All eyes on me...the open mic

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Flat6Driver, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    Last night I played an open mic at a coffee shop. It not as much as an open mic but a hand picked list of people. A lot of singer/songwriters and then a few cover players (like me!). The audience watches and listens, it's quiet.

    So after a nice cup of coffee I get up to do my two songs. A fellow I knew chatted with me in the "Green room" so I didn't have time to dwell on my nerves.

    Host introduces me, I check the levels, tell a joke and launch right into my first tune. Get to the first turn around and THEN the wave of nerves hits me. Shaky knees and stuff.

    I heard Johnny Cash would say "hello, I'm Johnny Cash..." And then launch in while everyone was whooping about the intro. Well I'm no Johnny Cash...I wonder at what point the adrenaline wore off for him?

    Did I mention the coffee shop simulcasts this with video over the internet? It actually went quite well, just felt like sharing.
     
  2. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    The best way to settle the butterflies is to keep doing it. They mostly go away and you get better at managing whatever still lingers.
     
  3. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm more worried if I'm not nervous. Somehow I manage to channel my nerves into my performance and I become more focussed. Don't ask me how ...
     
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  4. 8trackmind

    8trackmind Tele-Meister

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    If there is one cool thing about getting older, it's the ability to disregard what other people think. It's opened a lot of doors for me that were beyond my scope when I was young. Keep at it, it gets easier as you progress.
     
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  5. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    Oh yeah, I do this a fair bit but man, I find the Adrenalin gets me up and started but nerves hit like a wall half a verse in. Happens quite often this way. Wild.
     
  6. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    It only goes away when you get used to doing it. So just keep doing it!
     
  7. 8trackmind

    8trackmind Tele-Meister

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    I'm lucky, I used to be that way in my 30s, 20 years later, it just doesn't get to me anymore. I'm way more confident now, but I was an absolute wreck until I was at least an hour into a four hour set.
     
  8. stxrus

    stxrus Friend of Leo's

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    Congrats on getting up and doing it. The best way to keep on is to keep on keepin’ on
     
  9. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Meister

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    Excellent!

    A first I take it? But really two firsts...!?! Live performance and live broadcast?
     
  10. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Holic

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    The more you do it, the better you feel about doing it.

    Just a dude and an acoustic is more nerve wracking than band situations for me, and hats off to anyone able to gig like that and not just crank out thier "rendition " of covers, that're basically just an excuse to not learn words.

    In band settings, I started gigging in front if bar groups n such as the guitar player(16/17?), and the drummer watched ME for tempo and the singer watched ME for cues. It was a 3 piece band.....

    By the time I was 22ish, i got a nice dose of perspective, looking back at the fact that my most recent band had played Colt 45 by Afro Man. I was the lead singer (god help us all...) and lead guitarist in a 5 piece. We KILLED with that song. In attendance were my mother, the girl I'd just started dating (now my wife) and 2 ex girlfriends (that I noticed). If you aren't familiar with that song, I'm not sure you'll understand the irony of singing this insane story to the aforementioned people.

    I figure everyone who gigs is an ironically juxtapositioned murder ballad away from being able to shrug off all jitters......

    Just keep going.
     
  11. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    Nah, but I haven't been on this stage since last summer. As a warm up, I played these same songs at a couple other open mics during the month, at noisier joints. First time for the broadcast though.

    While the nerves were still there, it was a familiar crowd and a lot of people I knew. That makes it like playing with friends. By myself, up front. Or something.
     
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  12. P-Nutz

    P-Nutz Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Never been alone on stage ... ‘ceptin’ for two Catholic school talent shows around seven or eight ...

    ... not sure I could ... good on you!
     
  13. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Having been in my first and only band for 11 years now I’ve often thought that a solo debut for anyone is a trial by fire.

    In a band you’re all in it together/people to hide behind (musically and/or physically) / part of a team.


