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addicted2myuke
12-10-2012, 06:37 AM
I have been playing for almost 2 years and am a superstar when I play alone in my home. Now my nephew and I are asked to play some Christmas songs at our family Christmas party. We have rehearsed and have several songs down. We play well together and rarely screw up. I'm not sure that will be the case when I am playing in front of 20 or more people, some friends of the family included. Yikes! We have printed off song lyrics so everyone can sing along. Thank goodness, because my singing voice is something to be desired. Any advice on how to not screwup because of stage fright? Thanks and happy holidays to all.

pootsie
12-10-2012, 07:01 AM
Usually people say to imagine the audience naked, but given that this is a family event I advise against it.

I'm not sure why people say that anyway, but just don't do it.

sukie
12-10-2012, 07:08 AM
If everybody else is singing, maybe you don't have to and can just concentrate on playing? Maybe a beer before hand? Read: A beer, not a case.

I'm guessing after a song or two you will start feeling more comfortable. It sounds like fun. You are playing in a very safe environment.

Have a great time. Next time you play in front of people it will be easier. This I do know. It gets easier each time.

ogg
12-10-2012, 07:10 AM
Practice twice as much as you think you need to! Warmup in a backroom somewhere and remember these people will probably love it regardless of how well you play!

lovinforkful
12-10-2012, 07:17 AM
I'll be honest, the first song will probably be uncomfortable for you if you don't like being the center of attention. But that's all it will take, because once you're warmed up and you've made it through a couple bars and you see the earth hasn't split beneath your feet and swallowed you whole, you'll see there's nothing to be afraid of. You know what you're doing and you've practiced, just be confident!

rocko
12-10-2012, 07:20 AM
The biggest key I can offer from my (limited) [recent] performance experience is to have fun with it. if you're having fun, mistakes won't matter.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
12-10-2012, 07:25 AM
just about any song cirlce will need some kind of guidance or leadership. get a cousin or uncle or aunt who is outgoing and can sing (read carry a tune... well!) and have them 'lead'. this does a couple of things, it shifts the focus of attention on to them, and frees you two up to focus on your ukulele playing :)

If that's not an option, screw up your courage, gird up your loins and grab the bull by the horns. Speak loudly and confidently in terms of song selection then begin the song strongly. Your family will appreciate it. And even though they may 'rib' you, no one, even family, wants any performer to 'fail'.

the song sheets are brilliant! Get them focused on their own singing and the lyrics and melody, then just go for it.

Don't be surprised if you become the annual song leader!

It will be well! You'll have a good time and can now add it to your 'resume'!

Every party needs a ukulele player/song leader. Get one gig, even if it's for family, under your belt and the next one will be easier, even in front of strangers.

Everybody wants you to succeed. Really.

Then report back here for more kudos:)

keep uke'in',

addicted2myuke
12-10-2012, 07:40 AM
Thanks to everyone who responded. I come from a family of artists, one is a professional puppeteer, one paints , one writes, and me and my nephew are the ones who play an instrument. We all perform in front of eachother in different ways. Thanks to you good folks who responded, I feel more confident already.

sukie
12-10-2012, 07:50 AM
Hey, we all started somewhere. Everyone was a beginner. Even painters and puppeteers. They will love it.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
12-10-2012, 08:22 AM
That's even better.

No performer wants to see another performer 'fail'.

They will be sooooo on your side!

Don't apologize, especially if you've been asked to 'lead' this part of the 'program':)

to quote Nike, "Just Do It!"

It will be great. In fact, it should be better than great as you have a built-in sympathetic audience!

Don't be surprised if the singing overwhelms the ukes!

A very great time will be had by all... you two included!

The little ones (if there are any) will be fascinated by the ukes!

Next year, ukes for everyone!!!

keep uke'in',

seeso
12-10-2012, 08:45 AM
The hardest thing to do while performing is to stop your inner voice from criticizing yourself. The best way I've found to do that, is to sing the song to someone specific. If you have the story of the song in your intent, then that's what you're trying to convey. The technical details become secondary.

