, 12:08 PM
Basically you just get up there and do it. If you're on a stage on your own, get the lighting and effects engineer to shine the lights directly at you so you can't see the crowd, helps a lot.

One thing I found is to join a band and go busking. Nothing helps your confidence more than seeing a crowd of people stop walking to hear you play.

JT_Ukes
11-01-2010, 12:09 PM
boose..... :)

ukecantdothat
11-01-2010, 01:45 PM
It sounds really simplistic, but all you need to do to stop the panic is play the first note. Of course the more you do it, the easier it gets. I still play with people, much better and more seasoned than I am, who are even more pent up than me before a performance. We all have that experience to some degree, no matter what the skill level. Some players set the bar so high for themselves, maybe that's why they still have jitters. My steel drum/drummer buddy I play with is way more musically advanced than me and has played with all kinds of pros in every genre imaginable, played Montreau and toured Europe, etc, has an actual degree in music, teaches, blah blah... We do some gigs where there are a lot of hard core musicians likely to be in attendance. He gets so nervous at the thought of hitting a clam in front of one of these jazzbos, that he nearly soils his trousers! Then, we hit the first note and we're off, and that's that. Me? I don't sweat it, because I know what my limitations are and at my age, I'm fine with it. I'll still go beyond those limitations sometimes, but I don't worry about it, especially when other musicians are about. They pretty much all dig it, anyway!

Chris Tarman
11-01-2010, 02:01 PM
A band I used to play bass with got to open for the band Kansas at a local festival near here back in '98. It was our 4th gig. There were about 9,000 people there. I had played in front of small audiences a lot, and once in front of maybe 700 people in High School. But never anything like this (Plus, I LOVE Kansas... the first album I ever bought was "Point of Know Return", and Dave Hope's bass playing drew me to the instrument before I even knew what a bass was!). I was scared to death! My mouth was so incredibly dry through the whole 45 minute set. I think I downed three bottles of water during our set. But after a song or two, I realized that the audience dug us. Plus, with that many people, it was hard to see PEOPLE, if you know what I mean. Mostly it looked like a sea of hair, hats and sunglasses. I haven't had a lot of stage fright since then, but I honestly think it is a little harder to play for a smaller crowd, actually, because you can see individual people. But the more you do it, the easier it gets! I rarely get too nervous anymore... BUT, I do always keep some Imodium in my gig bag, just in case!

Ken
11-01-2010, 02:13 PM
Being a High Schooler who's been playing for roughly a year and a half, my advice probably extends to players younger than me (Senior in High School):

Play for people who love you and know you first.
As you grow comfortable, start playing at work or school during lunch breaks in a quiet corner.
People will acknowledge your playing, but mostly they won't care.
Look for opportunities to play your ukulele (without annoying your audience and playing for people who don't want to listen, the goal here is positive reinforcement for building up courage against stage fright).
Keep playing.

That's been my experience so far. I've gotten decent with handling stage fright. Hope it helps :D.

Ukuleleblues
11-01-2010, 02:41 PM
The more you perform the less intense the nervousness becomes, it channels into intensity. A lot of famous performers still get nervous, it's natural and means you still care. Sometimes you can talk to members of the audience before you perform and that can mitigate your anxiety. Focus on the folks in your audience that are getting into the performance. Expect to make mistakes when you perform, you are not perfect. Just keep on playing, no one will notice. Be confident and have fun!

HelloDisaster
11-01-2010, 04:58 PM
ive got so much performance anxiety right now. i got asked to be in a band that my friends have to play uke for a song or two, and we've got two shows this coming weekend. needless to say i am terrified. put me in front of children and i am fine... but people my own age? i am pretty close to pooping my pants. these are going to be the first times that i'll be playing in front of people that are not campers.

even just thinking about them is making me nervous.....
it wouldnt be so bad if i wasnt the playing the opening to a song
uuugh.

Brad Bordessa
11-01-2010, 05:33 PM
I don't know about you all, but sometimes performing your instrument can be an intimidating thing. Even in small groups. All eyes are on you and at some level you feel the pressure to want to impress or wow your audience...

