How to deal with performance anxiety

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PJ Boatwright

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Joined: 01/25/10

Posts: 3

Thanks for this

I've been playing open mics for a while, and entered a battle of the bands competition at a local venue. I play with a buddy of mine, we have advanced to the championship round on Dec 29. We're preparing carefully, but I still take the stage too often with the "don't screw up" frame of mind. Lately I've been trying to put myself into the "entertain them" frame of mind. This article helps, thanks a bunch.

#11

Thanks for this

I've been playing open mics for a while, and entered a battle of the bands competition at a local venue. I play with a buddy of mine, we have advanced to the championship round on Dec 29. We're preparing carefully, but I still take the stage too often with the "don't screw up" frame of mind. Lately I've been trying to put myself into the "entertain them" frame of mind. This article helps, thanks a bunch.

bdubois

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Joined: 07/25/07

Posts: 1

It's true, no one is immune and there is no cure but there are some practical pointers here. Great post, I've borrowed some quotes in my latest blog, "Say YES to Stage Fright. http://www.shadesofplay.ca/blog

#12

It's true, no one is immune and there is no cure but there are some practical pointers here. Great post, I've borrowed some quotes in my latest blog, "Say YES to Stage Fright. http://www.shadesofplay.ca/blog

wildwoman1313

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Joined: 11/17/08

Posts: 303

Agree, compart1 and gypsyblues73. I saw a solo Aaron Lewis recently. When he played an off note, he paid it little mind and so, then, did we. In fact, I don't think many in the audience even picked up on it. Aaron's imperfection made the show all the more intimate. Gave it that sitting-around-a-friend's-living-room feel. You're right, gypsyblues73. If you don't call unnecessary attention to your mistakes, chances are others won't either.

Thanks for your comment, PJ. And best of luck to you in the Championship Round of the competition. Fingers crossed. ;)

Interesting blog, bdubois! You make valid points in your posts. I wholeheartedly agree with you that performing is addictive. The only way to get around stage fright is to go through it, and what awaits on the other side is so worth a little discomfort. Thanks for the shout-out. :)

#13

Agree, compart1 and gypsyblues73. I saw a solo Aaron Lewis recently. When he played an off note, he paid it little mind and so, then, did we. In fact, I don't think many in the audience even picked up on it. Aaron's imperfection made the show all the more intimate. Gave it that sitting-around-a-friend's-living-room feel. You're right, gypsyblues73. If you don't call unnecessary attention to your mistakes, chances are others won't either.

Thanks for your comment, PJ. And best of luck to you in the Championship Round of the competition. Fingers crossed. ;)

Interesting blog, bdubois! You make valid points in your posts. I wholeheartedly agree with you that performing is addictive. The only way to get around stage fright is to go through it, and what awaits on the other side is so worth a little discomfort. Thanks for the shout-out. :)

truckermorgan

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Joined: 10/22/05

Posts: 2

Stage Fright.. UUUGH!!!

I've been playing guitar for almost my whole life.. 37 years now.. and I've been playing in front of people for 30 of those 37 years... I STILL get horrible stage fright..
I just remember that all those famous people that get stage fright..
My favorite musician with stage fright is Stevie Ray Vaughn.. As I'm a blues guitarist.. He ALWAYS started each concert with an instrumental.. To work out the butterflies...
No one is safe.. I've forgotten entire songs.. I just moved on to the next one and came back to the one I forgot when I got my wits about me...

This is a great article. Thank you so much..

#14

Stage Fright.. UUUGH!!!

I've been playing guitar for almost my whole life.. 37 years now.. and I've been playing in front of people for 30 of those 37 years... I STILL get horrible stage fright..
I just remember that all those famous people that get stage fright..
My favorite musician with stage fright is Stevie Ray Vaughn.. As I'm a blues guitarist.. He ALWAYS started each concert with an instrumental.. To work out the butterflies...
No one is safe.. I've forgotten entire songs.. I just moved on to the next one and came back to the one I forgot when I got my wits about me...

This is a great article. Thank you so much..

haghj500

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Joined: 10/22/11

Posts: 453

I was 5 years old the first time I ran into this. I played piano and had a rehearsal to play at. I had my song memorized and was ready to go. Then a person who was to go up and play, about two people before me started crying and freaking out because she had to go up in front of everyone and play. The thought of that never occurred to me, but after listening to her freak out and not go up and play. It was now part of my psyche and had to be dealt with as I was about to go up. Well, I decided to go try and play anyways. I thought I did well and wondered why that person was able to affect me like that.

