First time playing in front of people

Telekarster

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You'll be fine. Just try to keep it light and have fun! My first time, I thought I was going to die. A buddy of mine's Dad was the Union boss for a major auto MFG, and for the company picnic, he wanted our band to play. None of us had ever been in front of an audience before, and I was the front man and lead singer as well as rhythm guitar! Yeah.... well.... little did I know just how many people would be there.... try 4000 on for size! A literal sea of people, and we are the main act, and I'm the flippin' star??? What??? I wore a white shirt that day, cause it was summertime and figured it would keep me cool. After the show someone came up to me and said "Man, you guys were great! There was only one thing, your face was as white as your shirt!" LOL!!! :lol::lol::lol: Well no chit! I thought I was gonna pass out at any minute! Did the gig for free too... to get experience. Man did I get it! :eek: The good news is that it instantly cured me of stage fright, and I've never had it again ;) So... if I can make it through performing in front of 4000 people as my first time, I'm sure you'll have no problems! Good luck man!!!
 

perttime

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...
Sing to your daughter, don’t worry about entertaining the others ...
Hey! I was going to suggest that!
And don't stop if you make a mistake.

I was playing "with" others much before I played in front of others. If I remember correctly, the first time was at a wedding of a couple of friends. We put together a four piece band. I was nervous but everybody was telling us that we did well.
 

Lowerleftcoast

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You are getting good advice.
I was under 10 for my first in front of people thing and about 15 for the first paid gig. 50 years on, I have been in many groups where there is a first timer or all first timers except for me.

My $0.02 in addition to all of the previous advice:
This is an acting job as well as a musical performance.

Smiling. I can't stress this enough. If you look like you are having a good time, it is always better.

Sing and play with authority. Don't "act" like the shy kid doing a performance at school. There is the old cliche, "Sing like you do when you are alone in the car."

Now that the date is getting closer, start practicing and acting the entire performance. No stopping. Make it to the end of the song every time no matter what.
If you don't have to be looking at the guitar keep your head up.

Act the part. Smile.
 

MilwMark

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Cool. My first performance with with a band. Still not sure why they asked me to join - I could barely play, never sang and they’d never seen me regardless. The show was walkable. Good thing. I’m told I did a HUGE sigh, then a huge gulp of beer, then a slightly less Huge sigh, after each song. I don’t quite remember the back half of the show or walk home.

I was hooked. Fast forward a decade. Several bands. Here’s the latest (flamey Jackson).
 

P Thought

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There's a summertime show around here called "Little Ol' Opry" where locals can audition and sing a number or two on stage in a retired theater building. I went to that several times, years ago. Acoustic guitar unplugged, house band loud enough to cover for guitar mistakes, all I had to do was remember the words. I was afraid I'd accidentally sing, "but sleep won't come the way I do" but I didn't.

When she was in junior high, my daughter heard Roy Orbison on the radio singing "Cryin'". She exclaimed to her friends, "Hey, my dad wrote that!" :lol:

I think that's great, your playing at your little girl's wedding. Make 'em cry!
 

Lou Tencodpees

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First time was early 70's with a basement band. My bandmate knew I was totally shy about playing in front of people. We start playing and he cues the girls to come out of hiding. I was probably 12 and totally unprepared, but it lit me up. A couple of years later we had our first paying gig. I left my Silvertone at home and borrowed a friend's new Tele Deluxe and played through my brothers Traynor Yba1 bass amp and 2 15's. I'm glad there's no audio evidence to dispel the glorious memory. Shortly after we played a gig at my high school assembly, hundreds of peers. That was the first time I sang lead vocal. The tune? Beware of Darkness. Again, glad no evidence exists, lol.
 

Deeve

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I’m biting the bullet and playing (and singing) at my daughter’s wedding next month. It’s a surprise. She’s never seen me play. In fact, nobody has seen me play. Now, about 200 people will. Nervous is an understatement; I still can’t coordinate singing and playing, but I’m getting close. Got my new acoustic singer amp:

Gonna have my son bring out the amp and mic and guitar during my speech and then I’m going Johnny Cash with a couple of his songs I used to sing to my daughter growing up. Wish me luck:).
What was your first time playing in front of people? Open mic?
Have a chat w/ @John Backlund - he's probably back from his ride by now and has the recent open mic experience in perspective.
Congrats - Deeve
 

oregomike

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I’m biting the bullet and playing (and singing) at my daughter’s wedding next month. It’s a surprise. She’s never seen me play. In fact, nobody has seen me play. Now, about 200 people will. Nervous is an understatement; I still can’t coordinate singing and playing, but I’m getting close. Got my new acoustic singer amp:

Gonna have my son bring out the amp and mic and guitar during my speech and then I’m going Johnny Cash with a couple of his songs I used to sing to my daughter growing up. Wish me luck:).
What was your first time playing in front of people? Open mic?
First time was a coworker’s sons birthday party. I was the drummer but stepped in for a couple of songs. It’s one of those moments where you just need to jump in and ride the train. Once it gets going, you’ll relax. If you fatfinger a chord, ignore it and keep going. They’ll be into it either way and probably most won’t even notice. And your son and you will have an awesome memory for the books. Have fun!
 

naveed211

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First time I was 17. It was like a teen night show at a church, if I recall. Pretty decent crowd and a lot of friends came out, actually.