That right there is the killer. You need to make yourself happy. People aren't paying to see you yet (I presume), so you have no obligations to be awesome. Obviously we aren't all Clapton, so just play at the level that would make youself say "yeah, that went pretty well for my playing skills." As you get better that level will get higher. Right now just comit yourself to doing the best you can do and show the audience that while maybe you are nervous, you are here - now - watch me. You will earn thier respect by being there and getting up to play by yourself. Most people will wimp out if you ask them to "play us a song". Break that wall down and when you are done you will be a happy person. It's quite a head game, but it gets easier. Just do it. The first few times you will feel like you want to visit the bushes and not come back. The next time will be easier.

lindydanny
11-02-2010, 03:30 AM
I don't know... I'm liking the beer theory too!

~DB

Papa Tom
11-02-2010, 03:45 AM
I was always a shy kid growing up, but as a "rock" drummer in my twenties and thirties, I performed numerous times at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, and other large venues. Never do I remember experiencing stage fright. That's probably due to something I discovered very early on playing Sweet 16's, weddings, and small club gigs.

When you're on stage, whether it's a real stage or a platform at a catering hall, the people watching will elevate you to a level of "cool" that you may not even realize. Just the fact that you had the cahoonas to get up there is very impressive to many people. Suddenly, members of the opposite sex find you irresistibly attractive and people who were indifferent toward you in day-to-day life fall into total awe of you.

If you take advantage of this little boost that took so little to earn, you can parlay it into a lifetime of total confidence, whether you're performing on the uke in front of a small club, delivering a toast at a wedding, or speaking to a conference room full of business associates.

With an instrument such as the uke, I think you can also carry this over to a situation where you are playing in front of a bunch of other uke players. Most of us love the instrument so much that just to hear ANYBODY play it makes us extremely happy. Others might be so self-conscious about their own playing that anything you do will sound far better than anything THEY can do. Still others, perhaps the minority, are self-absorbed enough that, if you suck, they will be overwhelmed with relief!

Which brings me to my last bit of advice: Don't ever fool yourself into believing that any stranger in your audience is paying 100% attention to you. The average person in any audience is focused 33% on how they look, 33% on the performer, and 33% on how inadequate the performer is making them look in front of their girl/boyfriend! http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.png

hoosierhiver
11-02-2010, 04:07 AM
I agree about the beer, also I try to keep my gaze kind of unfocused and off the spectators until I get into a groove and feel more confident.

Fuzzy
11-02-2010, 04:08 AM
When you're on stage, whether it's a real stage or a platform at a catering hall, the people watching will elevate you to a level of "cool" that you may not even realize. Just the fact that you had the cahoonas to get up there is very impressive to many people. Suddenly, members of the opposite sex find you irresistibly attractive and people who were indifferent toward you in day-to-day life fall into total awe of you.Once after a gig with my band three women in their early 20s told the bass player that they wanted to "party" with us, three guys in their mid- to late 40s. We had to turn them down, as we are all married.

As for stage fright, just remember that the audience is there to hear some music and enjoy themselves; they aren't sitting there waiting for you to mess up. They want you to succeed just as much as you do. They're you friends, not your enemies.

savethecheerleader
11-02-2010, 04:08 AM
I love these responses. So many different ways of seeing it, and I think they are all really beneficial.

I think the biggest thing that has helped me is keeping this frame of my mind that says I only play because this is who I am. I play music and share it with others because it's what I enjoy and I feel more alive when I do it. I don't do it for reasons to gain people's attention or try to impress people, as Brad mentioned. There will always be more impressive people. Even if no one wanted listened to me, it would still be worth it. If you like my playing, great, if you don't, that's just fine too. Hopefully, that doesn't sound arrogant, but the attitude is one that focuses on this is what I enjoy rather than what people might think.

I think as long as we're worrying about other people's reactions to our music we'll have a tough time. Be you and bring what you bring. It's all good.

Pueo
11-02-2010, 04:15 AM
I can play at home or for my wife with no nervousness, except for one exception: I wrote a song for my wife for her birthday, and I was actually nervous the first time I played it for her.

I play with an ukulele club, and when we do gigs and there are a bunch of us on stage together, I have no issues with nervousness at all, and in fact I really enjoy it and have a lot of fun performing. But the group also encourages us to get on stage and share songs with the rest of the group. There are probably only about eight or nine of us that actually do that, and I am one of them. I am crazy nervous when I do that, my head starts sweating, I get self conscious, and I may even make a mistake playing a song that I know by heart. I just force myself to get up there every week and play so that I can get over it, and it is getting a little easier, but it still affects me. I am not shy and I love to do karaoke, so it does not seem like it's a stagefright thing, but I am sure that's what it is. Apparently it is normal and will go away with experience, but I still get it too!

