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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-11-2001, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2001
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blame it on the jem....:( * *lol - ..about me screwing up in

There was a talent show at my highschool last night and i performed 3 acts. 2 of them were with the school jazz band, which we played Satin Doll and Tea for Two (Cha-Cha, Ha,Ha) and the last was with our pep band. The theme was James Bond, and i was chosen to do the classic james bond guitar riff, you know that one...its in the song goldfinger. wow...everything went great until my little solo, which i totally choked , is anyone else nervous when it comes to these things? anyways, it sucked....i nailed out the solo a million times with a metronome. it was really bad...does anyone know how i can become less nervous? *:idunno:
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-11-2001, 10:00 AM
Join Date: Aug 2001
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blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

To get free of nervosity, you have to play infront of other people... like jam with your pals and what not. If one other person than me is listening while i play i play almost 50% worse than when im alone. It's sick but true... *I have been on stage about 6-7 times with the guitar, and the first time it felt like i had never touched a guitar in my whole life. The cure is to get use to other people hearing what you play. If you are not used to be on stage, dont worry, time will cure that... Just live with it and it will go away... *

When im up on stage and are about to play, i use to roll down the volume to 0 and warm up with some fast flurrys of notes and what not. That use to help me a lot.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-11-2001, 10:12 AM
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Location: Central New York
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blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

I think it's a matter of doing it enough (like anything else) to the point where it becomes comfortable. Don't worry about it -everyone chokes - just not in front of 500 people! :-o

Whatever you do, just keep doing it. Don't let one bad experience keep you from getting up there again.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-11-2001, 11:10 AM
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Location: Munich/Bavaria
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blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

Yes it's a matter doing it enough. What you can do is drinking one beer before giging. That relaxes. But not more than one!
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-11-2001, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Dec 2000
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blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

The practice certainly helps! *But you also have to practice being on stage and doing it. *This is gonna sound a little 'tony robbins', but: *
•Love the stage, and it will love you back. *
•Love the crowd, and they will love you back.
•Self-confidence isn't something that can be practiced with a metronome.

I've been on stage hundreds of times. *Doesn't matter if it's 4 people in the bar or 200, I still flub solos (or throw out a WEAK one). *But it's the times that you pull one out- phrasing is right, tone is great, timing is on, that girl in the front row winks at you- when all those flubs disappear.

Here's a little anecdote that might make you feel a bit better:
It's an open jam at a local bar that I really like going to. *The people are cool and the host band is awesome. *I sign up on the list right behind this guy named Tommy Burns. *As I warmup and get ready for my turn on stage, I keep thinking about the name: Tommy Burns. *Where have I heard that before? *I'm sure I know him from somewhere...oh well, back to practicing.
They call Tommy up on stage. *He and the band decided on a couple of songs, then the host says, "Ladies and Gentlemen, from Billy Joel's band....Tommy Burns!" *

My practicing stopped as my heart sank to my shoes.

I knew he lived here on Long Island, but I didn't expect him to show up at a litle rinky-dink bar in Oceanside! *Well, Tommy RIPPED thru a few Zep covers and did one Billy Joel tune before exiting the stage to the cheers of the packed bar. *He took a seat at the front of the bar (which is also closest to the front of the stage). *I say to myself, "he's really good!". *
Then it hits me: *I'm up next.
The host calls my name. *I'm shaking like Katherine Hepburn in a helicopter. *How can I follow Billy frickin' Joel's guitarist? I mean, he's only played for MILLIONS of people...with Billy. *Ok- I'll just keep it simple, do my couple of songs, then getthehell off the stage. *Simple Kev-simple. *
Red House. *Simple enough, right?

Wrong. *

The keyboard player wants to do it in Am; I say Bm. *For some reason, the drummer piped up and said Em (f-ing drummers). *I thought we had agreed on that's where I start. *Oops. *The keyboardist started in Am. *
But then it only gets worse- as I switch keys, so does he. *We do this for the first 20 seconds of the song...COMPLETELY botching the intro. *It was bad.
The whole time- Tommy is in the front frickin' row. *Staring directly at me.
I finally say to myself, "f-it. *It's only one night. *It could be worse- Glen could be in that seat instead of Tommy."LMAO *Without further botching, I get thru the other songs. *The keyboardist (term used loosely) shrugs his shoulders at me as I give him the "thanks for making me look like a tool" facial expression.

