#1
When I'm performing in front of a group of 4-5 people, I get a bit jittery on the first song (in the first 3-4 minutes). It's really irritating because my hands shake a lot. They are not uncontrollable... I CAN play the song. The only issue is I find that if it would happen when I'm doing an arpeggio section, it'd **** me up because I need razor sharp clarity for sweeps.

For example, when I played a song on the acoustic guitar that's mainly picked, it worked out pretty good even with jittery hands (I practice a crap ton and know the songs in my sleep), but on weird stretches, I find occasionally I'll slightly mute a note so it won't sound perfect. A **** up that's minor, but a **** up nonetheless.
Good thing is I'm passed the days where I care if I make a mess up. I found me caring that I messed up caused me so much anxiety that it cripped my playing. Now I just go "ah well, nothing I can do". Do not get me wrong here... if I started making more mistakes I'd be worried because I'm trying to deliver a good performance, but thus far I'm not too concerned because everyone makes the rare mistake when playing live-- especially with the jitters.


So, how do I work on removing these? Obviously experience, but I want to be able to join a band and not have major jitters live. Alcohol or drugs are out of the question.

I don't know if I should just bring my guitar with me to college and screw around in class or on a break between classes so I become more confident in front of people (even without people technically watching)?
What methods are there for one to remove jitters? Do you always get them when playing live no matter what?
Most importantly:
What are ways for myself and others who (may) have the jitters live to fix them without diving head first into a "first band gig live" experience?
#2
It is a case of being comfortable around other people.

It's purely a case of what mindset you're in. Usually doing it a load will make it go away, so play in front of people whenever you can.

A quick solution while you're working it away, is just to play a song which requires less attention to detail for a first song you play.
#3
hmm drink a beer or something .... and play in front of people more!
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#4
I think you gotta know that firstly - people dont care as much as you think.
I know it sounds arsey, but really if you make a mistake most people dont even pick it up they only care about the overall performance.

I recently saw an upcoming band in my area, the second guitarist mingled into the crowd and his lead got stuck and pulled out the amp. They were a indie-hardcore band and he yelled oh **** theatrically and just skanked back on stage to his band's music, plugged in and everyone thought it was f***in great.

Point is, performaning massively outweighs mistakes. But if you're jittery from the mistakes you'll not be thinking about performing so you'll look even worse.

A tip i learned, get on stage find a mic - yell into it randomly before your performance and that clears the jitters.
And whilst playing just before a big solo, dont think "is my guitar in tune, is my amp loud enough, will the band remember that time sig change half way through" etc. Instead think "this is going to kick some ****in ass" and repeat it couple times then slam into your lead piece and you'll be so high off it. And if your guitar does go out of tune, or you get tangled in your lead, or you fall off stage or something, you'll be too busy rocking the shit out of everyone to care.

But if your jittery playing around 4-5 people, just treat it like a **** about. I doubt one of the 5 is a major label A&R rep, so just go for it.

A lesson i learned really recently, - NEVER stop in a song. My guitar was whack out of tune for a bridge so i moved the bridge part to the lower strings (same key) and then stopped once i couldnt keep transposing it on the fly. What i should have done is keep playing it in the original place even though its out of tune, but perform it. My ear is pitch perfect (or relative pitch perfect, whatever you prefer) so i was thinking it was horribly out of tune, apparently it wasnt even noticeable.
Always waiting for that bit of inspiration.
#5
Alchohol and drugs. There you go, all set.
~
"I'm a musician, what did you expect?"

~
#7
Quote by Ace-014
Alchohol and drugs. There you go, all set.


+1 Banana for you.
#8
Play in front of more people more often. Your first real gig isn't gonna be perfect no matter how much or how little you have the jitters. Just play through it and you'll become less nervous over time
I hate my sig
#9
Masturbate.

Also,
dont care what people think. Everyone already looks at me and says "That guys a ****ing retard and a loser". So I just play without caring what people think of my music or my playing style.

But yes, sorry the only thing that will make this problem go away is playing in fron of people more.
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#10
Start your set with a simpler song so that you can get into the groove of things without worrying too much about messing something up, you'll feel a lot better for it.

But the best advice is just play in front of people more and more. The more gigs you do, the more confident you will be when performing and the less you will worry about it. I started out being pretty nervous on stage, especially my first few gigs. I was like a statue bobbing about a bit. Now I'm a lot more energetic but at the same time more composed and confident with what I'm playing.

If not, picture everyone in their underwear?
Dakota Ruins
Metalcore/Hardcore from Worcestershire, United Kingdom
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#11
Personally, i find that playing when people are around helps. I know not all music stores are like this, but i go into my local instrument store and just play something, for example, i'm learning to play piano and drums at the moment, so i'll go and fiddle with the piano. People are there so you're concious of what you're playing, but they're not paying attention, so its no pressure. It gets you used to people being around when you play stuff.

I also find that mulling around on the stage for a while and getting the feel for it before the venue opens helps.

thats how i got used to it.
#12
Try meditating (I'm serious). Even just taking 3 deep breaths can really do a lot of calm you down. It works for me at least, it might be different for you, but it's worth a try right?

If you want to get into the whole meditation thing try getting into the lotus position, close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and clear your mind.
#13
I did this on my first ever gig this weekend. Basically just go to a bathroom or something and just relax your mind.

Minimal thinking just try to clear your head that you will **** up

Worked for me. Maybe will work for you. Didn't have the jitters since.
#14
I have to agree with Ace. Drink a beer or two..... or three or four. Or five
Last edited by Johan_Lahs at Jun 26, 2011,
#18
Quote by W4T3V3R
And whilst playing just before a big solo, dont think "is my guitar in tune, is my amp loud enough, will the band remember that time sig change half way through" etc. Instead think "this is going to kick some ****in ass" and repeat it couple times then slam into your lead piece and you'll be so high off it. And if your guitar does go out of tune, or you get tangled in your lead, or you fall off stage or something, you'll be too busy rocking the shit out of everyone to care.


This
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#19
Quote by W4T3V3R

But if your jittery playing around 4-5 people, just treat it like a **** about. I doubt one of the 5 is a major label A&R rep, so just go for it.


I disagree with this. By all means don't stress, but don't treat any gig lightly, ever. A bad name is not something you can get rid of.
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#20
What I do is just pretend the crowd isn't there. I just focus on my playing and get rid of all thoughts of anybody watching, just pretend you're in your room alone jammin' along and you'll do fine. Eventually after a while of doing this you'll think to yourself: Oh I've played for crowds before, this is no big deal: and then you can immerse yourself into it and really start to feel confident about your playing.