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Old 08-28-2020, 11:46 AM
DaveKell DaveKell is offline
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Default Where Were The Nerves?

I played my newest original at an open mic last night. It was a round robin setup with about 20 performers and I was second from the end. The guy just before me was a seasoned entertainer who has played onstage with Gordon Lightfoot, Kristofferson and countless others. Heís also a phenomenal picker. Not someone I wanted to follow since Iím an advanced hobbyist. My nerves were almost totally out of control as the applause for him died down. I was glad everyone was wearing masks so nobody could see my mouth breathing hyperventilating! I launched into my song with a fingerstyle arrangement following the best fingerstyle picker whoíd ever been to this open mic. I perceived my voice to be struggling and almost choking. I nearly gave up halfway through. Imagine my complete surprise today as I watched a video someone took of me and posted on Facebook. The best description is my performance was flawless. I could hardly believe I was watching the same performance that had me wanting to slink out in embarrassment. I have no explanation for how such a panic filled moment came out so well. None whatsoever.
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Old 08-28-2020, 01:12 PM
Tahitijack Tahitijack is offline
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Congratulations.

I remember an interview with a famous pro football player at a Super Bowl and when asked if they were nervous ... he said "Hell yes I'm nervous, show me someone that's not nervous and I'll show you someone that does not deserve to be here today."

As a musician you'll have good days and bad days. Everyone does. Over the years when I thought our band was playing just awful, someone would approach us after a gig and tell us how much they enjoyed the music. And just the reverse after a flawless performance of a complicated piece...silence.

Chalk it up and file it in the file labeled "Go Figure"
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Old 08-28-2020, 02:00 PM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Originally Posted by DaveKell View Post
I played my newest original at an open mic last night. It was a round robin setup with about 20 performers and I was second from the end. The guy just before me was a seasoned entertainer who has played onstage with Gordon Lightfoot, Kristofferson and countless others. Heís also a phenomenal picker. Not someone I wanted to follow since Iím an advanced hobbyist. My nerves were almost totally out of control as the applause for him died down. I was glad everyone was wearing masks so nobody could see my mouth breathing hyperventilating! I launched into my song with a fingerstyle arrangement following the best fingerstyle picker whoíd ever been to this open mic. I perceived my voice to be struggling and almost choking. I nearly gave up halfway through. Imagine my complete surprise today as I watched a video someone took of me and posted on Facebook. The best description is my performance was flawless. I could hardly believe I was watching the same performance that had me wanting to slink out in embarrassment. I have no explanation for how such a panic filled moment came out so well. None whatsoever.
Itís called a facade.

Now make the most of it by watching it a bunch of times, and know that for all intents & purposes, it IS YOU PERFORMING WHILE CALM.

Regards,
Howard Emerson
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Old 08-28-2020, 02:11 PM
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A standard rule while performing is to look like you are having fun and don't acknowledge any errors or flubs. Entertaining is the act of selling a fantasy.
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Old 08-28-2020, 04:34 PM
DaveKell DaveKell is offline
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Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
Itís called a facade.

Now make the most of it by watching it a bunch of times, and know that for all intents & purposes, it IS YOU PERFORMING WHILE CALM.

Regards,
Howard Emerson
Howard no matter how many times I watch it Iím in utter amazement. I KNOW my voice was faltering and cracking. Yet, at full volume I canít hear anything other than a very presentable performance. Even my picking I thought I messed up on is spot on. Obviously my perceptions played some successful tricks on me. Itís almost scary and Iíve never experienced it before. I guess next time Iíll be sure Iím not following Wayne Willingham!
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Old 08-28-2020, 06:59 PM
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You should become a politician as you can control external appearance while struggling with internal emotions.
When I'm nervous, I start to shake and can't even speak.
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Old 08-29-2020, 06:26 AM
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Congrats. I had a similar experience. I haven't played in over a decade and i had a few months to prepare for a talent show at my workplace. I was literally shaking and just praying i could make it through the piece. The video, however, does not show me shaking or being nervous at all....and I even squeaked by with a 3rd place finish.
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Old 08-29-2020, 07:12 AM
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I've never performed, but we are our own worse critics.

That's why we keep practicing and improving, although not to our ears
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Old 08-30-2020, 04:40 AM
DaveKell DaveKell is offline
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I've never performed, but we are our own worse critics.