As I talk with Tommy and the other guitarists later, he says to me, "It's ok man...those damn keyboard guys."
The little joke meant more to me than it did to him.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-11-2001, 11:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 101
blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

Hey man,
* * * * When i used to be in the school's jazz band i used to get a little nervous, but after a while that went away. *Maybe it was cause i was unfamiliar with the style when i first started playing with them. *Yeah, play infront of people alot helps. *You know what else helps, play infront of a mirror. *If you dont have to watch yourself, you become more confident. *Watching the mirror is totally backwards, so you basically have to not watch your hands. *I love playing live. *My band has actually been called upon a few times VERY short notice to do like smooth jazz "gathering entertainment." *(does anyone else know any metal bands that do this on the side?) *Anyways, twice we've gone and right before we start playing... "So...what are we playing tonight?" *That is the last thing you ever want to hear. *Trust me. *We dont do covers either. *Improv. *Straight through. *If you can pull that stuff off smoothly, you can play anywhere. *You know what though, i was taking some music classes my first semester in college and i had a class that was a performance grade. *Basically we had to perform infron of the class twice. *Ok no prob. *I was always jamming before class anyways, and I knw the pieces by memory! *Damn let me tell you, i dont know what it was, but everytime that stupid teacher sat there in this little theater staring at my as i play, damn i freaked. *I was like shaking as i played! *I couldn't believe it. *That had never happened before. *I think it was the teacher and the certain enviorment. *I wasnt comfortable playing in there for a grade. *We should have taken it elsewhere. *
* * * * If you do get nervous...and you totally make a mistake play it off, but laugh it too. *Alot of people say dont show it. *Ok, depends on the situation. *Alot of people dont catch musical mistakes. (unless they are in your performing group) *Damn though, it is the funniest thing to see a keyboardist whisk through beautiful harmonies and melodic lines til he hits like a minor second by accident! *HA. *I laugh my ass off. *Its great, cause even they freak. *So unexpected. *
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-11-2001, 07:08 PM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 242
blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

i so know this feeling, and pretty much everyone is right.. its all because most of us aren't used to tons of people critiquing our every move and gesture.

but take lessons from what alot of stage performers do (i.e. Vai, or any other flashy, high-energy guitar player or whatever for example). they seem to have an "alter ego" for the stage. they could be the shyest, most innocent little dude off the stage, but once they get on, they are the raging engine of death to kill us all with their monster chops and what not.

the trick that i learned is (like other people have said) practice in front of a mirror for a while, just look at the mirror, not at your hands. try to get comfortable with the way you look performing. be silly, whatever. if you are jamming with friends, make sure to have people there that you DON'T know or that you aren't exactly comfortable with. this is where you can establish that "stage identity". just try to act as cool and confident as possible, inject a big dose of silliness and craziness too. just do alot of laughing and loosening up, but don't get *TOO* loose. also try to get as familiar with the piece of music as possible so that you can play it flawlessly without even thinking. also play something that *ISN'T* at the extreme range of your ability, something simpler so that you can relax and do it with ease. that's where practicing in front of the mirror or in front of people you don't know comes in. just invite some chicks or friends of friends or whatever to your bands practices (but don't let them touch the gear!!!!). just act as if you are god and they are just the audience and your confidence will build. but don't go out there and play vai, yngwie, satriani, and gilbert songs in your first performance!!! just go and play something simple enough that you don't have to think about it, so that you can use your excess brain energy to relax and enhance your stage presence. just remember that YOU are the guitarist, and that this is a good time to do your swaggering steve vai impersonation because it looks good when you can play something flawlessly and look cool and fun when you're doing it too.

so basically RELAX and get used to playing in front of people

good luck! :biggrin:
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-11-2001, 08:32 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Ottawa, ON
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blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

