The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > RECORD

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 09-24-2009, 07:57 AM
ELK's Avatar
ELK ELK is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 689
Default Staying relaxed on stage

I have started to play gigs on a fairly reguar basis and now I'm trying to focus on keeping a consistent quality tone. I tend to get tense, and when I do, both my playing and singing become too hard-edged. Do any of you have any tips on how to keep that "practicing at home" feeling - relaxed strumming and calm vocals, even on uptempo songs? I'm sure some of it is just spending more time infront of an audience, but any suggestions would be appreciated.
__________________
"Just to put a little distance between causes and effects, like a day old fortune cookie, wondering what the hell comes next."
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-24-2009, 11:26 AM
ljguitar's Avatar
ljguitar ljguitar is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: wyoming
Posts: 38,580
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ELK View Post
I have started to play gigs on a fairly reguar basis and now I'm trying to focus on keeping a consistent quality tone. I tend to get tense, and when I do, both my playing and singing become too hard-edged. Do any of you have any tips on how to keep that "practicing at home" feeling - relaxed strumming and calm vocals, even on uptempo songs? I'm sure some of it is just spending more time infront of an audience, but any suggestions would be appreciated.
Hi ELK...
Two recommendations:
  • Breathe
  • Get lots of experience in front of people

I meet an amazing amount of players who I catch holding their breath when performing - especially when new at it. Then their body goes into survival mode, the heart rate accelerates and their playing goes erratic.

Even for instrumentalists slow steady breathing is a signal to the brain that we are relaxed.

Performing at coffee houses, open mics, jams etc gives you practice which is pretty low stress compared to concerts and high paying jobs and it is good for you to play in all sorts of places to get used to it.

It's a lot like just recording everything you do for a month. That way you get over the fear of recorders - well play in front of people regularly and you get over nervousness.

__________________
Larry J

Baby #01
Baby #02
Baby #03
Baby #04
Full-size Full-Scale Baby #4

Larry's songs...

…Just because you've argued till a discussion turns silent doesn't mean you have convinced anyone…
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-24-2009, 04:55 PM
220volt 220volt is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 3,882
Default

Everything Larry said, and if all that fails, alcohol would do it pretty quickly.
Of course only up to the point to get you out of the wheel of tenseness you're in. Once you're out, alcohol is out too. Problem is that some people get caught up in the wheel for too long
__________________
My YouTube Channel
Only a life lived for others is a life worth living." - Albert Einstein
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-24-2009, 05:22 PM
-ST- -ST- is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 181
Default

Oops - please see my post below. thanks.

accidental duplicate post

Last edited by -ST-; 06-21-2010 at 12:14 PM. Reason: removed duplicate text - please see post below.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-24-2009, 05:23 PM
-ST- -ST- is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 181
Default

Hi ELK

how to keep that "practicing at home" feeling

Take that thought and turn it around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ELK View Post
I have started to play gigs on a fairly reguar basis and now I'm trying to focus on keeping a consistent quality tone. I tend to get tense, and when I do, both my playing and singing become too hard-edged. Do any of you have any tips on how to keep that "practicing at home" feeling - relaxed strumming and calm vocals, even on uptempo songs? I'm sure some of it is just spending more time infront of an audience, but any suggestions would be appreciated.
When you practice at home, visualize your audience at the gig. Imagine that the audience is there with you whenever you play. When you do that, every practice will become a rehearsal, and every rehearsal will add to that "in front of an audience" time feeling.

To do that, I have my rehearsal space set up like a stage. Everything is set up just like I do it live.

Try it. Rehearse as though the audience is listening and enjoy that.



More thoughts like this: Practise Practice Rehearsal Visualization Simulation


PS sorry for the inadvertent duplicate post. Moderators please delete my post above, thank you.

Last edited by -ST-; 09-25-2009 at 12:51 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-25-2009, 06:36 PM
Billy Memphis Billy Memphis is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Southern California
Posts: 51
Default

You did not say if it was coffee house or other wise but I always start the set with somethign that is well within my vocal range, easy to play and is not prone to mistakes. Something I am so familiar with I could play it in my sleep.This builds my confidence and allows me to hear what the room "sounds like" and gets my blood going. Nothing too complicated right out of the gate.
Also, and it may sound elementary, but when you pratice; pratice the songs all the way through every time. Do not stop and go back over something as you get near to a performance. If you get nervous you will come to the point where you usually stop and guess what? you will stop! Oh what an awful feeling.
That is from my own experience of course.
__________________
Learn Music
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-25-2009, 08:03 PM
aaron1433 aaron1433 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Big Horn, Wy
Posts: 156
Default

clearing away the mental distinction between playing/practicing/performing and making them more unanimous is a strategy I adopted from John Clayton. It is how I want to approach music for the rest of my days.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-25-2009, 09:18 PM
open strings open strings is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 420
Default

I think it helps to be playing right up to when you go onstage. Maybe a different one than what's plugged in.