I just really let loose and went for it. I didn’t know that I had to be cool. That’s probably the loosest I’ve ever been for any show since.

Try to just get into the music and perform and maybe you won’t worry about the crowd as much.
 

ChicknPickn

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"It is not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt

Rock on, dude.
 

Milspec

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I still haven't played solo in front of a crowd, hide in the mix with a band only.

That said, I used to be a touring comic along the Carolina coast back in the early '90's where you are all alone on that stage trying to just be funny....very stressful. My act was 90% impromptu so nothing other than the opening was ever scripted. I developed humor at a young age as a defensive tool so the more uncomfortable I am, the more my mind raced to be funny. That style also caused me to throw up a LOT prior to a show since you have zero idea what you were going to say ahead of time...no practice at all.

The tricks that I developed to handle that extreme nervousness were simple, but effective. First, I always stacked the deck. I would hand out tickets to people that I met who would laugh at just about anything. I filled the front row with those people knowing that I had a safety net and that the rest of the crowd would laugh if my stacked deck lead the way.

The second trick was slaying the first heckler to remove any temptation by a member of the crowd to challenge me. They didn't even have to be heckling, I would just pick somebody and go on the attack like Don Rickles used to do just to scare people from stepping into the act.

Now, in your case, you have a friendly situation, a wedding full of family and friends so you are already off to the races. I really don't think you could ever experience a bomb, even if you flubbed the whole thing, it would still be an enduring moment. You really can't go wrong, especially with a Johnny Cash set. I think I would get it started and get the crowd to sing along right away since most will know the lyrics. That way you can focus more on the playing and less on the singing, carry the lyrics when comfortable and let the crowd take over if you get in trouble.

I think you have chosen a great idea, and it can't fail, so just enjoy the moment.
 

OlRedNeckHippy

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I started singing in front of people when I was 9 or 10 years old. My uncle was a big time, big band leader, and he recognized the talent and pushed me to do it.
So, that was like 50 something years and a thuosand gigs ago...
Still, to this day, every time, I'm nervous before going on.

Like the old saying about this says, If you ain't nervous, you're dead.
 

Kandinskyesque

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Great idea -- good luck! You will do fine. All the energy in the room will be positive.

First time I played in front of other people was a long long time ago - a semi-inpromptu gig with a couple of other local bands at the place we used to rehearse (church hall kind of a place). I played my friend's 12-string acoustic on our rendition of Freebird. First time in front of a crowd who didn't know me was with the next iteration of that band, at a famous old Glasgow bar called the Found Castle. We did alright!
That brings back memories, I used to go through to the Doune Castle when I was an underage teen in the early 80s to watch the bands on a Saturday afternoon. A legendary place, four or five bands on in the one sitting.
I met a couple of older guys there who I eventually was in a band with throughout the 90s. I saw the earliest line-up of Primal Scream in that place which was one guy and a drum machine.
I would love love to have seen Johnny and the Self Abusers play there, who were apparently a regular feature in the late 70s, they went on to become Simple Minds.

My first gig with a full band was when I was 14 at a youth club in the concrete jungle where I lived (I'd played a few folk club gigs on my own before then).
The gig was an excuse for rival gangs from adjacent housing schemes to meet up for a fight, which of course started in front of the stage by the 2nd song. The cops turned up and stopped the gig, then let us go back on for one last song unaware that our last song in the set was a cover of The Clash's "White Riot".
The place erupted!

I went home that night thinking my future was going to be peppered with Rock n' Roll excess.
Alas, real life had other plans...
 

loudboy

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The solo will sound like it will sound:). The least of my worries will be tone;).
Having played at a few wedding services, and events of the like, I would cut any solos, and play maybe an abridged version of one song. A solo will seem like it's taking forever and adds nothing in this situation.

Maybe 2 minutes total, tops, or you will lose them, especially if you've never done this.
 

Bluego1

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Having played at a few wedding services, and events of the like, I would cut any solos, and play maybe an abridged version of one song. A solo will seem like it's taking forever and adds nothing in this situation.

Maybe 2 minutes total, tops, or you will lose them, especially if you've never done this.
It’ll be alright. I’m playing and singing to my daughter and I won’t lose her. She’ll actually dig the solo. I sang a capella for 4 minutes at my other daughter’s wedding and didn’t lose anybody. I think I will keep it to one song, though:)
 




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