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Skinnyman

Stage Fright/Nerves

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I’ve been lucky. I’ve never suffered from stage fright or nerves or performance anxiety (or is that one more of a bedroom thing?).

Anyway…

I’ve been in plays, I delivered speeches at conferences large and small and I’ve played bass at hundreds of gigs - and I’ve never suffered with nerves. A little extra adrenalin pumping round the system perhaps, and maybe the need to pee a bit more than usual beforehand but nothing that would affect my performance or even be noticeable.

I’ve now taken on Second Guitar duties in the band and so, for the first time, I’m playing guitar in front of other people.

And I’m bricking it. Even just at rehearsal. OK, once I’m a couple of songs in, things get back to normal but at the start I am shaking like the product tester at Ann Summers to the extent that I can’t even finger basic chords.

Hopefully, this will pass as I build confidence but it’s a very unusual and unnerving feeling and I don’t care for it one bit!

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50 minutes ago, ezbass said:

You’ll be fine as soon as you play the first note/chord/whatever.

So long as I can remember what it is and where it lives on the thingy. The sticky out thing with the lines on it.

Y’know. The flats. No, not flats. Like that though. Begins with an F.

Neck. That’s it. The neck.

Which doesn’t begin with an F.

Fretboard.

That’s the one.

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6 hours ago, Skinnyman said:

...And I’m bricking it...

The solution is simple enough, and you've given the clue to it, yourself ...

6 hours ago, Skinnyman said:

... I’ve been in plays, I delivered speeches at conferences large and small ...

Once on stage, deliver a speech to the audience (large or small...). Not for too long, naturally, or they'll all leave. -_-

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14 hours ago, Dad3353 said:

The solution is simple enough, and you've given the clue to it, yourself ...

Once on stage, deliver a speech to the audience (large or small...). Not for too long, naturally, or they'll all leave. -_-

Good idea.

Designing Systems for High Availability in Critical National Infrastructure always goes down well.

Or I could do them the Queen Mab speech from Romeo and Juliet.

That should break the ice 😁

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2 hours ago, Skinnyman said:

Good idea.

Designing Systems for High Availability in Critical National Infrastructure always goes down well.

Or I could do them the Queen Mab speech from Romeo and Juliet.

That should break the ice 😁

I’ve always liked the brief intro one of Crosby, Stills, Nash gave at Woodstock, “This is our first gig, we’re scared shïtless!”

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Never actually got scared, but I used to pace endlessly in the build-up to a gig. I've always thought that a degree of nervous energy is a good thing for a working musician.

I was never a huge fan of playing solo (despite spending a period doing solo cocktail gigs as well as being lead guitarist in most of the bands I played in - bar the bass gigs of course), but I loved playing small-format stuff and was lucky enough to work with some very talented female singers in acoustic duets.

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On 19/05/2021 at 17:04, Skinnyman said:

I’ve been lucky. I’ve never suffered from stage fright or nerves or performance anxiety (or is that one more of a bedroom thing?).

Anyway…

I’ve been in plays, I delivered speeches at conferences large and small and I’ve played bass at hundreds of gigs - and I’ve never suffered with nerves. A little extra adrenalin pumping round the system perhaps, and maybe the need to pee a bit more than usual beforehand but nothing that would affect my performance or even be noticeable.

I’ve now taken on Second Guitar duties in the band and so, for the first time, I’m playing guitar in front of other people.

And I’m bricking it. Even just at rehearsal. OK, once I’m a couple of songs in, things get back to normal but at the start I am shaking like the product tester at Ann Summers to the extent that I can’t even finger basic chords.

Hopefully, this will pass as I build confidence but it’s a very unusual and unnerving feeling and I don’t care for it one bit!

It's a flight or fight response because you feel threatened by the audience.  It's a bit like swimming though, it takes practice and a lot of tenancity if you're not naturally extroverted.  I had similar issues like you but had some training on public speaking at work and learned to distract myself from negative emotion by intellectualising the problem. 

Knowing your audience and feeling comfortable with them really makes a difference.  I tend to arrive early to an event and scrutinise everyone as they enter, usually from afar.  Those that make eye contact with me as they come in are top of my list as people to make eye contact with as I'm talking as they typically are alpha types and leaders.  So if I win them over by acknowledging them and playing to them, there's a good chance I can win the room.  Passion and energy also counts which usually isn't difficult to generate given the adrenaline.  Preparation and knowing your subject is critical for confidence and, lastly, just accept that you will make mistakes.  There's no avoiding it, just deal with them as graciously as you can.