#15

I was 5 years old the first time I ran into this. I played piano and had a rehearsal to play at. I had my song memorized and was ready to go. Then a person who was to go up and play, about two people before me started crying and freaking out because she had to go up in front of everyone and play. The thought of that never occurred to me, but after listening to her freak out and not go up and play. It was now part of my psyche and had to be dealt with as I was about to go up. Well, I decided to go try and play anyways. I thought I did well and wondered why that person was able to affect me like that.

drren

Registered User

Joined: 04/23/12

Posts: 3

drren

Good article, all true with good advice regarding options for solutions. Some gigs for some reason my fingers feel knotted and stuck in glue, heart rate accelerates and anxiety can lead to flubbed chords or solo notes, an old friend not playing suggested before a gig to tell yourself, "I have the notion I`m nervous about playing well, i am not nervous about anything and am relaxed and play well." it has always worked even playing packed concerts. When we give in to fear of any kind we lock up and can`t think effectively, that`s well documented, changing your mindset with a little mind switch works.

#16

drren

Good article, all true with good advice regarding options for solutions. Some gigs for some reason my fingers feel knotted and stuck in glue, heart rate accelerates and anxiety can lead to flubbed chords or solo notes, an old friend not playing suggested before a gig to tell yourself, "I have the notion I`m nervous about playing well, i am not nervous about anything and am relaxed and play well." it has always worked even playing packed concerts. When we give in to fear of any kind we lock up and can`t think effectively, that`s well documented, changing your mindset with a little mind switch works.

wildwoman1313

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Joined: 11/17/08

Posts: 303

Thanks for sharing your stories truckermorgan, haghj500, and drren. Here's something I found on Sir Paul McCartney fessing up to a major blunder in front of the whole world at this summer's Olympics. Really does happen to the best of us. Check it out here.

#17

Thanks for sharing your stories truckermorgan, haghj500, and drren. Here's something I found on Sir Paul McCartney fessing up to a major blunder in front of the whole world at this summer's Olympics. Really does happen to the best of us. Check it out here.

A914Man

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Joined: 03/31/13

Posts: 2

Thank you for some wise words!

What a great post! After a very long hiatus I've gotten back into playing live. I've been singing, acting, or playing guitar in front of people since I was 13, and never had a problem with stage fright. I was always able to turn the nervous energy into my performance, but I've been choking, and it's just not something I've experienced much in the past.

Thank you for shedding some light, and giving me a better focus. I play 100% sober now, and just in the past month I've gone to only playing in a praise and worship setting, and as you say I do need to focus 100% of my thoughts on playing as giving.

FWIW, I think it's only fitting that I'm resurrecting this old thread on Easter!

#18

Thank you for some wise words!

What a great post! After a very long hiatus I've gotten back into playing live. I've been singing, acting, or playing guitar in front of people since I was 13, and never had a problem with stage fright. I was always able to turn the nervous energy into my performance, but I've been choking, and it's just not something I've experienced much in the past.

Thank you for shedding some light, and giving me a better focus. I play 100% sober now, and just in the past month I've gone to only playing in a praise and worship setting, and as you say I do need to focus 100% of my thoughts on playing as giving.

FWIW, I think it's only fitting that I'm resurrecting this old thread on Easter!

Kasperow

Registered User

Joined: 10/09/12

Posts: 693

Originally Posted by: gnarara
Anyway, the truth is, as a musician you judge yourself much harder than the audience, as has been so eloquently stated in the article.

I can only agree with this. Everytime I practice with my family around, they keep telling me it sounds amazing, yet I can't see any improvement compared to where I was when I started. Maybe I should consider listening to what others think of me instead of what I think of myself...

Amazing article, Wildwoman. Another very well-written post that's still as easily readable as the other articles you've written. Keep up the good job :)

#19

Originally Posted by: gnarara
Anyway, the truth is, as a musician you judge yourself much harder than the audience, as has been so eloquently stated in the article.

I can only agree with this. Everytime I practice with my family around, they keep telling me it sounds amazing, yet I can't see any improvement compared to where I was when I started. Maybe I should consider listening to what others think of me instead of what I think of myself...

Amazing article, Wildwoman. Another very well-written post that's still as easily readable as the other articles you've written. Keep up the good job :)

wildwoman1313

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Joined: 11/17/08

Posts: 303

It's pretty neat how much easier and enjoyable playing for an audience becomes when we take the focus off ourselves. Thanks for your comment, A914Man, and best of luck to you in future performances. Hope you get back in your sweet spot soon.

Sometimes you have to trust those voices around you in lieu of the one in your head, Kasperow. It's not always easy, I know. And if you feel you've reached a plateau in your playing, look for ways to shake things up in your practice. Try a new sound or technique. Something to keep your playing fresh and ever-evolving. Thank you so much for all your kind words. You may've just pointed me in the direction of my next topic. ;)

#20

It's pretty neat how much easier and enjoyable playing for an audience becomes when we take the focus off ourselves. Thanks for your comment, A914Man, and best of luck to you in future performances. Hope you get back in your sweet spot soon.

Sometimes you have to trust those voices around you in lieu of the one in your head, Kasperow. It's not always easy, I know. And if you feel you've reached a plateau in your playing, look for ways to shake things up in your practice. Try a new sound or technique. Something to keep your playing fresh and ever-evolving. Thank you so much for all your kind words. You may've just pointed me in the direction of my next topic. ;)