Skitzic
11-02-2010, 04:39 AM
I agree with Chap. Also, the main thing for me has been experience, i.e. the more you perform, the easier it becomes. My belief is that, just as we practice our instruments in order to improve, we must practice performing in front of an audience in order to be more comfortable with performing.

This. You just have to do it. It will get easier eventually. I talk a lot on stage, and that seems to help me. Also vodka. Vodka helps me a lot.

ukecantdothat
11-02-2010, 05:46 AM
I agree about the beergroove...

I'm guessing PBR, here, in your case!

(BTW, Mike... speaking of cases... the gator skin case fits my CBU like a glove! :)

ichadwick
11-02-2010, 05:55 AM
Tequila.

Does wonders for the nerves.

Small dosages recommended.

Miss Michele
11-02-2010, 06:21 AM
I always heard that you picture the audience in their underwear. lol Kidding aside, I'm nervous about playing in front of friends and family. I think it's mainly because they don't understand my love for the ukulele, yet. I haven't performed as an adult, but when I was a kid I use to dance and be in plays. I was when I very shy as a kid, but when I got on stage I cazme out of my shell quick! Good Luck!

Ukulele Jim
11-02-2010, 06:29 AM
I'm still not exactly comfortable up on stage yet. And I've been performing for years!

austin1
11-02-2010, 07:29 AM
So does sailor Jerry

debateable. I did two cups of sailor jerry and ginger ale at ukin in the woods, and the most I could do with was a half assed disney song with seeso that neither of us could remember the words to. Next time, I'm aiming for the double digits.

ukecantdothat
11-02-2010, 08:56 AM
I always heard that you picture the audience in their underwear...
This actually does work, but I find when I do that, I get so distracted that I forget where I am in the song! So then I get them dressed again, but invariably the clothes get all mixed up because I can't keep track of who was wearing what, and I'll end up seeing some fat guy in a pink brassier and undersized bicycle shorts. Most disturbing!!!

Chap
11-02-2010, 09:25 AM
I'll end up seeing some fat guy in a pink brassier and undersized bicycle shorts. Most disturbing!!!

Hey, I don't *always* wear that to concerts!

:)

SailQwest
11-02-2010, 09:29 AM
Alcohol just makes my fingers stupid, but it helps a lot if the audience is drunk. It makes me sound better.

spookefoote
11-02-2010, 10:00 AM
Playing with a group really helps. Solo, just get on with it. If you get applause it doesn't half help the ego.

ukecantdothat
11-02-2010, 10:38 AM
Hey, I don't *always* wear that to concerts!

:)

Ha!!! You will when you come to see me! :nana:

nickman2
11-02-2010, 11:00 AM
I just moved to a new school In Minnesota where i literally knew nobody. the first day Of school I brought in my trust ukulele and everyone all of a sudden wanted to get to know me. some people looked at me like I was high but I didn't care because I had my uke and I was ready to go. You just need to understand that it doesn't matter what people think of us, we just need to care what we think about ourselves and as long as we have faith and love the ukulele, then we are all good. there is this really good song that talks about not worrying about what people think.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_9K6oIDsrE
it has a lot of bad language but i think it shows how you should care about what other people think of you.
P.S. i really like your cover of Hallelujah. I did one not too long ago. check it out if you have the chance.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tmzHq1TSjA

chrisukulele
11-02-2010, 01:41 PM
I had the opportunity to interview some professional working musicians in hawaii and I asked them this very question. The three most frequent responses were:
1. Practice a LOT at home and do it as if you were onstage (meaning rehearse looking at the audience, reducing any fidgeting, write any commentary you want to say beforehand, etc.)
2. Do more and more performances onstage. Even if its mini performances just for friends and family-just do it. It helps alleviate the fear of being in a crowd, and lets you get used to people watching you do your thing. If possible do this weekly. The more frequent the better. Even a 2-3 person audience is excellent practice.
And lastly, (it gets good here)
3. "YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO LOSE THE BUTTERFLIES." Many of the musicians who've been playing 10+ years have admitted that. They also added that "if I ever lose that fear, that anxiety, those butterflies-i'll quit performing." Most people don't realize when they start performing is that those butterflies are made up of fear, anxiety, confidence, and EXCITEMENT. Learning how balance all of those emotions comes with experience-not so much from books or advice. Just get on stage and have fun! Enjoy yourself! If that's your focus then you'll naturally find what works for you-steady breathing, jumping jacks, drinking tea, cracking jokes-whatever makes you calm is good. Whatever makes you loosen up is good. Whatever makes you joyful is good.

