Being nervous makes my hands shake

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by mbezch, Dec 3, 2017.


  1. mbezch

    mbezch Supporting Member

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    I know my parts perfectly. Can nail them consistently and repeatedly in practice both at home and with the band. As soon as its front of a room full of people my hands start to shake really badly and I can't play.

    Couple of beers don't make it go away. Maybe I'll try whiskey next.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    Very often, this is a matter of how you go out there. Kinda like:

    "OMG, I'm so nervous and there's people watching my dumb @$$!"

    vs.

    "Now let's put those hours of practice and rehearsing to good use and rock the house, yeah!"

    Quite obviously, the latter is what you want. Often it just takes some time and a few gigs, but it's also about adjusting your state of mind.
    It's also about feeling comfortable with possible mistakes that may (and most likely will) happen. 99% of all listeners simply won't notice. There's nobody showing up after the gig, telling you "hm, in tune X that B was supposed to be a C, right?". It's just not happening.
    In other words: Just be confident. There's no reasons not to be.
     
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  3. RodTruss

    RodTruss Member

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    Medication.
    A drug called Propranolol was designed to fight the physical symptoms of stage fright and Anxiety.
     
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  4. stratamania

    stratamania Member

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    I would advise avoiding alcohol or medication. They are just crutches and not a solution.

    Get out and play more, or go out in the street and go and say hello to a hundred people. That ought to overcome some nervousness. Keep going until it does.
     
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  5. ivers

    ivers Member

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    How is your breathing? Do you have control over that. or do you start to overbreathe when being nervous? For me, the shaking decreased after I improved my breathing, and focused on breathing slowly and quietly in and out of the nose, letting the diaphragm do its job.
     
  6. russ6100

    russ6100 Member

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    a beta blocker?
     
  7. RodTruss

    RodTruss Member

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    yes
     
  8. russ6100

    russ6100 Member

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    Years ago, I went from bedroom guitarist to full-timing it, often playing some fairly big rooms. There wasn't the usual transition involving keg parties etc, so I was understandably a bit wound up. Not so much fright, but more really excited.

    My hands would sweat and would get gunked up on the guitar neck's lacquered finish.

    For a while I tried corn starch - imagine what people thought who saw a plastic baggie of corn starch sitting on top of my rig!

    I insisted on a shot & a beer before I went on. It was effective, and after a while, it wasn't necessary, as you just get used to the environment.

    In retrospect, I would recommend against drinking / medication. Just play out as much and as often as you can - you will get more comfortable up there.
     
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  9. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    Amen to that. No medication/alcohol/drugs (ok, unless it's for those creative moments, but that's something entirely different).
     
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  10. NortheastHick

    NortheastHick Supporting Member

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    Serious question. Are you a heavy drinker?
     
  11. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    The Alexander Technique?
     
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  12. blue62

    blue62 Member

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    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) & particularly its focus on mindfulness practices can help with anxiety. There are plenty of simple and accessible books on ACT. "The happiness trap" is good.
    The use of breathing as has been mentioned, orienting yourself to time and place (counting the corners in the room or naming objects) and counter intuitively not trying to fight nerves but rather accepting them and paying attention to the sensations while slowing down the breath. By slowing the respiration down you actually send a message to the nervous system not to panic and go into fight or flight responses.
    The practice of Yoga, Thai Chi or a martial art & meditation will help develop control over the body in time.
    I used to be a big drinker before gigs. Now its stone cold sober and mindfulness all the way before shows.
     
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  13. Hallogallo

    Hallogallo Member

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    Do a search for breathing techniques to help control your automatic nervous system.
    I'd avoid both the legal and the illegal drugs for this. They will, at best, cover up the problem and, at worst, exacerbate the underlying causes.
     
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  14. skydog

    skydog Supporting Member

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    I'm pretty sure this is short term only.
     
  15. Bb7

    Bb7 Supporting Member

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    YOGA
     
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  16. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Make sure the first 3 soungs are totally simple.

    I had that too the first few times I played live. Threw up once before going on. Months later I was so bored with the tunes and playing live it was no different than walking into McDonalds and ordering a hamburger. You get use to it and its nothing.
     
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  17. sitedrifter

    sitedrifter Gold Supporting Member

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    Couple of tokes on a joint that will calm you down.
     
  18. boyce89976

    boyce89976 Supporting Member

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    If you know the parts and can nail them repeatedly, you should be confident enough to pull them off live. I find that I get nervous when I lose focus on the song and the band.

    If I'm focused on the band and the parts I'm playing, and most importantly focused on HAVING FUN NO MATTER WHAT, the nerves aren't an issue.
     
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  19. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    I did a national TV special a few years ago that had one big guitar feature. I didn't realize my hands were shaking till I saw the video. Shaking like my first day at the penitentiary.
     
  20. Barquentine

    Barquentine Member

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    So, you're in a band and gigging it would seem. How do you make it through a gig ? How often are you gigging ?
     

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