Same applies to performing on stage but you have the luxury of not needing to speak as much (if at all).  If all else fails, just fake it until you make it.  Be the success you want to become.

Worst gig I ever had was depping for a blue band called Soul Kitchen in the place of Jim E Sims.  I had two weeks prep time for 14 songs and one rehearsal while still holding down a day job. The blues songs weren't straight forward either due to sudden stops and starts, changes in time signatures and keys,  extra sections like pre-choruses and I made a total hash of it. Literally a living hell on stage as I attempted to busk my way though the parts I was less familiar with.  The band were very gracious about it but I swore blind that this would be the last time I ever depped and it was.

Best gig I ever had must have been with my function band.  There was one night when the on stage mix was perfect.  I knew all the songs and liked them, the audience was buzzing and we were on fire.  Stuff happening like that is what we all live for as musicians but experiences like that won't come without taking risks.

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8 hours ago, Kiwi said:

It's a bit like swimming though, it takes practice and a lot of tenancity if you're not naturally extroverted.

That’s the odd thing as I would consider myself to be a bit of an extrovert (or show-off if you prefer). Certainly, something makes me want to keep getting onto a stage to perform in some way or other - there’s probably some deep psychological issue at the root of it all, probably something to do with being bottle fed or not having nappies changed or some such.

As far as nerves go, it’s literally just this, the guitar thing. And it’s not as if I’m doing any solos so, to an extent, I can “hide” in the mix if I need to.

I just find it odd that I (usually Mr Confident) am so affected by the prospect of playing a guitar in front of strangers. I’m sure it will pass and I’ll be back to being my usual smug, obnoxious, over-bearing self but right now this is strange territory for me and it feels…unsettling.

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3 hours ago, Skinnyman said:

That’s the odd thing as I would consider myself to be a bit of an extrovert (or show-off if you prefer).

Extroverts get their energy from other people, introverts get it from within themselves.  Introverts can find intense socialising exhausting while extroverts thrive on it.

3 hours ago, Skinnyman said:

I just find it odd that I (usually Mr Confident) am so affected by the prospect of playing a guitar in front of strangers. I’m sure it will pass and I’ll be back to being my usual smug, obnoxious, over-bearing self but right now this is strange territory for me and it feels…unsettling.

The intellectualisation technique will help as well as preparation.  Then just surf the wave of adrenaline on stage and take each minute as it happens.  There's only so much you can do.

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I went through a phase of being almost crippled by it, I think it had a lot to do with stress I was going through outside of music. I ended up on Prozac for a few months and it went , I'm pleased to say that it broke the cycle and I've been fine since. 
The nearest I got to serious stage fright since was when I accidentally became lead guitarist after a lifetime of bass or rhythm duties. I took a very systematic approach and worked out solos where I needed them with no improvisation , no stepping into the unknown.Early on I realised that I couldn't fill the previous guitarist's shoes but I could put on my size 12s and do it my way. I borrowed about 20% his stuff and filled in the gaps with what I was comfortable with. The band was well rehearsed and as someone said earlier as soon as I hit the first chord I was off. Not the most relaxed gig I ever played but no silly mistakes and no mistakes caused by worrying about making mistakes.
Just before we started one of the best guitarists I know came through the crowd and stood right in front of me....a few seconds later and for the duration of the gig he was dancing with a cheesy grin on his face.

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It’s the first gig as a guitarist this Saturday (private party outdoors following social distancing rules) so we’ll find out if the nerves are still a thing!

Preparation seems to be the key so I’d best go practice some more!

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You're in good company if you have a touch of the stage fright; Brian Wilson was regularly crippled with it  (to the extent of serious stomach cramps and vomiting) before he went on stage with the Beach Boys. It's one of the reasons he went off the deep end originally. 

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Excitement and nervousness share similar physiological symptoms, so adjusting your mindset can help..

If you like gigging, the next time you feel nervous about it, tell yourself 'I'm not nervous, I'm excited!' and smile while you're saying it.

"even a fake smile — can have a positive impact on mood. Essentially, triggering certain facial muscles by smiling can "trick" your brain into thinking you're happy".

Psychology innit! 😀

 

 

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Almost everything I've ever done I've had a little bit of a rush. I've been teaching law for twenty years now; in about twenty minutes I'm going online to do a lecture for a class in Beijing on Chinese Data Protection Law - been teaching this for over a decade now, and I'm legit getting an adrenaline rush right now. 

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17 hours ago, MacDaddy said:

Excitement and nervousness share similar physiological symptoms, so adjusting your mindset can help..

If you like gigging, the next time you feel nervous about it, tell yourself 'I'm not nervous, I'm excited!' and smile while you're saying it.