I know they're Christmas songs you're singing, so it may be hard to find the perfect person to sing to, but there'll be someone. Children might work well. If you sing directly to a kid in the audience, I bet your jitters will magically disappear.

bazmaz
12-10-2012, 09:09 AM
This is a problem that plagues everyone at some point to some degree. Much great advice here.

As someone who performs a lot, not much I can add except practice practice practice - and it gets easier. One tip I was given was to get your intro patter or first song, or even first few bars and lines absolutely perfect. I don't mean ignore the rest, but really work on the intro. Get the Intro right and you will then relax into set. It's an old public speaking trick and it works

Garydavkra
12-10-2012, 09:12 AM
Well, this is my advice and I'm an artist. Everyone makes mistakes, it's no big deal. Just have fun. If someone points out your mistakes just tell them that you are exercising artistic license and you meant to do it that way.:D




Thanks to everyone who responded. I come from a family of artists, one is a professional puppeteer, one paints , one writes, and me and my nephew are the ones who play an instrument. We all perform in front of eachother in different ways. Thanks to you good folks who responded, I feel more confident already.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
12-10-2012, 09:55 AM
Yup, Gary, I concur.

I was in a Wedding once (mine) and the the Pastor said if anything falls, slowly pick it up like that's what was supposed to happen!

No quick movements with lots of head turning! :)

keep uke'in',

coolkayaker1
12-10-2012, 09:59 AM
I'm not sure that will be the case when I am playing in front of 20 or more people, some friends of the family included. Yikes! Any advice on how to not screwup because of stage fright? Thanks and happy holidays to all.

You could put twenty stuffed animals in folding chairs and play to them. Helps to imagine them in their underpants.

ukulelecowboy
12-10-2012, 11:01 AM
Start with a song that you know very well and really comfortable playing. This will help to give your performance stability. We start every show with "Walking After Midnight." It gives a me a starting point and helps to center Jesse (vocals) and me (ukulele).

Don't be afraid of using a lead sheet if you want. I play from a three-ring volume of music and never would never step on stage without it.

Smile. Have fun. Try to relax.

If you blow a chord or note, keep going. I guarantee that you are the only one who will know it.

Try to play with as much flair as you can muster while still playing all the right chords.

Don't be afraid to fall back on a simpler voicing of a chord if the more complex fingering every escapes you.

Stay present. Enjoy. It's a total blast.

Ken Middleton
12-10-2012, 12:01 PM
Smile and don't talk too much when you're on the stage.

Play simple stuff and play it well. Playing tricky stuff badly is no good.

If your voice is more or less in tune, it doesn't matter how bad it is. How interesting it is is the thing that really matters. And don't breathe in the middle of a phrase, unless it is intentionally done for effect.

Whatever you do, don't play strumming patterns.

Perhaps the most important thing: vary the dynamics (volume). Sing and play sad bits more quietly and play less notes, for instance.

Remember that most people in the audience are on your side (unless you really suck) and want you to do well. And, most of them would be more nervous than you if they were on the stage.

sukie
12-10-2012, 12:59 PM
Well, this is my advice and I'm an artist. Everyone makes mistakes, it's no big deal. Just have fun. If someone points out your mistakes just tell them that you are exercising artistic license and you meant to do it that way.:D
Somebody told me that was playing jazz. :-)

addicted2myuke
12-10-2012, 12:59 PM
Wow. Thanks for all your great advice. Starting with the ones I can play without thinking is good advice. By the time I have played a couple of simple ones, I'll be having so much fun that my nervousness will go out the window. I love UU. The friendliest and most encouraging bunch on the planet.

OldePhart
12-10-2012, 01:39 PM
Usually people say to imagine the audience naked, but given that this is a family event I advise against it.

I'm not sure why people say that anyway, but just don't do it.

ROFL! This deserves to be pinned!

To the OP - have fun with it. You aren't on trial! Just playing an instrument is far more than most of the folks who will be there can lay claim to.

