Ive been playing guitar for 7 years and i have never been able to get over stage fright infront of family and friends.

i can play quite well, own decent gigging equipment, talkboxs, pedals you name it but unfortunately none of my guitars or equipment have seen a stage cause i dont got the balls to join a band and play live..
i think mainly the reason is i have mates that would love to see me on stage and just hang shit the whole time (you could say im a musical outcast with my mates) for some reason in my recent years of playing i feel like i would die if my family & mates walked into the pub and seen me playing especially my gf..

my mates and that they see me play in my room you know along to a stereo but never on a stage.. to be honest i could be fine with complete randoms in the crowd but i have a fear people i know will walk in and laugh if i tryed to loosen up and move about. I know this is stupid, i should feel comfortable infront of the people i know but for some reason i dont.. they are harder to impress id have to be busting some 15 minute jimi hendrix solo for em to clap along..

in my early years of playing i use to always flunk out of highschool performances, i would rehearse get right up to the night and not show up i would just sit in my room and play by myself thanking god that everyone from school didnt see me up there especially on the night my girlfriends parents rocked up to watch there daughter get an award and watch some school performances.
i flunked out on 3 performances and felt like a piece of c%%p, still do my music teacher had to fill in all the times he eventually got fed up with me, couldnt blame him really. the music teacher said i always had talent and i only seem to get better, he also rated me the best guitarist when i was in year 9 out of the whole school but he also said it wont go far if i keep not showing up to shows.

any tips guys? sorry about the massive thread.
Last edited by stagefright101 at Jan 21, 2013,
Have you ever tried to play in front of them, and (if you did) how did it go?

Apart from the embarrassment (that you mentioned above) can you be specific about what causes you to feel scared about playing in front of your family & friends?
Quote by Hail
oh shut up with that /mu/ bullshit. fidget house shouldn't even be a genre, why in the world would it deserve its own subgenres you twat
I can play infront of like my immediate family, mum and dad etc but stuff like aunty's, uncles, cousins (keep in mind i have a huge family) friends and the gf make me feel uncomfortable..

my gf wouldnt like give me hell, but shed have a giggle seeing me on stage she has seen me play the most out of anybody but she doesnt take notice when i play she sort of phases out and blocks it lol. my mates on the other hands is the big one.. ive played many many many times infront of my mates but like i said only in my room to a stereo, ive stumped them only a handful of times over my 7 years of playing other then that they see it as cheese n crackers.

when i put concert dvds on an good solos come on that are quite touching to me all they can do is just laugh there heads off at how funny the guitarists face looks or the way hes dancing to the music. I know for a fact theyd have a good laugh if they seen me in the pub haha. on my 18th bday my mum had photos blown up of me she took them secretly while i was playing in my own room in my comfort zone i had my eyes shut and i was bending a note with my body and the guitar on a slight angle, my mates lost it lol.

i would just feel crushed if i didnt impress people close to me on stage, i dont got the best flow of moving and bopping around and im a bit of a stiff one on stage (shocking year 9 performance at school gave me that clarification, i actually did do one gig in year 9 we played smelled like teen spirit by nirvana) i guess i have the impression well if i cant amaze my friends i cant amaze a crowd
Last edited by stagefright101 at Jan 21, 2013,
Ah yes, nervous energy.

To be honest, I haven't been nervous in years, BUT i USE to be.

I had such horrible stage fright that I would get sick before I played, after I played, get headaches, etc.

Good times.

Anyway, I recently put together a workshop for how to deal with it, for the guitar shop I teach at.

I have attached the PDF, of my notes, based on my own thoughts about it, AND some great source material.

It's not what I wound up presenting exactly, but what I cobbled together and from THIS, I came up with the workshop.

Sadly, I can't find that final version.

Oh well, hopefully it helps, or gets you thinking about how to reduce or channel nervous energy.


Last edited by Scott Jones at Jan 21, 2013,
glad to hear it aint only me...

i wouldnt throw up i reckon id probly just get that nervous and light headed id need to sit down hahaha

thanks for the pdf i will print it off and read it.

has anyone had a similar issue to me?
OK, well a few things strike me from what you said.

First off: What amazes your friends may not amaze a crowd and vice versa. My friends are amused by some of the farts I do. Not entirely sure a crowd would go wild listening to me jump fart though. Conversely my mates aren't that keen on Mastodon but I've seen them (Mastodon) whip up a crowd fairly well.

Second thing is: Don't let your mates put you off doing what you want to do. You have to be your own man and ignore them taking the piss. If you perform enough there'll come a time when they won't be able to take the piss because they'll either realise you're not listening to them, or that you can now do something they can't. But you'll never do that if you don't start, and the more you put it off and vacillate the worse it will get.

Third thing. You don't have to amaze a crowd, well not to begin with. All you have to do is stand in front of them, play your set then go do something else. If you're just starting out the kinds of venues you play aren't looking to book The Rolling Stones, they just want someone who will bring people into the bar/pub/club/whatever and get them to buy a few pints. If it's an open mic night they might not really care about that too much.

Fourth thing. If you're feeling nervous the best thing to try and do is relax. It's easier said than done, but it's just as skill like any other skill and the more you practice it the easier it will get. Take deep, slow breaths. Focus on the practical aspects of what you're about to do - run through the set-list in your head, tune your guitar, go for a shit, whatever - just do something to take your mind off the performance. If you were out rock-climbing and you got scared because you were looking down then the best thing you can do is to stop looking down and concentrate on the bit of rock you're climbing right now. Same with performing.