"even a fake smile — can have a positive impact on mood. Essentially, triggering certain facial muscles by smiling can "trick" your brain into thinking you're happy".

Psychology innit! 😀

 

 

This. All the this, in the world. 

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Here we are, the morning after my first gig* as a guitarist and I’m wondering what I was worried about.

Apart from the fact that it got really cold when the sun went in** which made fretting a challenge at times, everything went fine and the GR55 was incredible (hilarious watching people looking for the sax player when I did the solo in Dancing In The Moonlight).

A little tense before we started but any nerves there were, as @ezbass predicted, vanished as soon as I played the first note.

Thanks all for the wise words. 
 

*Private party outdoors, socially distanced and within the guidelines.

**That happens.

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On 28/05/2021 at 16:05, EdwardMarlowe said:

Almost everything I've ever done I've had a little bit of a rush. I've been teaching law for twenty years now; in about twenty minutes I'm going online to do a lecture for a class in Beijing on Chinese Data Protection Law - been teaching this for over a decade now, and I'm legit getting an adrenaline rush right now. 

*ears prick up*
I didn't know there was such a thing...

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2 hours ago, Skinnyman said:

Here we are, the morning after my first gig* as a guitarist and I’m wondering what I was worried about.

Apart from the fact that it got really cold when the sun went in** which made fretting a challenge at times, everything went fine and the GR55 was incredible (hilarious watching people looking for the sax player when I did the solo in Dancing In The Moonlight).

A little tense before we started but any nerves there were, as @ezbass predicted, vanished as soon as I played the first note.

Thanks all for the wise words. 
 

*Private party outdoors, socially distanced and within the guidelines.

**That happens.

Glad it all went swimmingly. 

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On 30/05/2021 at 09:51, Skinnyman said:

Here we are, the morning after my first gig* as a guitarist and I’m wondering what I was worried about.

Apart from the fact that it got really cold when the sun went in** which made fretting a challenge at times, everything went fine and the GR55 was incredible (hilarious watching people looking for the sax player when I did the solo in Dancing In The Moonlight).

A little tense before we started but any nerves there were, as @ezbass predicted, vanished as soon as I played the first note.

Thanks all for the wise words. 
 

*Private party outdoors, socially distanced and within the guidelines.

**That happens.

Well that's not very exciting.

I was hoping you'd throw up on the front row or something.

🙂

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16 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Well that's not very exciting.

I was hoping you'd throw up on the front row or something.

🙂

Social distancing meant that I could only have got one or two at best so not really worth it. 😂

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On 30/05/2021 at 10:40, Kiwi said:

*ears prick up*
I didn't know there was such a thing...

Yeah, huge developments there since 2012. In a few months' time there's going to be a huge leap forward: to date, China has always stuck to a sectoral approach (specific rules for specific areas), but the end of 2021/ early 2022 will see the arrival of the Personal Information Protection Law, China's first omnibus data protection law. Basically an equivalent of the EU's GDPR, and very. very similar. There's a big likelihood this could be enough to take China over the edge for the EC to declare it as having "adequate protection" equivalent to the EU. The commercial drive for this is huge, of course, as China wants to expand its ecommerce market into Europe and would love an EU trade deal.

I'm sure there's room for objective criticism, though it's kind of a speck / log thing coming from the UK, where - no longer fully bound by the GDPR - the government is currently on a serious data grab of your personal health information  - if you don't opt out by 23rd June, they will take all your GP's information on you forever, and there's a separate one for the national NHS. All snuck out undercover of the pandemic - and none of it would have been remotely legal until 31st January past. 

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6 hours ago, EdwardMarlowe said:

Yeah, huge developments there since 2012. In a few months' time there's going to be a huge leap forward: to date, China has always stuck to a sectoral approach (specific rules for specific areas), but the end of 2021/ early 2022 will see the arrival of the Personal Information Protection Law, China's first omnibus data protection law. Basically an equivalent of the EU's GDPR, and very. very similar. There's a big likelihood this could be enough to take China over the edge for the EC to declare it as having "adequate protection" equivalent to the EU. The commercial drive for this is huge, of course, as China wants to expand its ecommerce market into Europe and would love an EU trade deal.

I'm sure there's room for objective criticism, though it's kind of a speck / log thing coming from the UK, where - no longer fully bound by the GDPR - the government is currently on a serious data grab of your personal health information  - if you don't opt out by 23rd June, they will take all your GP's information on you forever, and there's a separate one for the national NHS. All snuck out undercover of the pandemic - and none of it would have been remotely legal until 31st January past. 

Do you have links for the opt-out?

 

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