That's why we keep practicing and improving, although not to our ears
Actually I had two weeks notice for this venue date. It was a farewell as the coffee shop owners were closing the business right after this open mic. I had my half dozen original songs well rehearsed. I was extremely confident. The thing that rattled me was being next in line after an awesome seasoned professional entertainer. Someone who is as good as they can come. I was in full blown panic mode. After the song I did which I thought was a trainwreck I had a request for another original. It has an incredibly simple guitar intro. My hands were so spastic I blew the intro three times and finally just launched into the song without it. It received thunderous applause. My last song had to wait until everyone in the room had another turn. By the last one I was very settled and pleased with what I put forth. The video evidence of my first performance belies what in my mind I thought was happening and I still donít know what to make of it. Maybe itís a developmental step for me telling me to press on despite whatever inner turmoil Iím experiencing? I just donít know as Iím entirely baffled by it!
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Old 08-30-2020, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKell View Post
I played my newest original at an open mic last night. It was a round robin setup with about 20 performers and I was second from the end. The guy just before me was a seasoned entertainer who has played onstage with Gordon Lightfoot, Kristofferson and countless others. He’s also a phenomenal picker. Not someone I wanted to follow since I’m an advanced hobbyist. My nerves were almost totally out of control as the applause for him died down. I was glad everyone was wearing masks so nobody could see my mouth breathing hyperventilating! I launched into my song with a fingerstyle arrangement following the best fingerstyle picker who’d ever been to this open mic. I perceived my voice to be struggling and almost choking. I nearly gave up halfway through. Imagine my complete surprise today as I watched a video someone took of me and posted on Facebook. The best description is my performance was flawless. I could hardly believe I was watching the same performance that had me wanting to slink out in embarrassment. I have no explanation for how such a panic filled moment came out so well. None whatsoever.
Common experience. You never look as nervous on stage as you feel - mask or no mask!

I'm still surprised to see video of myself performing and how relaxed I look. I'm not normally as nervous as you describe, to be honest, but - even after over 50 years doing it - I'm always self-conscious and don't often feel relaxed. (I still suffer from impostor syndrome, to some degree.)

It's an important lesson for conquering stage fright, because the problem is that it multiplies (like feedback!) if you think the audience can see it - and they can't. Not unless you really are red-faced and stumbling over your words - and even then it never looks as bad as it feels to you.
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Old 08-30-2020, 10:20 AM
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In my work as a recording engineer/producer this has real ramifications: musicians often mistake what they are feeling for how they are playing. Let me explain: When you are playing, you know how you are approaching each note and chord. You know when you loose concentration and struggle to land the next chord or note. Microseconds turn into lifetimes, etc. That can blind you to whether or not you actually pull it off. What's more, those feelings can linger for a good while, so that you still perceive your feelings rather than your actual performance. You remember what it took to pull of a particular move as you listen back. That's a good argument for two things:
a) this is part of what a producer is for. He is outside yourself and is only hearing the product, not the effort. He can tell you that you produced a success while you are still feeling the effort that went into it.
b) this is one of the reasons why people tell you to put space between the performance and a playback - so that the grip of the effort wears off and you are able to listen to it as a product, not an effort.

However, the ability to screen out your feelings and only listen to the product is a skill that can and should be developed. It is a skill that is highly useful if you are to work as sessions player.

Bob
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Old 08-30-2020, 12:22 PM
DaveKell DaveKell is offline
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Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
In my work as a recording engineer/producer this has real ramifications: musicians often mistake what they are feeling for how they are playing. Let me explain: When you are playing, you know how you are approaching each note and chord. You know when you loose concentration and struggle to land the next chord or note. Microseconds turn into lifetimes, etc. That can blind you to whether or not you actually pull it off. What's more, those feelings can linger for a good while, so that you still perceive your feelings rather than the actual performance.

Bob
Wow. This accurately sums up what I experienced. Good to know itís apparently a known phenomenon! I wasnít losing my grip altogether. Whew!
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Old 08-30-2020, 08:53 PM
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I've never performed, but we are our own worse critics.

That's why we keep practicing and improving, although not to our ears
Well you do share a lot of recordings with us so to me Iíve heard you perform a lot .
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Old 08-30-2020, 11:37 PM
DaveKell DaveKell is offline
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https://youtu.be/apWz-qFGfSU
Just by way of illustration, this is the original I played. You see itís semi long which prolonged my agony and brief desire to bail. This isnít from the open mic. I intended this as an Americana tune. I wrote it after seeing a framed pic in an antique shop. It was of a young mountain man looking guy sitting slumped in a chair on the porch of a rustic cabin. The porch was lined with flowerboxes containing obviously dead flowers. I imagined he had recently lost a woman in his life who planted the flowers. The lyrics became the man describing his woman in terms he would observe from his Appalachian environment. In my panic while performing this I thought people werenít absorbing the story but actually a few replies when the video was posted online by someone had complimentary remarks about it. The organizer of the event said she liked my style. Still, Iíd love to have been relaxed and confident when I played it. Now Iím gonna have to battle worries the anxiety will reoccur even though the video didnít reveal any traces of it!
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Last edited by DaveKell; 08-30-2020 at 11:45 PM.
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