#1
I hate it absolutely hate it. Especially when it doesn't show up until you're already playing a gig.
We had a gig tonight in a new town. Everything was decent until the second repetition of the first riff of the opening song. I just did not feel right, nor comfortable. I was having difficulty picking properly for our music(copious amounts of tremolo picking). The the leg shaking started. I could not find a comfortable standing position to where I could get into the music. This led to botched usage of my wah for leads as I felt I was about to fall down. I want to think I purely sucked tonight. I figured anxiety would have worked itself out after 20+ gigs with this band and over 500 since I started playing in bands. Tonight it hit me hard.

I always play live sober. I was well hydrated, warmed up, and stretched before hand.

Does this happen to anyone ever?
#2
Two things, the most successful actors have been interviewed about stage fright, and they pretty much categorically state that you never "outgrow" it. Particularly in venues such a a Broadway play, where you have no choice but to deal with a a live audience.

They also talk of performers that put an old hat or trashcan at the stage entrance, so they could vomit from the fear before hitting the stage.

OTOH, the almost half-ass fainting shit sounds like it could be low blood sugar. I expect that if you don't have enough carbs on board and already burning when you hit the stage, the stress could trigger an attack.

(Wild guess, don't listen to me, I'm not a doctor, just a humble layman who plays guitar poorly and doesn't have to worry about stage fright. Get at least a half dozen "second opinions", preferably from someone in the medical profession).
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 16, 2013,
#3
You're not alone. I face the exact same problem.

I believe that conquering this problem has a lot to do with changing our mental/spiritual beliefs.

Naturally as humans we tend to forge our own identity off of our past experiences and live in anticipation of the future.

As a result our minds begins to feed off of all the bad gigs and fear the next ones to come.

The only thing that's stopping us is our own minds. If we want to learn how to conquer stage fright then we need to learn how to silence our minds and focus only on the now instead of the past or the future.

Learn from your past mistakes instead of letting your mind dwell on them and create its own identity.

Forget about the future completely for it is intangible to you and will never exist in your own experience.

With that being said, this shouldn't be used as a substitute for practice. If you lack quality practice then no matter how good or bad your mind thinks you are it will not save you from playing sloppy.

Such is the result of the nervous system which is a separate factor altogether.
#4
Anxiety usually doesn't hit me until I'm walking on stage haha.

But like Cranky said, it sounds like low bloodsugar. I'm hypoglycemic (my body uses up sugars too quickly) and when I'm low what you're describing sounds familiar.
#6
Quote by dannydawiz

The only thing that's stopping us is our own minds. If we want to learn how to conquer stage fright then we need to learn how to silence our minds and focus only on the now instead of the past or the future.


What he said. I believe this to be very true, though I think you should always be nervous before a gig. It means you care.
Fear of not giving a good performance is normal; no one wants to fail.

I don't think it ever goes away, it's only gotten worse for me haha!
Everytime I play a gig I just want to not do it at all and then afterwards I feel truly amazing.
And we will weave in and out of sanity unnoticed
Swirling in blissfully restless visions of all our bleary progress
Glowing in radiant madness
#7
You've played over 500 gigs? That in itself is a big accomplishment. I'm unsure if I've hit that number yet, although the last 3 years have averaged 50-60 gigs a year.

With that amount of gigs you seriously should have no issue with stagefright. I certainly don't. The only issue I face is playing slightly off time in solos if I'm hungry.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#9
Pretend no one is around. Stand looking at the drummer or close your eyes.
Gear:
Dean RC7X (Bareknuckle Coldsweat pickups)
Ibanez Rg2570Z (Bareknuckle Juggernaughts)
Schecter KM-6
Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid 7 String
Engl Powerball II
Orange PPC412
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#10
To combat stage fright, some people claim you should imagine the audience naked.

I think you should just imagine the prettiest cocktail waitress naked, and bending over to tie her shoes.

OTOH, that might lead to you finishing the song before everyone else....
#11
I get stagefright sometimes, other times i just get excited to play, it depends on how frequently i gig at the time.

I usually get over it about halfway through the first song, although if it looks like the audience isn't interested, that knocks my confidence. I don't get stage fright so much when i play bass, i'm not sure why. Probably because it's not such a leading role.
WHOMP

Think of that next time you are not allowed to laugh.
#12
OK I am going to answer these in reply order. Thanks all for thoughts on the matter. It gave me some insight and while thinking back I think I know what happened.

@CaptainCranky - I don't necessarily want to say what I had was stage fright. This was more physical than mental. The mental portion came in response to my body's actions, or rather, lack of action. I think you hit it on the head with the low blood sugar. IIRC, I only had breakfast Saturday. So I had depleted any fuel stores. I just didn't think about it. Lesson learned, this won't happen again.

@Danny - Like I mentioned to Cranky, The mental portion came on as my body was starting to act funny. I agree with most of what you said about the mental aspect of performance anxiety.

@CCannon - Looking like low blood sugar.

@Jameswild - Oh trust me, I am in South Texas, I drink on average a gallon and a half daily. More then that while on stage, I had heat stroke about 20 years ago, so my body loses water faster than I can replenish. On stage I'll drink 2.5liter water in a 30 min set.

@TDKshorty - I still get a little nervous before I go on stage, everyone should to a certain degree, but except for kids with under 10 gigs under their belt, this should go away within the first song. Once you figure out everything is working, you're aren't suddenly naked, or the rest of the band gives you the eye where everybody is doing ok. Time to have fun.

@Alan - I'm 43, I have been doing this since I was 14. I consider a gig, everytime you play for an audience not in the jamroom or a bedroom. Gigs include parties, playing clubs, festivals, weddings, coffee houses, etc., paying or not. The only venues I have not cracked yet are arena level shows, or anywhere outside of the US. As I said above, I still get a little nervous. I still sometimes play leads off time, the key is can you catch yourself to make it seem like you meant to be off time? Your band might know and give you a little stick eye after the gig, but trust me man, the audience probably won't know.

