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What's Wrong With Me? (live playing)

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by TeleTim911, May 7, 2011.

  1. TeleTim911

    TeleTim911 Friend of Leo's

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    Okay, to let you know my background a little, was a pro musician for years. I've played a lot of venues in a lot of states, I've played guitar, bass, and drums in a lot of bands. I sing pretty well, and harmonize almost on the fly.

    I quit playing around 1992 or so, just quit. About 2 or so years ago back into electric guitar, and picked it up pretty well.

    I can sit at home and play along with music just fine. I can replay the songs over and over, and play the licks pretty well. Not everything note-for-note, but nothing bad, and it's smooth, fluid, and just like I should be playing (and like I did years ago).

    Now however, when I play onstage (two times in two years), I find myself absolutely so ticked off at how I sound and play I just want to run and hide. :rolleyes:

    Seriously. I get onstage and can't remember what keys the songs are in, I can't remember even the simplest of licks, forget to sing my harmony parts, it's just absolutely horrible. My playing sounds like someone who just learned last week. Choppy, missing notes, and my mind freezes. Then I get stressed and start gripping the neck so hard my hand starts hurting.

    What the heck is going on? :cry:
     
  2. mlove3

    mlove3 Tele-Afflicted

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    it happens. it happens to me and I've been gigging at least once a month for years. Let it go. trust your instincts. Nobody can take away all those years of gigging you did before, that's your foundation.
    my guess is you'll play a gig soon where it all comes together, and that will boost the old confidence.
    and remember, it's just rock and roll. Do IT!
     
  3. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Easy there big guy. It's not all that bad. It doesn't matter how long you've been playing or gigging. You still need to prepare for a gig, especially when you do it as infrequently as you do now.

    I know that as I'm getting older, I need to rehearse the material at home before a gig and I need better notes and preparation, and I've been gigging steadily for the past 10 years.

    Your music needs to be a source of enjoyment, not aggrevation, and as we get older, we just need to prepare a little better.
     
  4. ianasdfg

    ianasdfg Tele-Afflicted

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    There was I time where I'd be gigging a few times a week to the point where I didn't care about mistakes, which was cool because sometimes we'd feel confident enough to try things beyond the rehearsed. I guess the more you're in front of people regularly the more you can just get on with making music ... and forget about self consciousness.
     
  5. TeleGS

    TeleGS TDPRI Member

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    :) Hang in there, try to relax. You are doing a lot more than the people listening, and as far as they know - you meant to do that. Unless the audience paid $300/head to hear you don't worry. If they did, congratulations - and get your **** together man!

    To paraphrase John Lydon, we only do it for the p!ss-ups and the birds.
    Peace.
     
  6. IdahoPicker

    IdahoPicker Tele-Afflicted

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    Johnny Cash said something to the tune of: If you don't feel the jitters before a show, then you ain't feeling the music anymore.
     
  7. Buxton

    Buxton Tele-Meister

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    Playing with fluidity comes from having your mind on the music, not on the physical act of playing. You need to have your fingers on autopilot translating what your experience and musicianship tells you to play in the conscious part of your mind.

    The trouble with playing live is it can make you self-conscious, literally. Your conscious mind starts thinking about yourself, about what you are doing and, worse, worrying about it.

    This over-rides the autopilot and instead of playing naturally you try to consciously control your fingers, which takes away the fluidity. You fluff some lines, then that just accentuates the problem.

    Funnily enough, I had a little of that at a gig I played last week. First time in ages - but my very oldest friend came to the gig having not seen me play in years, and I became too conscious of what he might be thinking of my playing. There was also a very good and well known (on the circuit at least) guitarist in the crowd, which made me too self conscious too.

    Just about got away with it, but made more ricks in that gig than I usually do in a year!
     
  8. TeleTim911

    TeleTim911 Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks all for the kind words of encouragement. I spoke at length with drummer who is lead singer's father and basically the leader of the group today (Sunday).

    Seems his phone and email inboxes were full of mail from people who knew them at the show, all saying that I was a great addition to their group, and how they were all impressed that they got a player in there with obvious stage experience and playing skills.

    So maybe all is not lost, apparently I didn't suck too bad. My wife has assured me a dozen times she didn't notice any problems except I did seem a little nervous at first. (she's seen me perform literally thousands of times).

    Guess I'll keep working on it. It's fun playing again!
     
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