Being nervous makes my hands shake

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


  1. diego

    diego Member

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    Any inbetween steps you can take? Playing for smaller amounts of people? Inviting friends to a rehearsal.

    Ever practice a body scan or progressive muscle relaxation exercises? When you see classical pianists come on stage, sit, and take a moment before playing they are sometimes putting themselves back in their bodies.

    FWIW, I've seen a good number of genius level players come out with the shakes, but then calm down...

    Some interesting reading:

    https://www.fripp.com/robert-fripps-brief-approach-to-nervousness-in-performance/
     
  2. Gookiecrunch

    Gookiecrunch Member

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    I actually made a similar thread a few months back... sweating, gross hand sweat, super shaky, anxiety like a mofo! It was very hard to force myself to play through that. You know that.
    My advice... go to jams play smaller shows, get yourself used to playing in front if people. Quit thinking.
    I find every single time I think of what am I going to play, how should I start my solo... Oh **** are they going to play a 2 beat? I play like crap! If I don't think. I play better.
    Just go out and play you will get over it.
     
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  3. Tootone

    Tootone Member

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    More practice and stage time WILL reduce the nerves. And soon you will be fine. For now, just go with it and think about the music not the audience.
     
  4. KHK

    KHK Silver Supporting Member

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    Simple songs to start are good as is slowing your breathing. I like to get the material in my head rather than thoughts of nervousness so that when the first tune is called, you’re already engaged. Whatever helps to avoid a cold start so to speak. It definitely goes away once you stop thinking about nerves and only leave room for the music in your head. Everybody deals with it at first. Good luck
     
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  5. mbezch

    mbezch Member

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    I have not paid attention to my breathing in those moments, so thats probably a great start. I have some experience with yoga and meditation so I will start there.

    No, not really. The whiskey thing was more of a joke. I do think a beer can help loosen people up but it does not work in this case
     
  6. mbezch

    mbezch Member

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    This is a pickup band playing 3 songs for a christmas variety show. I have very little stage experience, maybe 5-6 times and all short sets. I expect it would go away over a longer set.
     
  7. Barquentine

    Barquentine Member

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    There's your answer - it's simply lack of experience. I played my first gig when I was 17 in a state of abject terror. 40 years later I still get a few butterflies.
     
  8. kooper156

    kooper156 Member

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    Propranolol is awesome. It is a Beta Blocker that is usually used for blood pressure, but it's off label use for stage fright was a well kept little secret among classical musicians for years. My doctor prescribed me some years ago. The first time I took it, I felt the liberation of playing in front of a large audience without the physical symptoms of being nervous. I didn't just feel better, I played better. After using it for a while, I didn't even need it anymore. It was like I had re-trained myself.
     
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  9. Teal_66

    Teal_66 Member

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    What I do is that I tell myself, "Nobody cares if you mess up. It's not going to matter.
    I'm just going to have fun, because I'm up on the stage - and the people in the crowd aren't. If I make a mistake, I won't care."


    This worked for me. Just putting myself in that realm of thinking sort of relaxes the nerves - and helps me have fun easier.
     
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  10. QuarterTone

    QuarterTone Member

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    I think experience playing live is the only thing that makes this go away. You just naturally build that confidence that you know what you're doing and you get used to playing live. You get used to covering small mistakes and even if you make a big one it's way less of a problem than you think.
     
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  11. Ejay

    Ejay Member

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    Ive gone from the same symptoms...to couldnt care less to play for 10k audiences.....to being nervous a little again doing my first bebop gigs.....to being comfortable again.

    Its part of the journey...some get rid of it...some always remain a little tenced...but idnk of any frequent players where it remains an issue.

    Try to do some more of what your doing...and it will be like the problem of dogshit on your pavement...it will disseaper even if you do nothing ;)
     
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  12. mbezch

    mbezch Member

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    Thank you all, that was really helpful!
     
  13. HaroldBrooks

    HaroldBrooks Member

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    Here's what I've done in the past... Prior to playing each song, imagine yourself doing great and everybody cheering ( Lot's of times they do ! but not on each song).

    Now when you get up to play, If you are improvising, play as few notes as you can get away with. That's right, a solo with 10 notes or so. Hang onto each note, vibrato, bend... slide into it, easy stuff, nothing fast.

    You need to warm up ! don't try to knock their socks off for the first 15 minutes, take it easy and make the notes sing ! Once you start to play and see that no one is calling you out (Not like here sometimes... LOL), you will gain confidence and stamina. Keep thinking positive !!! If you make mistakes, ROLL right over them. Warm up to it. Shelve the fast and tricky stuff for later. Make sure your set list is designed around this.

    Don't get used to drinking, as others mentioned it is a crutch, you don't need it, and you can get past it.

    The high you get with playing on the mark (later on in the night) is better than any drug could ever be IMHO, and won't injure you in the least, but be warned, it's highly addictive !!! Go out and do your best, we have all been just were you are !
     
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  14. mbell75

    mbell75 Member

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    Some people just aren't cut out to be rock stars :p

    Weed...depending on what state you're in of course ;)
     
  15. John Thigpen

    John Thigpen Member

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    That shaking is just pre-vibrato. Channel it into your vibrato.
     
  16. lowyaw

    lowyaw Member

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    Just plow through it. Do it as often as you can. Ypu'll get used to the feeling.
     
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  17. Kyle B

    Kyle B Supporting Member

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    When I started gigging 'for real' about 16 years ago, I thought the butterflies were gonna tear their way out of my stomach like the monster in 'Alien'. Now, nada. Just keep doing it, the feelings will go away eventually.

    Consider this.... It's almost certain you are one of the best guitarists in that room at that time. Most people do not play, so to them you are awesome :) Go with that.
     
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  18. Yer Blues

    Yer Blues Member

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    I don't think there are any tricks. The more you gig the easier it gets. My hands use to shake when I was a kid, but now it's all good. At this point pretty much everything that can go wrong has gone wrong and I've lived to gig again.
     
  19. jb70

    jb70 Member

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    i used to have this problem when i played violin. my bowing hand would shake when i played in front of people (this happened in high school and college a lot). i had the reputation of being a very good player and we were all being graded and judged critically. i think the pressure eventually got to me. i tried taking beta blockers and it really had little to no effect. this habit carried over when i started playing guitar professionally. my first professional gig was playing in a funk band in cincinnati, ohio. we were playing in clubs around the city and i would get nervous and my hands would shake. it took about 3 or 4 gigs to realize that NOBODY cared what i was doing or what i sounded like. they were there to get drunk, get laid and have a good time. once i realized this, i could play as well as i did at home or at rehearsal. the solution to your problem is to keep playing live and you will be as loose and free as you are at home. good luck and keep at it!
     
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  20. Kyle B

    Kyle B Supporting Member

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    LOL

    So true....
     
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