Hope that helps :]

lindydanny
11-03-2010, 03:27 AM
Good answer, Chris.

~DB

The_Oddness_of_It_All
11-03-2010, 05:33 AM
I say, Just Do It and have fun. I find the more I play, and the more I share my love for the uke the more confident I become. Then you just grow to love performing.

Manalishi
11-03-2010, 08:18 AM
I played in guitar bands for many years,and now play ukulele.We
recently started up a club in my home town,and to play with a
group of people,of mixed abilities,is awesome.I used to be afraid
in the rock bands,but handled it as best I could.Now I just relax
and enjoy playing.I may not be the best out there,but hey,I am
pretty sure I am not the worst! Whatever gets you through,yes?

ricdoug
11-03-2010, 04:56 PM
Best way to beat your fear is to do what you fear, over and over. Still a thing I am working on.

You rocked and owned the audience at the Southern California Ukulele Festival Stage in Cerritos 2010, Collin! You were well received by a HUGE crowd! I, personally, was blown away by your grand performance! Keep on keepin' on! Ric

Miss Michele
11-03-2010, 05:39 PM
This actually does work, but I find when I do that, I get so distracted that I forget where I am in the song! So then I get them dressed again, but invariably the clothes get all mixed up because I can't keep track of who was wearing what, and I'll end up seeing some fat guy in a pink brassier and undersized bicycle shorts. Most disturbing!!!

lol, too funny!

Miss Michele
11-03-2010, 05:40 PM
Hey, I don't *always* wear that to concerts!

:)

hahahahahaha!

savethecheerleader
11-04-2010, 05:05 AM
I say, Just Do It and have fun. I find the more I play, and the more I share my love for the uke the more confident I become. Then you just grow to love performing.

Seems like a general consensus is running through this thread that there's nothing like the experience you gain just by doing it, not to mention, doing it just for the sole motivation of enjoying the uke and wanting to share that passion with others.

CoLmes
11-04-2010, 05:50 AM
You rocked and owned the audience at the Southern California Ukulele Festival Stage in Cerritos 2010, Collin! You were well received by a HUGE crowd! I, personally, was blown away by your grand performance! Keep on keepin' on! Ric

Dahh thanks dude. Did you upload any of that video btw?

Yeah I was nervous def. at that open mic. I wanted to leave a good impression tho.. I stood up for my first song, I can play standing up without a strap but my nervousness on stage is still over my ability to do that while people are watching me. haha

Thebenn
11-04-2010, 05:59 AM
People are usually nervous because they are freaked out they will mess up. Remember that you are your harshest critic. If you do make a mistake 99% of the people listening to you will not even notice, they are in the moment and enjoying the music. Just keep rolling and having fun with your performance and you will enjoy it as much as those listening to it.
Also... practice, practice, practice. Nothing can replace repetition.

ukecantdothat
11-04-2010, 10:04 AM
...Remember that you are your harshest critic. If you do make a mistake 99% of the people listening to you will not even notice...
On some gigs, everybody is hitting clams! It's like it becomes contageous and the whole band starts messing up left and right. And still people are coming up and saying how great we were! We know the "truth" but like stated above, most people don't notice.

lindydanny
11-04-2010, 11:42 AM
I had that experience on a solo thing once. I was playing way out of my comfort zone on something that was a request for church. After I was done I got a ton of complements. I'm not sure how honest some people were being (maybe they were just letting me know it was okay), but I felt so horrible about that performance. Later, I totally nailed one, though. That certainly made me feel better. I got a lot of complements again and it felt awesome.

It has it's highs and it's lows. But no matter what, it happens. Just remember: If you go on and mess up, at least you were brave enough to go on. If you don't go on, then you're chicken and everyone knows it!

~DB

lindydanny
11-04-2010, 11:43 AM
Okay, that last part was harsh...

austin1
11-04-2010, 12:45 PM
I fully acknowledge that I am a chicken, and I'm alright with that

savethecheerleader
11-04-2010, 04:28 PM
I fully acknowledge that I am a chicken, and I'm alright with that

Honesty for the win :D

ichadwick
11-05-2010, 03:01 AM
I always heard that you picture the audience in their underwear.
Before performing for a group of my mother's co-seniors at her nursing home? That would take a LOT more tequila... I'm not sure I can carry that much in my case...

