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Nerves

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by dobrojoe, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. dobrojoe

    dobrojoe Tele-Meister

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    Let me set the scene here, I used to play in top class (blues) bands in London. I had a little nervousness at first but it quickly evaporated as I gained confidence.

    Meanwhile, 20 years later, I get up in a pub to play some '60s style instrumentals tonight and all the strings and notes were not in the same place as they were when I practiced them in the past few weeks at home. I was shaking uncontrollably. Admittedly, not my comfort zone, it is 50 years since I played this kind of music before.

    How do you get over nerves on stage? I am loath to go down the alcohol route!
     
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  2. Skub

    Skub Poster Extraordinaire

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    There's the key.

    Speaking personally,if I'm prepared I don't get debilitating nerves....a little nerves are good,crippling stage fright nerves are not.
     
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  3. MisterZ

    MisterZ Tele-Holic

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    Happened to me last year at the local jam night. Don't let it get to you, go out and kill next opportunity.

    I think it was Placido Domingo who replied to a student telling him "I never get nervous before I perform" by saying "don't worry, when you get some talent you will."
     
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  4. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Peter Green has entered the building!
     
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  5. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Poster Extraordinaire

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    You have to practice the material until you feel totally confident.
    If you feel confident in your skills then nerves will improve exponentially with some positive feedback from the crowd.
    Just get through the first couple of songs and you’ll be fine.
     
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  6. dobrojoe

    dobrojoe Tele-Meister

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    I was prepared. I could play all these numbers perfectly at home by myself. It was all those eyes that did it. Crippling stage fright nerves definitely.
     
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  7. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I feel for people that deal with this. I never have. All of my nerves and anxiety stem from having to do things that aren’t stage related. The stage/performing is the only place I’ve ever been really comfortable at all.

    I can sympathize with your situation, though. I’m that way in any kind of social setting that isn’t music related. I sometimes have to attend galas, fundraisers, election events, etc due to my wife’s job. Those are murder. Having to attempt conversation, small talk, social interaction without the barrier of performer/audience? It’s torture. For real. I’m a mess. To the point that my wife mostly doesn’t even bring me nowadays. I have (diagnosed) pretty extreme panic and anxiety disorders and I totally freak out in those situations. It’s no fun whatsoever and I don’t feel good about anybody having to face it, no matter where it happens. So sorry, man.
     
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  8. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Friend of Leo's

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    Next time just remember that the folks at the TDPRI are pulling for you ! You would be surprised how much good JUJU can be whipped up by all these fine people.

    Best of luck to you:)
     
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  9. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    If possible, build confidence at open mics and jams. You can also look at giving yourself some leeway. Simplify your lead breaks and arrangements and focus on passion in your singing delivery. Good luck!
     
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  10. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sorry to hear about your situation. i get nervous, always have, but I channel that nervousness into playing. Funnily enough it makes my playing better live. I too don't drink and /or use substances when playing, that only makes your playing sloppy increasing your performance anxiety.
    A bit like "Brewer's Droop".
     
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  11. Chud

    Chud Poster Extraordinaire

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    I imagine you just need some practice to get back in the swing of it. It’s been a while, don’t be too hard on yourself.
     
  12. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    And yeah, leave the booze out of it entirely.
    Good call there.
     
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  13. Brokenpick

    Brokenpick Tele-Afflicted

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    Stop the loathing.
    You're in a pub... yer gonna play the blues...
    It's a pretty traditional mix. Have a drink. No need to get faced.
    Just a snort or two. It won't wreck your technique any more than being all nerves and unwound. Moderation in the key of E.
    Most pubsters'd rather see a guy missing some notes and having fun, than a guy struggling to hit perfection the way he practiced it.
    Just a thought.
    Not trying to pitch alcohol to you if it's really the wrong choice for you.... but small doses have worked in a positive way for many.
     
  14. Snowbird

    Snowbird Tele-Meister

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    I have suffered from debilitating stage fright as well. Some things that have worked for me (after, of course, being totally prepared):

    1. When you start to feel it (cold, sweaty/sticky, shaky hands, etc) just notice it and acknowledge it. You can say it out loud or just in your mind, but just acknowledging it without fighting it can sometimes calm it down. Fighting it and trying to not be nervous generally leads to more nervousness.