Lots of practice playing in front of other people is the only thing that worked for me. I'm still nervous to some degree every time I play in front of a bunch of people, but I remember that the nerves could be debilitating at first. Get an acoustic and drag it around to parties and inflict your shakey unplugged renditions of whatever's hot on the radio on your friends and acquaintances at every opportunity. After a few months of that, playing in front of a gym full of strangers will be a relief *
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-11-2001, 10:35 PM
Join Date: Apr 2001
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blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

and, if its in you, make it funny...

i dunno, i've figured out that doing my keneally or zappa style stage attitude is so much more fulfilling than just going out there and trying to be steve vai. it will loosen you up, and if you make whoever laugh, then it will be a longer lasting effect.

then again, i could just be listening to too much zappa

:loco: aahhhhhh

And the secret word for tonight is...
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-11-2001, 10:49 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
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blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

Great stories!

Back in the day, when I performed all the time, I though nothing of it... No fear! Then I didn't play for a really long time.

When I climbed on stage at Jemfest I was thinking to myself, "no problem, you have done this so many times in your life", but when I stood and looked out at my piers every muscle in my body locked up, my hands went numb and I couldn't even remember where the key of E was on the freboard.

It's weird stuff. Like Kevan said, it takes practise.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-12-2001, 06:12 AM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: North London, innit bruv, safe, UK
Posts: 1,722
blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

Man.... I know what you mean, the sheer fear of being on stage... The only way I ever got over it was by having hair(to hide behind), deciding I didn't care about what people thought and just playing. Once you get into it, then it's damn cool. Part of the rush. Having said that, after not having played in front of people for years simon convinced me to play on stage at jemfest this year, and I totally botched that. Was far too nervous, and did end up shaking... Better luck next time... Just play in fron tof freinds/people etc. Normally they don't notice the mistakes that you do, seriously!

But man, if you botch something, it doesn't matter! Just play the same thing again, that way everyone thinks you are using artistic freedom (or some very starnge scale)!
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-12-2001, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Apr 2001
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blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

Just play man ! Forgot all around you and Play Your Guitar !
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-12-2001, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Manchester, England
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blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

There's a great book that'll help you called the 'Inner Game of Music' by Barry Green and Tim Gallwey (ISBN: 0330300172) cost about $10. *It has some great tips and exercises to overcome stage fear. *I find it hard to even RECORD myself playing ina casette player in th eprivacy of my own home, but this book helped me.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-13-2001, 01:57 AM
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blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

Experience is my remedy for nervousness. The more you play in front of people, the easier it gets. After a while it just feels as natural as playing at home or better. Some of my best improv solos have been at live shows. You feed off the energy of the crowd and it's all good after that. After a while, you have to worry about screwing up just because of plain stupidity. I muffed a song because I totally forgot the chord structure 2 secs before we played. My bassist had to coax me through it...terrible. And the worst is to play when you drunk. At least when you're nervous, you know when you're flubbing. When you'e drunk, you think you're playing like John Mclaughlin, but you're actually playing like Adam Sandler! Uh! bad memories (or should I say lack of them!)
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-13-2001, 07:34 AM
Join Date: Mar 2001
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blame it on the jem....:( * *lol

Stage fright is bad, I know it . You can ask your light guy to put some very bright lights in front of you so you will never see the crowd (usually they do it without asking). Play with your eyes closed.
I thought I had no stage fright at all. I used to perform in front of large audiences without any problems, but after a break from playing when I recently went to local pub to play something for maybe 10 people I was shaking .
I rember one gig at really big venue, when sound guy put by mistake bass player to my monitor. I had to watch noise gate light, because I didn't even know if I was playing or not.
The second nice one was when my keyboard player screwed something and his synth (poly 800, anyone remeber this ?) hung up and we were forced to play over one chord (pretty weird one) for whole song.
Third one was, when my bassman was sick and his sickness showed between songs, when he went to adjust his floor effects and he just went asleep. Really, no kidding. He was sleeping in front of around 1000 people audience.. on stage.
But the most scary thing I have ever seen was one band which was using half playback and suddendly their tape started to slow down. I was rolling on the floor...
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