Everytime i play infront of people i tend to get a bit more sloppy and make more mistakes etc. Is there any way to train this, i know its all down to nerves but its hard to improve, i have played for people often and the max crowds ive played for is around 30 or so.
It's just practice. Playing in front of people is nerve racking and takes getting used to. You'll be fine when you do it a few more times It feels normal eventually.
30 is a small group... it's actually harder to play in front of a small audience. You're usually hyper aware that they're there, when there are fewer of them.

This is pretty normal, experience is the solution. That's both experience performing, and experience performing the music you're actually playing on a given night. I use to have a teacher who said you don't really know a piece until you've performed it (same guy said if you're doing 80% the first time, you're doing pretty good).

You learn after a while what to expect out of yourself when you're on stage, and how to manage it. The adrenaline rush you get goes away after a few minutes, and you should settle in... but there are a few things you can do to help. The most important thing is practice like you're performing. Don't just work on the music -- though, be sure you're absolutely rock solid on that -- practice for the performance itself. Know how you're going to act, and what you're going to do. Start treating every practice session as a performance for an invisible audience (including introducing your music, if you are, bowing, whatever else). That goes a long way towards enhancing your self-confidence once you get up in front of real people, because you know exactly what you're already going to be doing.
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I have the same problem. If you treat playing in front of people like it's a jam session with your band it works out a lot better. I have horrible stage fright but if i relax and rock out like a normal jam just with some people in front of me i do a lot better (i'm still nervous but not nearly as bad).

^thanks Cor for that post. I'm gonna do that. That makes a LOT of sense. At a show you have to have a lot of energy and keep the crowd excited and still be able to play correctly. If when you practice you just practice the song to perfect it but don't practice the "putting on a show part" you'll be screwed when you go on stage.

Next band practice i'm makin everyone do it. (even though we have limited room in our drummers basement.
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Last edited by metal4all at Apr 26, 2008,
Yeah, I used to get a little nervous playing in front of people. I would play as if my hands were freezing. Though after jamming for so long with my friends, you kinda get used to it.
You have to practice performing the song, not just playing it. At band practice, if someone screws up, you all probably stop and start over from a convenient point. However, at a gig, you have to play through, so play through the song all the way; even if someone screws up, keep going and hope they recover.

Another thing is that most practice is done while sitting while you probably stand at a gig. Make sure you practice your music standing up.
i just go up there and play. you can't worry about what they think too much.
however, you do have to be super comfortable with your playing to the point you don't have to worry about screwing up.
also, i agree with what someone said above me about how it's harder to play in front of smaller crowds. i also find it harder to play in front of people i know and people i can see (i.e. it's easier to play in the dark so you can't see people's reactions hehe)