Chris Tarman
11-05-2010, 04:26 AM
I've rarely had more than one drink when playing live (usually about 1/2 hour before going on, if I have one at all), and I have had some very uncomfortable gigs where OTHER people in the band were drinking a LOT. Generally, I don't think that helps very much. I think people THINK they're playing well, but they don't usually play as well as they think they are when they've been drinking (too much, at least... with extremely rare exceptions). As someone else said though, it might help if the AUDIENCE is at least a little drunk! As long as they don't get hostile!

Seriously though, in my experience, most people are pretty forgiving if you mess up. For one thing, very few people even notice it unless it is a catastrophic train-wreck. If there are musicians in the audience, they'll notice if you mess up, but most likely they'll sympathize with you because they've been there before. Unless they're total a-holes, lol. When I see bands or solo musicians, I certainly feel sympathy when they mess up, and I would never criticize anyone for a train-wreck. In fact, I get a kick out of watching how people recover from them (and I don't mean a sadistic kick). EVERYONE screws up at some point. And EVERY band I've played in (and most of the bands I've seen) eventually play something they aren't QUITE ready to pull off with complete success. But hey, at least they're trying! You have to go out of your comfort zone sometimes.
The country band I have played bass with on and off for years rarely rehearses (I live 60 miles from the other guys)... back when we were gigging a lot, I would show up to set up a few hours before the gig, and they would casually say "Oh, we have three new songs". We'd run through them a couple of times after we set up, and BAM! We'd play them that night at the gig. I don't even listen to country, so these were songs I had never heard before. Usually the first night was kind of rough, but people in the audience loved hearing some brand new song that they knew from the radio, so it was fun for them, which made it fun for us.
So just get out there and do it, and remember that very few people in the audience could do it!

wickedwahine11
11-30-2010, 11:43 AM
I just want to chime in and thank everyone for their tips and suggestions in this thread. Last night I played in public (solo) by myself for the first time and it was terrifying. I can play in front of my spouse, my mom, my cat (though she usually leaves the room -- hmmm) just fine. But I completely screwed up.

I was playing a song that I can play practically in my sleep. It isn't difficult ("Christmastime is Here") and I know it forwards and backwards. My uke teacher told me the week before that I would be playing it for the class. So I practiced all week and could play it perfectly. I even played it perfectly before we started class. About halfway through class he told me to play it -- truthfully I was hoping he had forgotten.

I went up to the front of class and I was so nervous I was literally shaking. My leg was quivering and my hands felt like two blocks that I could not manipulate at all. I tried three times, and it was epic fail three times. Everyone was really sweet but I was mortified. The thing that bugged me the most was that it is not a hard song, and I play it perfectly at home all the time.

My instructor said he was once told by a piano teacher that 15% of what you can do in practice is left when you perform live. I got pity applause from the fellow students and a couple of hugs. The bad part is I have to do it again next week. Ugh. I wanted to crawl under a rock when the teacher said he made me do it because he thought I was up to it. Which to me felt like he was saying "Oh, I was wrong. You're not. You suck." He probably meant that he didn't mean to embarrass me, and that I am able to do it. Or maybe he meant I DO suck...

So since I'm now dreading it, I appreciate all the tips offered. Hopefully next week goes better. Thank God it is at least an easy song that I do have memorized.

I think I'm going to set up a bunch of stuffed animals and pretend they are my classmates and instructor at this point. ;)

OldePhart
11-30-2010, 12:10 PM
wickedwahine - I had a similar experience several years ago. My son-in-law and I were playing a duet for the music program at our church (about 400 people). He was on Native American flute and I was on classical guitar and we were doing "What Child is This" - which is about as simple as they come. When it came my turn to pick out the melody while he played harmony I couldn't find the strings. My left hand was fingering all the right positions, but my right hand was plucking thin air about 1/8" above the strings. I'm a bit of a clown so I don't really get intimidated by people much, anyway - I'll quite happily sing off key (about the only way I know how to sing) in front of thousands if no one stops me. :)

The funny thing was I'd played in front of those folks before and I wasn't feeling at all nervous, at least not until I couldn't find the strings! Once I'd played through the first three bars without hitting any notes I started getting nervous! The wierd thing was, I knew exactly what was happening, but I just couldn't seem to get my fingers in position to actually hit the strings. We struggled through and made it to the end. I told myself it was because I'd had to sit at a really awkward angle to fit between the piano and some furniture and still be close to the microphone. Maybe that was even true. ;)

The point is, you get over it. Don't dwell on it - look at next week as an opportunity to prove that the first time was just first-time jitters. If you spend all week dreading it you are really setting yourself up to fall flat.

