How to get over nervousness???

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by papersoul, Dec 22, 2009.


  1. papersoul

    papersoul Supporting Member

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    Hey guys,

    I must confess at some rehearsals and always at a gig, I am a nervous mess! This is to the point my hands can shake and I sound sloppy. I can do so much more at home than I can in front of people. It is frustrating because I feel I could perform so much better if I could get past this issue!

    I can get through rhtyhm no problem but leads are hell. My hands will shake and they get clammy and stick to the strings, etc. Terrible.

    Any help?
     
  2. small axe

    small axe Member

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    sedatives....or forget the audience and play the music with your soul into it
     
  3. harmonicator

    harmonicator Supporting Member

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    avoid caffeine.

    maybe have 1 shot or a beer before the show.

    remember to BREATH.

    warm up a little on guitar before playing the gig.

    humor: laugh at funny ****.

    Remember that nobody in attendance watching really all that much gives a crap about you and your playing, only you do. They're all there to have fun, hook up with someone, or maybe dance. No one is there to put you under a microscope. Most people in public are "in their own heads", just like you. Outside of having a full blown seizure on stage or wild feedback, not much will stir the herd. Tell yourself it's just another band rehearsal. After awhile, you will finally loosen up and feel better about connecting with the audience.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  4. TommyMambo

    TommyMambo Member

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    Use it to your advantage, and picture the audience naked.
     
  5. jiml

    jiml Supporting Member

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    Lay off the smoke.....

    Seriuosly, just learn to channel it, and it may help. Adrenaline is a good thing! It's just rehearsal, don't get caught up in the performance aspects of the tunes (some tunes we don't even solo in during rehearsals, just get the timing and the feel together).

    Put the easiest tunes early in the first set too...
     
  6. therhodeo

    therhodeo Member

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    Be very careful with this one. I never drink and play but have been around plenty of people who decide its a good idea and 1 shot leads to 2 and 2 to 3....................
     
  7. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    Nervous at practice? More experience is the only cure; I've never been nervous at practice. Confidence in your bandmates is key as well. I used to play in a band that I didn't have much confidence in and I got very nervous as our first bar gig approached. That first show did not go nearly as bad as I thought it would and in fact it was pretty good. After that the pre-gig nervousness gradually lessened to the point of being pretty much non-existent. I'm playing with a group now that I have TOTAL confidence in and I get pretty pumped to go onstage because I know it's gonna be good.

    All that said, I think a little bit of anxiousness is OK as long as it is not crippling. You need to be on your toes in order to perform.

    This might be part of your problem. Playing a gig is not about showing all that you can do. It's about playing parts and songs. If you look at it that way instead of trying to impress people with your skills, you might be able to move past this issue. No matter how well you play, there will always be better guitarists. In my case, MANY and MUCH better guitarists! Knock 'em out by being a rock solid team player in a very tight band.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  8. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    Just being well rehearsed really helps. Knowing the material front and back gives you confidence to know that even at your worse, I'm sure you're still pretty good.

    Don't get in the habit of taking shots, pills etc,, It just isn't a good habit to get into, and you can't rely on anything everytime you get on stage.

    drinking caffeine before a gig probably doesn't do you much good either.

    Stop taking it so serious, and just have fun. :)
     
  9. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    More good advice. The audience will feed off you, so have fun.
     
  10. edwardsforest

    edwardsforest Member

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    Prior to show:
    - warm up
    - Laugh and Joke
    - be at ease with the atmosphere you are in; feel as if you know where you are and you've been to the place you are many times before. I feel like one's surroundings is key to presence and confidence. If anything, take off and go play for a second where no one is.
    - don't look at the crowd/bandmates/others around you. Look at your amp as if you were at home jamming. This might not work if you are the star of the show hahaha.
    - confidence is key, but remember, walking out with a smirk on your face and nose in the air, and blowing it big time, isn't very satisfying and humble.
    - concentrate: this has always been a weird one with me. I feel like sometimes If I concentrate, I will play everything grade and spot on and I'll end up forgetting who is around me and what I am doing. HOWEVER, concentrating also leads to trying to play everything perfectly and you are bound to mess up due to that nervousness of trying to play everything correct.

