Performance Anxiety

Nogoodnamesleft

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A long time ago someone gave me the advice to set up a tape recorder by my amp and just press record every day. The idea being I would get used to it.

Seeing as it's about 35 years since it was given to me, whatever recorder du jour. Probably my phone.
 

StoneH

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Just to be clear . . . I don't literally have performance anxiety. :D

I have:

1) Teed-off in a golf tournament in front of a large crowd.
2) Defended my acquisition strategy for a $60 million program to a select panel chaired by a two-star General.
3) Asked a girl to dance at my Jr. High Prom.
4) Had open heart surgery.

#3 was the most nerve-wracking thing I have ever done (by far).
 

Cpb2020

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Home studio? Large data storage device? I think the trick might be to never turn recording OFF.

I’m not sure if you’re joking, but I was going to say the same thing.

I find with my 3 kids that have a band, if I record them routinely enough they simply start to ignore it. When we get out of the habit for a while, as soon as I hit record they’re all thumbs.

What helped me in “live” settings was taking a method acting class in college. It was a few engineering students (myself included) and mostly art and architecture students. Seeing how comfortable the artists were acting like, for example, an earthworm, opened my eyes to not caring what others think.
 

StoneH

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I learned to comp from watching good engineers and producers do it. A rule of thumb - the deeper into detail you get (especially working with a DAW), the more 'seamless' you can make it sound. And as with anything else, the more you do it the easier it gets. Good luck!

- D

I have noticed that as I am playing, I think about whether a bridge, chorus, etc. ends cleanly and would allow an easy place to tie an arrangement together.

Also, I have never purposely laid down a scratch track, but I have tripled a guitar and thrown out the first track because the later tracks were much better.

I learn something every day.
 

MisterZ

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Only once have I gotten the yips so bad I couldn't play (wrote about it here a couple of years ago). Nervous is normal! You want your performance/recording to be the best it can possibly be. Use that nervous energy to fuel the performance/recording.
 

Beachbum

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So true. I can play 4 sets to 100 semi drunk people knowing that if I miss a chord and recover all things pass with time but push that record button and I'm toast.:(
 

JL_LI

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I make mistakes all the time, some serious, others not so much. When a customer commented to the Persian weaver that the rug he was about to buy looked perfect, the weaver replied, “There is always a flaw. You may not notice it, but there’s always a flaw. Only Allah is perfect. Humans, we do our best work with His guidance.”

I’m not religious but there’s wisdom I can take from the weaver’s tale. Our best is the best we can do.
 

vintagelove

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Not the sexual kind.

It’s almost funny. . . Sitting on the couch, I can play a 3 minute song flawlessly (pretty much), but hit the record button and I’m lucky to get through 30 seconds. Instead of concentrating on what I’m playing, I start to think, “You’re almost there, don’t screw it up”. Then I tense up and I get clumsy.

Dang, that does sound kind of sexual.


Get yourself a small zoom recorder, or even your phone, and get it the habit of recording yourself practicing. It helps to break the red light fever.

Good luck.
 

StoneH

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There is one thing that tells me I will not have "recording nerves" for long. I have watched videos of Joe Gilder laying down acoustic and vocal tracks. He is so efficient at recording (especially punching in, pre-roll, automatic punch, and other things I need to learn), that he doesn't get concerned about messing up. If he plays something he doesn't like, he hits a couple of hot keys and is recording the part over in 5 seconds. It's the confidence you can only get by asking a lot of girls to dance.
 

Skyhook

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Welcome to live recording! LOL!!! Happens to all of us, and the best of us. Don't sweat it man, just hit the red button and carry on. In the old days it was a real pain to re-record... these days it's "undo recording" ;)

True... you don't need to rewind these days. You can just hit whatever key you've got bound to go back to the start marker.
What's worse though... that female-dog(CleanWord™ subs) of a program keeps track and happily notes that you're on take 87 for a riff you normally can play in your sleep.
 

Tonetele

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Picked up a guitar at 13 and by 14 I was playing and singing. Got thrown up on a stage at 14 and just got into i an audience of 2,00.
One girl said;" I didn't know T... could sing."
I replied; " Neither did I until had to."

I have played and sung in many bands, sometimes with famous Aussie musicians. I NEVER drink nor take any substances.( I enjoy a beer or three after a show) I just get into deep focus on doing my job as best I can. Never nervous just eager to give it my best. That's it- can't explain why- i just do my best. Total focus.
 

marc2211

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I'm not a bad player, been playing for 20+ years. Put me in front of a mic, or in a guitar shop and I don't have the ability to play Smoke on the Water. All ability leaves me. It's a running joke with the tech in my local store as he's heard me play in other situations and inb local jams etc - can't understand that as soon as I cross the threshold I can't play a G chord.
 

dlew919

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I had it so bad I nearly gave up performing...

I did a disastrous gig where I looked at the fretboard and forgot all the notes and where they were. I went home, didn't sleep, felt awful, got chewed out by the bandleader the next day...

Took a month of gigging. Realised that if I make a mistake, no-one cares. No-one dies. We're not performing heart surgery or solving the problems of the Middle East. If we make a mistake, no-one dies. Our work is just as important, just a lot safer. Also then remembered that music is, at the very bottom of it all, about spreading joy. Even if you're singing heartbreak songs and murder ballads, it's about joy.

I came back better than ever. I still make mistakes live, but I just play through them, or with them, or ignore them.

Keep practicing, but refocus - it's not about you, it's about the music. And keep going. You'll be fine!
 

HaWE

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Some of my best experiences playing live without any kind of stagefright were when I had spontaneous sessions with people from other bands after an official gig... perhaps because then I was only "part of something" and not a part of our own band.I remember playing a gig with a band in a barn to about 400 people.The audience mostly members of the so called "alternative scene" (and everyone bringing an instrument had free entrance).So after our bands had played,we all gathered on stage for a session, had additional people playing congas, bongos, dancing around ... and the audience dancing too.We played a kind of "Santana-like" stuff and it was pure magic and great fun happening.And even if someone of us played some wrong notes no one cared because everyone just had fun....
 

boxocrap

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Not the sexual kind.

It’s almost funny. . . Sitting on the couch, I can play a 3 minute song flawlessly (pretty much), but hit the record button and I’m lucky to get through 30 seconds. Instead of concentrating on what I’m playing, I start to think, “You’re almost there, don’t screw it up”. Then I tense up and I get clumsy.

Dang, that does sound kind of sexual.
haha..i take this as a joke..right?but..? you are too aware of recording it sounds like..so you go from the part of your brain that plays...to the part that gets all analytically aware..ignore the recorder..you can always do another take..or if it's recording on the computer..let it run..and just keep doing it until you chill out..it's not like your fly is undone and everyone notices and smirks
 




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