Practice the songs enough that you are confident with them.

If it's a worship situation, play for an audience of One.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-27-2009, 08:46 AM
jackweasel jackweasel is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 946
Default

In addition to all the great advise given above, I would like to add this suggestion. If you have your own p.a./ sound system, try to set your rehersal place where you can practice through it. Sometimes the mic itself can be intimidating, but in my opinion, getting used to your voice though a sound system and learning how to use it is as much a part of putting on a show as being a good guitar player or singer. It's the final link in the signal chain between you and your audience. Be as comfortable as you can with all the tools you use to do your job, and it'll come through as a better performance.
Recently I played a family reunion for some friends [I rarely "gig" these days] and afterwards, my wife gave me a huge compliment on my performance [something she NEVER does] and said, " I can tell you've been practicing a lot with your Bose [L-1] and all your other stuff. It sounded great. You looked like you were having a good time, too."
That's exactly what I needed to hear.
__________________
more guitars and stuff than I deserve
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-27-2009, 09:48 AM
vac4873's Avatar
vac4873 vac4873 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 203
Default

One thing I haven't seen added is this- take every opportunity you can to play in front of an audience, large or small, and this will make the activity part of what you "normally" do. Play a church, at jails, at rest homes, at schools, wherever you can play for others. When playing in front of others becomes a "normal" activity rather than an unusual one, you will naturally be more relaxed.

Hope this helps.

Matt
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-27-2009, 12:13 PM
815C's Avatar
815C 815C is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: The Hills Of Tennessee
Posts: 3,704
Default

I think of the room as being full of aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, etc. Kind of a big family get together with no pressure.

Audiences can usually discern if you're uptight - and its no fun to watch an uptight performer. But if you are relaxed and having a good time - and can even laugh off any mistakes - I've seen that sense of fun is contagious.

There is a difference between playing by yourself at home and playing on a stage in front of a bunch of strangers. I think the tips in the thread that have been posted are good ones. Get as much time in playing in front of people as possible/
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-27-2009, 12:56 PM
fitness1's Avatar
fitness1 fitness1 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Central Lower Michigan
Posts: 18,343
Default

two things have always worked for me.

Get to the gig early and while your setting up, do as much "mingling" with folks in the crowd as you can. Even if it's just getting eye contact and a nod or hello. Sometimes that will get them talking to you. Believe it or not, they want you to do well too, and getting some chatter and common ground with your audience will go a long way towards that. This also includes waiters, waitresses and anyone that works in the establishment...get them on your side and they'll be telling the audience/customers that you are "pretty good!"

Also, if you think to yourself "there's noone in the audience that can do what I'm doing" There may be some other musicians out there, but it's not likely there's anyone that plays the same songs the same way you do.
__________________
"One small heart, and a great big soul that's driving"

Charis SJ Koa/BC Sitka
Mcknight/Poling GC Koa/Italian
Lakewood J-32 Baritone EIR/Euro spruce
Cordoba Solista EIR/Euro Spruce

Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-28-2009, 07:30 AM
ELK's Avatar
ELK ELK is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 689
Default

Thanks for your input, lots of helpful advice here. I had a bar gig on Saturday that went very well, a few mistakes on guitar here and there but my vocals were strong and it seems like people notice that more than the guitar. (When you're primarily a guitar player, it's hard to accept that people don't really care how well you play and just want to hear you sing, but it's often true.) Having friends in the crowd helped a lot. A guy asked me to play at his party in two weeks, so that will be the next gig.
__________________
"Just to put a little distance between causes and effects, like a day old fortune cookie, wondering what the hell comes next."
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-28-2009, 07:32 AM
ELK's Avatar
ELK ELK is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 689
Default

.. . . . . . . inadvertent double post . . . . . ..
__________________
"Just to put a little distance between causes and effects, like a day old fortune cookie, wondering what the hell comes next."
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-28-2009, 08:31 AM
ewalling ewalling is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 18,744
Default

I've had the intention of playing in public for some time now. I've got the gear - a Fishman SoloAmp, a mic and some nice guitars - but now I just need the courage! Funny, I can stand before a conference room full people and speak, but even an informal performance on the guitar makes my fingers quiver ever so slightly, but enough that only the most rudimentary fingerstyle piece is possible. In the 80s, when I was living in Spain, a surgeon friend of mine gave me some beta-blockers as an experiment. I took one and then he and all his friends came round to hear me play. It was perfect! Not the guitar playing, I hasten to add, but my nerves. I know drugs are not the way, but that pill certainly cancelled out this reaction. I think in the main, though, it is frequency of performance that does the trick. At a few points in my life when I have played in front of a few people, I've noticed that the problem did diminish somewhat.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > RECORD

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:18 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=