    2. Remember to focus on the music. When I’ve been really nervous it was because I was worried what people would think about me. I wasn’t necessarily trying to make the music the best it could be. Close your eyes, pay attention to the other musicians (if there are others playing) and try to compliment what they’re doing. You have something beautiful to offer and the best way to do it is by paying attention to the sound and feeling you are all producing together.

    3. Smile and pretend all is well. For me, I find if I can pretend to be alright and focus on the music, by the 3rd song or so the nerves will actually disappear. Not always, but usually.

    4. Realize that the mistakes will almost certainly appear worse to you than they will to the crowd. To test this, film/record yourself on your next jam or gig, then watch/listen to it after a couple of days. I would bet the huge mistakes you will remember won’t be nearly as noticeable as you thought, especially if you remember to smile and pretend to be loving it (assuming you’re not at that moment, of course. Hopefully most of the time you are enjoying yourself).

    5. This one may not work, but it has helped me. Before the gig, days before, remind yourself of truly scary and difficult times you’ve been through and then think of the worst that could happen if you absolutely bomb on stage. It probably will pale in comparison to what you’ve been through. For example, my wife started bleeding badly when she was pregnant with one of our sons and after an emergency c-our son was born about 3 months early. The next two months were very intense, but both are well now. Realizing my wife and son almost died was incredibly intense. But we made it through and I remind myself sometimes of how insignificant a jam or gig is compared to that. Honestly, I’m usually playing for very sympathetic audiences as it is, but just realizing that I’ve been through truly harrowing experiences (and most people have) makes me realize that I’ll be fine playing a couple of tunes in front of people that want me to do well [emoji6].

    6. Keep doing it. Even when you royally mess up. Especially after you really crash and burn. Keep getting in front of people. It can get better.

    Now, having said that, I know how incredibly frustrating it can be to suffer from this and I feel for you. However, I have found that I can play much better now in front of others than I could. Like anything, it can get better.

    Last word: there are those who have never experienced truly debilitating stage fright and may give unhelpful comments like “it’s because you care” or “ everybody feels that”. Just understand that they are trying to help but may have never experienced stage fright on a level that you have (I really appreciate Jakedog for being honest and understanding about how he doesn’t know what that’s like on stage but he can empathize). To be clear, I believe most of the great performers do not feel serious stage fright consistently because if they did, they wouldn’t be great performers (I realize there are exceptions, Andres Segovia reportedly being one). It can be so debilitating that you feel you’re playing at 50% of your ability. I can just say that I have seen huge improvements in my own struggle with this and hope the very best for you. Just keep on working at it!
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  15. Snowbird

    Snowbird Tele-Meister

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    Oh, and I would definitely say no alcohol! You don’t need that
     
  16. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    I listen to the songs until I'm sick of them - that gets them ingrained in memory.

    Right before going on I recommend breathing exercises. Many professionals do the same thing. You can find apps for iPhones and Android devices; also podcasts.
     
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  17. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I find just concentrating on the music and not thinking about the audience helps to rid the nerves. Once lost in the song it's like you have blinkers on and have no time for nerves or being self conscious. That being said if I film myself playing solo I always tend to play poorly because it's rushed and my concentration is having to be directed towards multiple tasks. It definitely helps if you love the songs you are playing and know them inside out.
     
  18. aerhed

    aerhed Friend of Leo's

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    Dumb it down. Try Dave Mason's Feelin' Alright. Play BOTH chords until you can't take it serious, then go in there and let em have it. A wingman is good too. Gives you someone on your side.
     
  19. dlew919

    dlew919 Doctor of Teleocity

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    All good advice. I have done exactly that. I eased back into performing. Now I don't get nervous very much at all.

    Remember, a surgeon makes a mistake, there's a problem.

    A musician makes a mistake, noone really notices...

    I've done gigs where I haven't heard my self on stage, and realised later I was out of tune. Noone in the audience cared. And I got 'Man, where do you play? That was GREAT!'... so who knows?
     
  20. chemobrain

    chemobrain Friend of Leo's

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    just remember that you play for yourself, please yourself, and there isn't any performance that you can't walk away from.
    or as Tyler Derdan says "you are not your job your bank account, your car or your khaki pants."
     
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