    Alcohol? (not recommended)
     
  11. clothwiring

    clothwiring Supporting Member

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    You have to go in there like you don't give a crap about wherever you are...then put your heart and soul into playing.
     
  12. harmonicator

    harmonicator Supporting Member

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    yeah, if you know you are bad with alcohol...don't drink.

    here's another one. Have something to eat about 30 min to an hour before going on. low blood sugar can cause you to feel wacky. Some carbs and protein are a good idea. Also helps keep your energy levels up all nite.

    and another one: sometimes when I get nervous, all the blood goes from my extremities to my chest/center of gravity, leaving my hands and feet cold. running warm water over my hands helps to warm them back up and also feels relaxing.
     
  13. jpervin

    jpervin Supporting Member

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    This ^^^
     
  14. chaos

    chaos Member

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    I hear and focus better when I close my eyes. Although I rarely get nervous anymore, I sometimes lose focus and that leads to the same results you describe from your nervousness. My solution is to close my eyes and focus on the music - listen and play.

    Good luck,

    Chaos
     
  15. guitarmook

    guitarmook Member

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    I would examine exactly what it is that you're nervous about...

    are you nervous about not playing well? You know you can play well, as you do it at home.

    are you nervous about 'looking foolish' if you miss something? Most people aren't hanging on every note, and if you gloss over it, they won't notice - besides... you can play well, as you do it at home.

    Breaking it down logically, and understanding that I really don't have anything to BE nervous about, especially nothing that will really leave a lasting impact, helps me to let it go.

    Now, I get nervous sometimes, if I know we're going to have a big crowd, or we're playing someplace new, but it's a good nervous, that goes away with the first verse.

    So - What are you really nervous about?
     
  16. Luke

    Luke Senior Member

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  17. Jamie_Mitchell

    Jamie_Mitchell Member

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    Are you gigging regularly?/Have you done alot of gigs?
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  18. devinb

    devinb Member

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    My advice would be to expose yourself to the situation enough that your response to it lessens...it's sort of like getting in a pool...the water's cold, you know it's cold, if you stick your toe in, then your foot, it feels cold, but if you jump in, after a minute your body gets used to it...put yourself in the situation enough that you get used to it.

    Try not to over think things ahead of time.

    You can also look into some sort of Beta Blockers, I know plenty of people who took them before juries and auditions and such...
     
  19. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    Do you really know your parts. Playing them in your sleep at rehearsal?

    If that's the case, repeat that mantra to yourself..."I know my ****" "I can do this" etc.


    Drinking is a bad idea. Caffeine isn't going to help either, actually promoting nerves and sweating.

    There are several books on anxiety and how to cope with it on the stage.

    You may want to talk to your DR. about beta blockers. I've never taken them, but some high level performers use them.


    When I've gotten nervous in the past, it's usually because I have a good reason to be....I was under prepared. Not a good thing.

    A little nervous energy is fine and is usable. If hand shakes are coming into the equation, it's time to address it. I'll get that adrenaline rush in any high-profile situation, noted musicians in the audience, etc.

    Consider looking into a meditative activity or some breathing exercises.
     
  20. cmc2878

    cmc2878 Member

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    I'm currently in an undergrad classical guitar program and a lot of the other guys struggle with nerves.

    Eating shortly before a performance helps, bananas or other potassium rich foods help...no caffeine as stated before.

    I like to do a little breathing exercise I got from vocal warm-ups to calm and center myself before a big gig. Pick a relatively slow tempo. Inhale for 4 beats, hold your breath for 7 beats, and exhale for 8 beats. The goal is to kind of regulate your breathing, you should be out of air on the last of 8 beats. Repeat this a few times.

    I would recommend reading a book called: The Inner Game of Tennis. It's been a help for a lot of my fellow music majors who struggle with nerves.
     

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