#1
I have been playing in a 5 piece house band once a week (a live karoke type thing, people from the audience come up and sing) for two years, the audience ranges from as little as 40 people to 180 max with the average at about 100 headcount for a night.

The problem is I'm nervous to the point that I'm almost shaking just before we start and it usually lasts only a song or two before my mortification settles down and I'm able to enjoy it. The rest of the guys are pretty good about it and make sure we are set and ready to go well before we have to start so I can have two drinks to give me "courage".

I first started playing back in the late 60s and know my way around a fretboard pretty well so it's not a lack of confidence thats causing the problem, I have on many occasions played plugged in acoustics in small bars unaccompanied or with one other guitarist, it's just when I have to get up on an elevated stage the the terror starts.

The band is hired every year to play at our towns 4th of july festival but I have bowed out both times out of fear, so the guys have to use a replacement for me, they give me some good natured teasing about but I still feel somewhat bad about it.

Is there anyone else here who experiences the same problem, and were you able to eventually overcome it? I only do this for fun, a few bucks, and all the alcohol I can swill (which is only about 3 drinks otherwise my playings starts to suffer), it just seems that sometimes the fear outweighs the fun.
#2
Face your fears, it's that simple. Be confident and fight through it. You even said, after a few songs, you get better about your nerves, so I doubt you're nearly as bad as a few people I've met.
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#3
yo bro...no ure not the only one ..im 18 and ive played a few gigs in some events.. my first actually had 100 people there and i was shaking so much i actually had lean on a wall to be able to play after a while i found a way around it ...is that u can start the gig or concert or w/e by doing something that makes u feel at home ..u know ...like i start by headbanging realy hard...even if the song is not heavy ..cuz thats what i do at home headbang all the time ...just dont think of it as a massive u know once in a lifetime opportunity ...ull learn to adapt and im sure ull do great
i hope this helped u sir (btw i did it for free burgers)
#4
Quote by Drkyre
yo bro...no ure not the only one ..im 18 and ive played a few gigs in some events.. my first actually had 100 people there and i was shaking so much i actually had lean on a wall to be able to play after a while i found a way around it ...is that u can start the gig or concert or w/e by doing something that makes u feel at home ..u know ...like i start by headbanging realy hard...even if the song is not heavy ..cuz thats what i do at home headbang all the time ...just dont think of it as a massive u know once in a lifetime opportunity ...ull learn to adapt and im sure ull do great
i hope this helped u sir (btw i did it for free burgers)


In addition to this, the old public speaking trick of looking at the back wall/clock/sky/whatever and ignoring the fact that there are people in front of you is pretty handy.
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Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


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You win. I'm done here.
#5
I remember the first time I preformed in a musical when I was in high school. I'd done acting before, but I'd never really sang in front of a bunch of people (minus a few times I'd tried and failed to play and sing guitar in a jam circle my parents frequented). I remember the opening night and just before starting to sing in the first song I looked out into the audience. I was terrified, but a little voice in the back of my head said "Just pretend the seats are empty... it's just another dress rehearsal," and I just did it. I usually go back to that whenever I've feeling nervous, and just give myself the mental mindset that it's just another practice. Even Jim Morrison had stage fright at first, so it's nothing that you can't overcome.
#6
Everybody goes through it, I bet. It may never fully go away, but you are dealing with it. Mastering your fear isn't getting rid of it completely, it's being able to preform with it.
#7
Thanks guys for your words of encouragement. I think if I would have started doing this as a young man then there most likely wouldn't be an issue. The flip side of this is that without fail, by the middle of the first set I'm having the time of my life, it's almost a type of high, and I hope that feeling is always there.

I guess I"ll just keep plugging away and hope that the nevousness eventually decreases but as most of you mentioned it's something that probaly will never completely disappear.

Now if only those swarms of nubile groupies that I hear so much about would show up...so far Ive had overt come ons from a woman that was probaly 50 years past her prime, a woman that looked like she could have been a female heaveyweight division wrestler and some girl who was so drunk she mistook me for her boyfriend.
Last edited by BlackbirdPie at Sep 18, 2011,
#8
I forgot to mention, true story - Also had a come on from a guy that did a fantastic Freddie Mercury impression on a song, nothing against Freddie, just not my thing lol.
#9
Quote by BlackbirdPie
I forgot to mention, true story - Also had a come on from a guy that did a fantastic Freddie Mercury impression on a song, nothing against Freddie, just not my thing lol.


Should've hit it anyway. What stays in Vegas and all that.
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Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


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You win. I'm done here.
#10
Quote by Hail
Should've hit it anyway. What stays in Vegas and all that.



LMAO! Thank god I don't play in Vegas!
#12
Just keep it in your head, that you are the performer. Everybody is there to have a good time, even yourself. You even said yourself that you know your way around the fretboard. Just have fun with everything, speak to the crowd just a little bit. Maybe get a laugh out of them, but not to where your band will look stupid or not be tooken seriously. Get comfortable with the crowd. Make sure to feel the music, and nothing but the music. If you feel the music, you won't feel the stagefright. Good luck to you!
Originally Posted by [Yamdiddle]

plugging my own wang into an amp and touching myself in front of millions of people, live!
#13
Wow stagefright after 2 years or regular gigging? That's insane.

Usually the causes of stagefright are (1) inexperience infront of a crowd or (2) underpreparation. I don't think these are issues here as you've been playing with the band for two years.

The only thing I can think of is that you've trained yourself to become nervous before a gig, and you can't snap out of it. I imagine that you're not quite as nervous as when you began, but it's still there.

My personal advice would be to try doing something different immediately before the gig. Sometimes even setting up your gear with a 30 mins rest period before playing can significantly change how you feel when you get up on stage. If you don't eat before a gig, I'd eat. If you ALWAYS drink alcohol before, try not drinking at all (or vica versa). If you usually spend pre-gig time sitting inside the pub, try sitting outside (weather permitting).

If it ever becomes too much of an issue, I'd actually recommend seeing a psychologist to fix it. As others have also said, next 4th of July play! It'll be fun (after the first or second songs for you).
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#14
I usually get rather nervous before gig, but I just have a few pints and that settles my nerves and I enjoy the gig.
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Sums up whisky perfectly
#15
I know it sounds bad but try to have a cocky showboating attitude when your on stage. Try and get into the mindframe that you are there to put on a great performance and you are a better musician than anyone in that audience and that they came to see you and you are gonna own the shit out of your instrument. Act confiedent and you'll be confident.

When your off stage you can be as humble as you like but when your on satge you need to get into the mindframe that you are awesome. If you make a couple of mistakes laugh them off.
#16
I've been doing a lot of performing over the last few years of playing, and I still get weak knees right before I play, every single time. You've just got to power through it and act like you're just having a jam with your friends though.
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