@Stuart - Maybe this show I did. I had not properly filled the tank and ran the engine until it was sputtering.

@Amonamartmetal - I'm the only guitarist in the band right now. No where to hide... Playing with a second guitar will allow you to hide deficiencies if you need as you have another instrument to lean on. Turning your back to the crowd is a big no no. I'de rather it be known I had a bad night, than ignore the people that came to see a show.

@Cranky&Don - Like I mentioned it really wasn't stage fright, but a psychological freakout once my body started goofing up. It was a new venue in a town we hadn't played before. The normal crowd reaction is they want to check you out if they aren't familiar with your material. Typical metalhead stand offishness. Overall we did get a positive reaction despite my end. Which all in all, I was lucky none of the bands present, or audience had ever seen us before.
#13
It's a mind-set for me. If you've practiced enough and are comfortable with the music, there's not reason to be anxious, right?

I just tell myself that it's like another practice with the group and convince myself of that. I've practiced a lot of mental jumping jacks with stuff like that for 4 or 5 years now and I'm getting the hang of it now.

If all else fails, I just turn to the other people in the group and focus on them. Really focus on the music itself. I guess it makes it easier being a jazz bass player, not having to interact with the crowd as much or worry about putting on as much of a show as I did when in metal bands, but meh.
Quote by Banjocal
sht up u flthy librl foogit stfu u soo mad n butthurdt ur ass is an analpocolypse cuz ur so gay "my ass hrts so mcuh" - u. your rectally vexed n anlly angushed lolo go bck 2 asslnd lolol
#14
the low blood sugar call was great.... I used to get this when I would pitch in front of bigger crowds etc at tourneys or paid games. I loved playing those games, the adrenline is awesome. However I had to work through some problems. One was fuel. I would be so excited or amped I couldnt eat. Then my poor fueling would leave me with low blood sugar.

Snack on nuts or seeds ahead of the gig. Peanuts , sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds... all have a lot of protien that will balance your blood sugar. They are also salty so you will retain water and drink.
he of tranquil mind
#15
Quote by fishmike
the low blood sugar call was great.... I used to get this when I would pitch in front of bigger crowds etc at tourneys or paid games. I loved playing those games, the adrenline is awesome. However I had to work through some problems. One was fuel. I would be so excited or amped I couldnt eat. Then my poor fueling would leave me with low blood sugar.

Snack on nuts or seeds ahead of the gig. Peanuts , sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds... all have a lot of protien that will balance your blood sugar. They are also salty so you will retain water and drink.


I spoke to a friend of mine who plays death metal professionally. He said our style of music in performance is much like playing sports. He suggested carbing up the night before and making sure to eat regularly the day of it at all possible. He also suggested to eat some fruit before the show like a banana or orange to help with blood sugar levels.
#16
My experience is that if you get off to a bad start, it almost kind of dooms the rest of the process, because you just keep worrying about the anxiety itself, which in turn, compounds the anxiety.

I have a TREMENDOUS fear of speaking in public, not so much playing guitar or singing. I still get nervous when I'm about to do that, but it's nothing that effects my physical appearance. It's just mental.

Don't worry though, you're not dealing with anything unusual. My advice; know that the worst that can happen to you, is that you can vomit onstage in front of everyone. Try and get comfortable with that possibility. Once you, it'll probably help you to start relaxing a little.
Paul Reed Smith CE-24 2005 and Santana SE with Seymour Duncan pickups.
Line 6 Amplifiers
Boss Effects and Steve Vai's Wah Pedal
Dunlop Picks and Elixir Strings .48


WEBSITE
https://www.guitarchalk.com
#17
Quote by Bjorn218
I hate it absolutely hate it. Especially when it doesn't show up until you're already playing a gig.
We had a gig tonight in a new town. Everything was decent until the second repetition of the first riff of the opening song. I just did not feel right, nor comfortable. I was having difficulty picking properly for our music(copious amounts of tremolo picking). The the leg shaking started. I could not find a comfortable standing position to where I could get into the music. This led to botched usage of my wah for leads as I felt I was about to fall down. I want to think I purely sucked tonight. I figured anxiety would have worked itself out after 20+ gigs with this band and over 500 since I started playing in bands. Tonight it hit me hard.

I always play live sober. I was well hydrated, warmed up, and stretched before hand.

Does this happen to anyone ever?

Performance Anxiety is such as shame, i know so many awesome players, a lot of them i met at university when studying music performance, that as soon as they hit the stage they just fall to bits.

I've been studying certain psychology studies for the last few years, and the good thing is that by using the right mental techniques, it is very possible to get rid of anxiety and stage fright.

A few things to try to start with:

Anxiety typically comes on from imagining things turning out bad, or turning out how you don't want them to. For your next performance, try spending a good portion of time before the gig imagining it going really really well. Imagine 15 minutes after you've playing the best performance you've ever played. People are congratulating you, you feel ecstatic, your body may be tingly from all the adrenaline, now keep hold of that experience.

As you perform, keep that successful outcome in mind, really believe that it is going to happen. As long as you keep that successful outcome in mind, really believing it will happen, you will be surprised to find that those old feelings of anxiety and fear won't be there anymore.

In a coaching session, i'd typically want to help the performer let go of the fear around performance before that, but some performers don't even need that. Imagining things turning out the way you want for a change can be all you need to do. Just make sure none of those 'What if...?" questions pop into your head. Focus on what you want, and the rest will come.

Let me know how you get on :-)

Ben
Be the best
Want to be a part of a research study on performance anxiety? Get in touch!