John

OldePhart
12-10-2012, 01:41 PM
Somebody told me that was playing jazz. :-)

Playing the wrong note once is a mistake - playing that same note wrong through every single stanza is jazz!

At least, that's what I keep telling our band leader when I'm on the bass... :)

John

gitarzan
12-10-2012, 03:21 PM
If I play in front of others, I just remember that ~I DON'T SEE ANY OF THEIR BUTTS UP HERE!~

Now if they are peers of the musical sense, that kind of doesn't work.

But on Thursday, I am going to play at a Christmas party for our work group. I suspect about a third is going to enjoy, about a third is going to wonder if playing ukulele is a manly enough endeavor, and a third is going to laugh and ridicule me, and for those last two thirds, I am just going to remember... ~I DON'T SEE ANY OF THEIR BUTTS UP HERE!~ Not a single one of them has ever picked up a musical instrument, but I am playing for the first third and myself.

Tootler
12-11-2012, 09:37 AM
You're bound to make mistakes. Keep playing when you do and no one will notice. I was told to play through my mistakes.

I echo the have fun.

Play stuff you enjoy and your audience will pick that up and will enjoy it too.

Learn your words & chords so you can make eye contact with the audience. If you know the words & chord changes, you can then focus on interpreting the song.

If you want your words/chords in front of you, fine but treat them as a prompt sheet and try not to look at them if you can avoid it.

acmespaceship
12-11-2012, 10:10 AM
It took me years to learn this about performing: It's not about me, it's about the audience. The point is not to impress people with the sheer genius of my uke playing (and I can guarantee you that won't happen) but to make sure they have a good time. They won't remember my mistakes, they won't compare my technique with the previous act, and they're not looking for something to criticize. All they want is to enjoy a show. Somehow this takes all the pressure off. Well, most of the pressure anyway.

They'll have fun if you're having fun. Remember it's not about you. Before you start, remind yourself that you have this wonderful neat thing (ukulele music) and you can't wait to share it with them because they're sure to love it. And you know what? They will.

uke4ia
12-11-2012, 10:23 AM
The hard thing to keep in mind when you're playing in front of people is that IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER! Nothing is at stake. No one in your audience is about to offer you a multi-million dollar recording deal if you can only get through this song without mistakes.

This is a really hard thing to learn, and a hard thing to truly take to heart. I played in a uke show a couple months ago, and afterward I was mad at myself for muffing two chords on my last song, the song I knew best and have played hundreds of times. But the truth is no one really noticed, and if anyone did it's unlikely they'd particularly care.

Another uke show, a few years ago: one of the headliners was Jim Beloff. He couldn't remember the opening of one of the songs he was playing, and it took him four tries before he was remembered it correctly and got into the song. But he didn't tear himself up about making mistakes in front of an audience. It wasn't that big a deal. When the day comes that you're playing in front of an arena, everyone paid $100 a ticket, and you have to stay in perfect sync with the light show and pre-recorded drums, then worry. Until that day, it just doesn't matter.

Youkalaylee
12-11-2012, 12:58 PM
Smile and don't talk too much when you're on the stage.

Play simple stuff and play it well. Playing tricky stuff badly is no good.

If your voice is more or less in tune, it doesn't matter how bad it is. How interesting it is is the thing that really matters. And don't breathe in the middle of a phrase, unless it is intentionally done for effect.

Whatever you do, don't play strumming patterns.

Perhaps the most important thing: vary the dynamics (volume). Sing and play sad bits more quietly and play less notes, for instance.

Remember that most people in the audience are on your side (unless you really suck) and want you to do well. And, most of them would be more nervous than you if they were on the stage.

What's the matter with strumming patterns?

And hello fellow stoke on Trenter!

Ken Middleton
12-11-2012, 10:09 PM
What's the matter with strumming patterns?

And hello fellow stoke on Trenter!

Strumming patterns can be a good way to learn the basics of strumming, no question. However, they do sound a bit robotic and unmusical. Somebody performing on stage perhaps needs to be thinking of introducing variety into their playing, not sameness.