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  #1  
Old 02-12-2006, 10:13 PM
bucka_boy bucka_boy is offline
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Hi, I recently started performing solo acoustic/voice songs at my church and I find that before and after playing I am a nervous wreck. Although Ive been playing quite awhile, I don't have much experience performing in front of a large audience. Is this something that just takes time or is there any practical things I can do to help this?
thanks, Jeff
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Old 02-12-2006, 10:37 PM
trion12 trion12 is offline
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Hi Jeff,

This is pretty normal for everyone when they first start to play in public.
There is really only one way to get over it and that is to do it often so that it becomes something which feels comfortable and natural.
Also make sure that whatever you decide to play in public you know and can play without effort. i.e. know your material inside out!
The combination of nerves and a piece which is still a challenge to play is asking for trouble . . .

Keep at it and the nerves will disappear.

Aaron
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Old 02-13-2006, 07:48 AM
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Yes it is normal.... Aaron is right, the more you do it, the better. Remember, you're probably your own worst critic. People in the audience want you to do well wether it be in the church or at a local open mic. I've been at it for many years and still have a little tension for the first song of the night. After that, it's nothing but fun for me!

Folkman
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Old 02-13-2006, 08:00 AM
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is normal. will get better. do, you must. succeed, you will.

good thread on this recent-like:
http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...ad.php?t=72390
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:26 PM
bagelsgirl bagelsgirl is offline
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Everyone said the right stuff already. Keep doing it. Be prepared (practiced). Remember the crowd is rooting for you and wants you to do well (and usually can't tell when you screw up).

Keep at it!

I never thought I'd feel comfortable on stage. Then it became the most comfortable place for me. I have played full time for 18 years. Felt big changes in comfort level that time, and boosts in the last ten years, five years, two years, etc. The last year, I couldn't believe that I could actually truthfully say that when I perform, that is when I have the most stress relief!
That is when I give myself a break, and stop trying to make myself miserable about not being "perfect"... it is when I stop agonizing, and just let things flow....

And now, how will I feel at that first gig... after having been seriously injured and not performing for four or more months? I have a feeling the first few gigs are gonna be a little wierd.....my husband says it is like riding a bicycle... uh, I guess... I played over 3,300 gigs. I had a songlist numbering over 500 tunes. I haven't played more than an hour a week in ten weeks. Do I still know all those tunes?

I'll find out....
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Old 02-13-2006, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bucka_boy
...Is this something that just takes time or is there any practical things I can do to help this?
thanks, Jeff
Hi Jeff...
Both.

When you are getting ready to begin, stop and take three deep breaths through your nose and gently - keep it inaudible. Let each out slowly. It can be started while you are walking across the stage, or you can wait till you are in place...

This is to relax your physical plant so you can play more relaxed. You will always play better relaxed.

I learned this from my vocal instructor in college.
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Old 02-13-2006, 04:37 PM
phuufme phuufme is offline
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Good feedback so far. I have been playing informally in front of groups for years, but recently I formed a guitar playing duo. The past 6 or so months, we are playing out regularly, once a month or so. The more we play out, the more comfortable we are.

We do a few things to control jitters. First, I follow, as much as I can, a regular standard routine for the 30 minutes or so before the gig. Also, we put our most comfortable song first 'Teach Your Children'. For whatever reason, we know we can do this song, we both are singing it so it gets us comfortably engaged and started and it sounds good.

Finally, as Folkman said, you are your own worst critic. As an example, we put a song in our list that we had not played or practiced in a couple of months. In our opinion, the song was not well performed. After the gig, I was talking with a friend who was in the audience, and told him that I thought that song was not done well. He said, "Really?!? It sounded great to me." And he is a band director at a local high school, so he's not a music novice.

So, go out and have fun.
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Old 02-13-2006, 04:59 PM
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I have to say, I've heard plenty of people with the jitters before a gig, but you're the first one I heard say you had them after.

Can you explain that a bit more?
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Old 02-13-2006, 07:06 PM
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Hey Bagelsgirl,

Although I wasn't injured as you were, I was where you are at now. In 2003, I was a Naval Reservist and was recalled to active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Noble Eagle. I ended up being guitarless for the entire tour overseas. When I finally rotated back to Camp Pendleton, within a week of arriving, I was at the Taylor factory for a tour then to a GC in Carlsbad and the proud owner of a Big Baby (couldn't stand it anymore and didn't want to ship my guitars from home knowing I may possibly ship out again).

I took a couple of days to get acquainted with my new guitar before letting my shipmates know I even had it. The first time we got together with it, I can tell you that even after having been a performer off and on (mostly on) since 1968 and an extensive reortoire, I became extremely nervous and couldn't even think of a song to start with. These weren't strangers I was in front of, they were people I'd lived with for months under extreme conditions sharing everything. Anyway my best buddy said "Hey do you know Leader of the band?" and all of a sudden I was playing, nervousness gone and having a great time as with everyone else. Yahoo!!! Back in the Saddle! First gig in front of strangers was 2 months later when I finally got back home and it was if I had never left!

Your husband is right, It's like riding a bycicle. At least the hard part for me was getting back on. After that it's a piece of cake. You'll do well Elizabeth!

Folkman
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Old 02-14-2006, 01:10 AM
bucka_boy bucka_boy is offline
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Thanks for all the great replys, I guess that I'm my worst enemy. I played yesterday, just two songs, and I pretty much nailed them. Allot of people enjoyed it, one gal said I should be on the radio! (that's a bit of a stretch) You see, the thing is I'am a bit of a perfectionist by nature. I need be be easier on myself and allow for mistakes.
I was so nervous yesterday, not just before but after. It took me until about dinner time to really calm down.....kind of weird. Thanks for listening to me vent.
Jeff
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Old 02-15-2006, 04:16 PM
josh popejoy josh popejoy is offline
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I'm actually a classical musician (trombone), as well as a singer-songwriter. On trombone, I do get nervous before a big (solo) performance or audition. Mostly because of the importance of the audition (typically a job work about $55k/yr and you only have 10 min in the BLIND AUDITION)...so it's high stakes. However, on guitar, I don't get nervous. I get excited to play though. For me, the guitar thing is FUN. I do work hard at it, but compared to classical music, there really aren't any "right" and "wrongs" (outside of intonation and rhythm).

I just get up there and have a blast, get myself completely into the music.

maybe if you just realize it should be fun that'll take pressure off!

popejoy
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