Last thing. There's a general rule in life that if you tell yourself something is absolutely impossible then you will find it impossible. If you don't find it impossible you'll find yourself putting obstacles in your own way because you've told yourself it's impossible, so why would it be achievable? OTOH if you tell yourself that something is achievable then you're more likely to find you can achieve it. Sure you'll fail at some things but you'll stand a much better chance of finding what you can do by trying than by saying you can't and never getting anywhere. So rather than tell yourself that you'll 'die with embarrassment' why not try telling yourself "Well I might be a bit embarrassed but I'm sure I'll get over it", or even "I'm not sure if I'll feel embarrassed or not. Why don't I give it a go and find out"? Even if you find out you get a bit embarrassed there are far worse things in life than feeling a bit embarrassed. For example: The day I told the girl who ended up being my wife how I felt about her I was blushing so hard I virtually lit up the sky. But what if I'd never told her? Stop setting up road-blocks in your mind about what you can and can't do and start doing the things you want to (unless that involves murder because that's kinda illegal). I'm quite sure that you can do literally anything in life if you're prepared to focus on that thing and work hard towards it.

But you'll never do any of that cool stuff that's out there unless you take the first step.
Quote by Hail
oh shut up with that /mu/ bullshit. fidget house shouldn't even be a genre, why in the world would it deserve its own subgenres you twat
+1 to the the advice in the above posts

...and the photo at the 18th thing... thanks mum...!! Gah.

I promise you one thing.... if your mates saw you onstage...they'd wish it was them.... and if your girlfriend saw you up there...she'd be proud...

As far as overcoming nerves goes... I've been the same in the past.... some of the things that helped me a little was...

- super familiarity with the material to be played live. Like...super super super familiarity.... to the point of boredom
- slowly growing the number of people you play to. That is...if you are cool with playing to your mum and dad.... then add one friendly uncle or something.... then another time.... mum, dad, uncle, and the kid next door... etc etc...

In fact... I'd decrease the number of people to play to by one! Mum needs to be temporarily banished for her indescretion!! lol

And you know what? If you just stay in your room and play...and you love it...and it makes you feel happy.... then just stay there doing that and the world can get ****ed
Quote by AlanHB
It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.
I used to have the same problem, still play worse as soon as I press record with only me in a room. I recorded some stuff and put it on forums, getting some positive feedback really helped a lot of my self-criticism go away. Showing off recordings on SoundCloud etc. lets you control the environment and once that starts to feel more comfortable I think the step towards playing live in front of actual people will be smaller.
thanks guys, this advice means alot to me. i love playing in my room to my stereo, i feel comfortable, i play good all the time, im alone.

but having said that, im itching to show the world what i can do and see how my guitar playing and solos effect people the way good solos hit me.

i think that is a great idea, posting videos i never thought of that id be more then comfortable doing videos and posting them, you cant move around anyway unless someone is filming you haha.

When "new" people see me play they always ask am i a band? obviously i always say no, they always say what are you doing dude. they shit a brick when i say im self taught as well.

all this guitar talk has made me wanna play..
Okay, well, first thing first.

The simple reality is that, on some level, you just have to decide that you'd rather perform than chicken out. This doesn't sound like helpful advice, but when you do get over this hurdle - and you will - you'll realize that at some point it was just about deciding that you wanted to play more than you wanted to not play. You want to be the guy who gets over his fear more than you want to be the guy who bails. It's a decision that is in your power to make. You know what NOT playing in public feels like ... why not try something else?

The second thing is that you have to recognize that feelings aren't you. That panic isn't you. It's just a feeling. A lot of people in your position say things to themselves like "I am scared" - identifying with the problem. "I am freaking out." "I'm panicking." These are not useful thoughts. Even just changing it to "I feel scared" is different - you are recognizing the feeling as something separate from you. Hey, look, I see fear over there. I don't identify with it. It just is a thing.

Eckhart Tolle's book, "The Power of Now," and a meditation practice can really help you with this concept, which is very powerful.

Playing in public is a different skill than playing by yourself, and you'll only going to develop it by doing it. NOBODY is a guitar god the first time they step on stage. It doesn't happen. And sometimes you bomb.

It happens. You do it. You get over it. You go out there again. You ever see someone who bombs a show? Most of the time, they're laughing about it 20 minutes later.

The other thing you have to realize is that, in music (like in life) you get a lot of credit for showing up. You're not going to be a guitar god the first time you step on stage, but you know what? You'll be on stage. And that's better than 99% of the people in the room, who couldn't be bothered to learn a skill worth taking on stage to begin with. Life is a game where you can't win if you don't play.
This ^.

All of it.

Especially these bits ...

Quote by HotspurJr
You want to be the guy who gets over his fear more than you want to be the guy who bails. It's a decision that is in your power to make.

Quote by HotspurJr
You have to recognize that feelings aren't you ... "I am freaking out." "I'm panicking." These are not useful thoughts.

Quote by HotspurJr
Playing in public is ... a skill ... and you'll only going to develop it by doing it.

Quote by HotspurJr
Life is a game where you can't win if you don't play.
Quote by Hail
oh shut up with that /mu/ bullshit. fidget house shouldn't even be a genre, why in the world would it deserve its own subgenres you twat