    But over the years we’ve done smaller sections of the band at various gigs including a couple with just me and another guy.

    Then , to open our full band sets or when my duo partner was taking a break, I’d do a solo slide thing and not be nervous a bit.

    I have to admit that having played with a decreasing number of people onstage really helped.
     
  14. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

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    That’s interesting F6D. I am sort of the opposite. The nerves are strongest with me for first 30 seconds or so, and then (if I prepare enough to not blow that) I can roll through the rest with a preacher’s ease. So...what I do is rehearse/memorize/visualize/etc that first minute until I have it down pat. Of course I have the rest of the performance/speech/presentation prepared as well, but just not as rigidly I guess. Maybe you could try a similar approach, but concentrate on that part after you’re introduced and underway...well, you know which part to address.

    But yeah, solo performing, especially in that environment where everyone is actually paying direct attention to you can present a different sort of...I don’t want to say stage fright, because that’s not what it sounds like you (and I) are experiencing in these situations. It’s like something past that but still anxiety or something...I can’t put it into words I guess!
     
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  15. verb boten

    verb boten Tele-Holic

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    Yeah, much easier in a group of 4 than solo (never did it myself) but a first with a group ain't easy. Especially with a seated, non responsive audience, except polite applause...it was rough.
    I've thought of open mic but don't think i could do it.
    My hat's off to you Flat6.
     
  16. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Doing any high pressure thing in front of an audience helps you learn to cope. For my job I used to speak in high pressure, high stakes public hearings such as before US Congress. I would definitely get butterflies. Learning to manage the butterflies in that world helped me in my music world.
     
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  17. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Meister

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    My first performing experience was when I was rather young, as part of a junior philharmonic orchestra....and I remember the nerves even after all these years.

    Since then I've done venues big and small, sat alone in recording studios with a dozen people staring at me from a control room, all without a hiccup, and...

    the worst, absolute worst, was a live radio broadcast where I was called upon to play the head of a piece I had performed fifty times.

    When the engineer pointed at me and that little red light came on, I discovered what "red light fever" really was. Everything I knew disappeared and I completely choked.

    The only saving grace was that I heeded advice offered years earlier, from a seasoned player whom I respect deeply:

    "Don't stop, don't apologize."

    I played through it, in tempo and the other members of the trio picked up where they were supposed to and...

    I never played live radio again. Ever.
     
  18. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I didn't play out--not so much as a open mic event or blues jam--until our kids were grown and gone, in the year 2000. My first gig was at a coffee shop, it was just me, just voice and guitar. I barely remember it now, but I got more nervous then. The idea of performing 60+ songs at a gig seemed a daunting task indeed.

    Actually, it still does. I still can feel a bit of stress if I think of the whole gig when I'm just getting started. But I've done it enough now that when that thought crosses my mind, I know that I can do it, and that I will come to a point in the performance where I'm actually cognizant of how much I've already done, and the rest of the performance no longer seems daunting.

    I've worked in duo, trio and group settings on occasion, but for most of the last 19 years I've just done those solo gigs. Again, just me, just voice and guitar. No playing along to tracks, no looping (I'm not talented enough to sing, play guitar and tap dance all at the same time). Unlike others who have expressed trepidation at such a prospect of performance, that's what I'm most comfortable doing now.
     
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  19. kbold

    kbold Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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  20. navigate40

    navigate40 TDPRI Member

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    I started doing open mics less than a year ago. I have only been playing for about 4 years, after a couple decade hiatus. Really enjoy it, but was quite anxious at first. And at first, I really did not understand my voice register.

    Now, I can do a better job and am more polished, but still get excited/anxious when I am up there. I have to work on is staying in tempo and not speeding up and rushing through a song, when I get excited/anxious. Not sure how to do that....going to try to just slow down, did pick up a drum pedal to practice tempo with.

    It is FUN, though. And....caused the purchase of a couple more guitars :) :) :)
     
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