And...if you do fall flat next week...it doesn't mean you suck - it means that you just have a very high level of performance anxiety. The funny thing is - the only cure for performance anxiety is to perform enough that you learn to work through it!

Also, I think your instructor was trying to apologize and reassure - i.e. what he was saying was, "You've been doing so well that I thought you were ready, but I didn't realize that your performance anxiety index was so high." So says the mighty OldePhart, anyway, who is known throughout the land for his ability to read the minds of instructors from afar!

Oh, and I almost forgot; every single one of those people in your class was watching you and thinking, "Oh, thank goodness he didn't call on me. WW plays so much better than I do I'd surely make a fool of myself!"
John

byjimini
11-30-2010, 12:12 PM
Had my first gig with our punk/folk band over the weekend, went down a storm. Met the editor for the Darlington & Stockton Times (paper for local area) who took a photo and now wants our details for a writeup. :)

Plus I'm playing solo, supporting a band in a 45 minute slot on the 18th; I've got about 5 folk nights to practice some new stuff for it, and then I'm on. :) Can't wait.

misterpk
11-30-2010, 12:14 PM
I can totally relate to this. The first time I joined the UU Mini Jams, Colin (coLmes) convinced me to play something. So I was pretty comfortable with TNC by Troy Fernandez and I thought I would play it. I totally butchered it. Wrong notes everywhere, awful timing, etc. It was terrible. Luckily it was only 3 people left (Colin, austin1 and Seeso) and they were all really nice about it but I was mortified.

Recently I had to play a song for a class. Carl had me do it without any notice. So I panicked and picked Amos Lee's Sweet Pea, because it's an easy song and I can do it in my sleep. I forgot the words to the third verse and I screwed up the chord changes a couple of times. How embarassing.

I don't know what to do, but I'm going to force myself to play in front of people and hopefully it gets better. :)

byjimini
11-30-2010, 12:18 PM
It's not embarrassing at all - everyone does it, just laugh it off and keep playing. :)

The sooner you stop worrying what the audience is thinking of you, the sooner you'll begin to concentrate more on the song and its execution, which vastly improves your play. It's all part of the ride. :)

CoLmes
11-30-2010, 12:22 PM
I can totally relate to this. The first time I joined the UU Mini Jams, Colin (coLmes) convinced me to play something. So I was pretty comfortable with TNC by Troy Fernandez and I thought I would play it. I totally butchered it. Wrong notes everywhere, awful timing, etc. It was terrible. Luckily it was only 3 people left (Colin, austin1 and Seeso) and they were all really nice about it but I was mortified.
:)

Bahahahaha I remember that, you did awesome! No worries.

AzMichael
11-30-2010, 12:27 PM
It's getting easier each time I'm up in front of our group. I played Hawaii 5-O in front of 300+ people a couple months ago, and am playing 2 songs at an upcoming Christmas party, with who knows how many people.

My hands shake just a little less each time...but I can't wait!!! :cool:

~Michael

Fuzzy
12-01-2010, 04:50 AM
I completely screwed up.

I was playing a song that I can play practically in my sleep. It isn't difficult... and I know it forwards and backwards.
I've been in the same boat. During the acoustic set at my band's gigs I try to play a song that I know very well because I wrote it myself, but I have yet to play it in front of an audience as perfectly as I play it at home on the couch. I screw up every time. But I keep trying. One of these times it will go well...

OldePhart
12-01-2010, 12:33 PM
Heh, heh. The nice thing about doing original songs is no one can say you played it wrong...

lambchop
12-01-2010, 05:51 PM
Rehersal, practice, be prepared. I am most nervous when I get up and do new stuff or stuff I have not practiced in a long time. This is the same response, by the way, to a number of such questions. Mike

musiccityuker
12-02-2010, 01:17 AM
I perform... if for none one else but my captive family!