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#1123529 - 01/31/17 11:53 PM Meds for stagefright?  
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pathardy Offline
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pathardy  Offline
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Every now and then, like a sudden panic attack, when gigging, I'll get a bad case of stage fright. Awful, I hate that feeling, like any minute I'm going to forget everything and be standing there -- everyone looking at me like I'm a loon. Never actually happens, but the fright does come and go from time to time. Someone once told me there is medicine that alleviates it, but the drawback is that you're playing is affected somewhat. Anyone ever heard of this? Maybe some herb, or something ( not weed, that makes it worse for me smile ).

Last edited by pathardy; 01/31/17 11:54 PM.
#1123531 - 02/01/17 12:01 AM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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Hey Pat,

I always consult the Web Doctor: http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/stage-fright-performance-anxiety

Anyway, yes, I always had the panic attacks (butterflies too) prior to walking on stage. However, once I was out there I had no problem.

I think it can be a plus if you can funnel that nervous energy.

Best, John smile

#1123538 - 02/01/17 03:48 AM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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Warblemusic Offline
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Originally Posted by pathardy

Every now and then, like a sudden panic attack, when gigging, I'll get a bad case of stage fright. Awful, I hate that feeling, like any minute I'm going to forget everything and be standing there -- everyone looking at me like I'm a loon. Never actually happens, but the fright does come and go from time to time. Someone once told me there is medicine that alleviates it, but the drawback is that you're playing is affected somewhat. Anyone ever heard of this? Maybe some herb, or something ( not weed, that makes it worse for me smile ).


It's just like any other kind of anxiety, there are medicines like Xanax and stuff like that, but unless you have a Michael Jackson kind of Doctor, you won't get many to prescribe them regularly, and not without having you lay down on the couch lol. Any medicine will grow weaker over time and you will need more to do thesame thing, in other words don't get into that, that's some nasty stuff

There are herbs like valerian root and St. John's wort that supposedly have a mild effec, I never tried them

A safe, natural alternative is meditation, or even visualization, where you sit and imagine the scene where you will be playing, and imagine how confident you are, and how calm you are. Imagine the crowd really enjoying your music.

Also if you play often enough it will go away

I remember when I started doing w two man gig with a buddy of mine. I was cool with playing to a few people at the bar, but my friend was like the mayor, he kept calling me and telling me about so and so will be coming, suddenly I started getting a little nervous

I decided I'd drink my way through it. But I was careful not to get too clumsy. I came in with about 3 beers in me, and then drank another bout every half hour or so.

I wasn't drunk enough to be affected, but it sure did work to calm me down. Also not recommend as a long term fix

Just keep doing it, if not too many people yell you suck, you'll be all right!.

Last edited by Warblemusic; 02/01/17 03:54 AM.
#1123544 - 02/01/17 11:28 AM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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Everett Adams Online content
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Alcohol is what some people use but too much of it affects your performance to the point that you think you are doing fine but you are not. It can quickly turn off your audience, unless they too are drinking to the point that you sound great to them.

#1123547 - 02/01/17 12:48 PM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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Medicin only target the physical effects of stage fright, and those are only symptoms of the psychological phenomenon.

Some musicians try beta blockers, because they reduce your adrenalin levels, but as this article explains, it only targets part of what happens in your body
http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/3-reasons-why-beta-blockers-could-ultimately-be-holding-you-back/

A better (longterm) way is to work with the root problem, and Robbie Calvo's ebook "Stage Brave" is very helpful in this respect. See what you think;

https://truefire.com/ebooks/stage-brave

I don't think you can get rid of it, but you can learn how to handle it better.


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#1123548 - 02/01/17 01:15 PM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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niteshift Online content
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Hey Pat,

Agree with Kolstad, beta-blockers work very well, in that they block the effect of adrenaline on the heart and nervous system without effecting the mind. Steady hands, steady mind, steady vocal chords. You can get upset as much as you like, but it won't show physically, and your voice won't "crack". They're often used by public speakers to give that confidant flow.

I don't endorse the use of drugs for "performance enhancement", but if the stage fright is effecting the performance, then a short course may help to solve the problem along with a good performance physiologist to dig into the problem. Eventually it will take care of itself.

It's very common. There's nerves, and then there are NERVES. I once did a live TV gig, and I still have the tape of the close ups of my fingers shaking like there's an earthquake. That can't be good for the performance. See your GP, and he should be able to provide you with some temporary relief for your particular situation.

cheers, niteshift

PS - I don't get nervous any more. Too old and don't care. smile


#1123550 - 02/01/17 01:23 PM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Well,
Unless a doctor is prescribing some medicine I would not take anything. Instead re-hearse what you are going to do in your mind and practice by thinking about it. Of course being well rested before hand may be the best medicine of all.


Ray E. Strode
#1123613 - 02/02/17 02:12 PM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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I do not medicate. I think I got all the self-medication out of my system in college. When I played with the Dodson Drifters, we partied a lot, but always *after* the gig; this was a *business*, and we took it very seriously.

That said, crowds do scare me, and always have. I compensate for that in part by leaving nothing to chance. *Everything* is rehearsed ahead of time--not just the songs, but the Rap and even facial expressions. I leave nothing to chance. I don't like and don't want surprises.

And I have a mechanism for dealing with the "crowds scare me" which (1) works and (2) is transferrable, for those who want it. Years ago, I got put through the wringer by some eye college grad students who were doing a clinic in my neighborhood (my eyesight had been failing badly for years). They told me there was nothing wrong with my eyes--the reason my eyesight was failing was the *muscles* that controlled my eyes, and they gave me eye exercises to do, that involved focusing and de-focusing my eyes.

So I can perform in front of a big crowd of people and *I don't have to see them*. If I can't see them, they can't scare me. Works great. (And over time, I have found I do want to watch them, or at least some of them, to see their reactions to what I'm playing.)

Oh, and my glasses prescription hasn't changed in something like 30 years. That's nice, too.

Joe

#1123741 - 02/05/17 01:04 PM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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Dave Rice Offline
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Hi Pat:

We are probably the most over-medicated Nation in the modern era.
I don't get "stage-fright" because I never get on stage... LOL! I did some acting in my younger days and played football and basketball. All three would provide me with ample "butterflies" and anxiety but they are usually overcome as soon as the curtain goes up or the game begins.

Confidence comes from practice... just like public speaking or praying in Church or Sunday School... when asked. Practice, practice, practice... as our elementary teachers would tell us constantly. No pills, no liquor and no drugs. You can do this!

All the best, ----Dave

#1123770 - 02/06/17 12:28 AM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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Colin Ward Online content
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What you actually need is confidence. That comes from preparation and practice of course. And half a glass of wine before you start......and no more.

My friend who plays big concert halls all the time also suggests having something you wear every time you go on to remind you that you own the stage whenever you put it on.....piece of jewelry, scarf, wrist band, clean underwear, whatever works for you. Signals your brain that you're in charge now.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#1123771 - 02/06/17 10:03 AM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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Vicarn Online content
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What if the P.A. system doesn't work? What if I forget the words? What if they don't like me?

The first two can be easily fixed. When I was doing solo gigs I always had a back up P.A. and I had lyric sheets nearby to jog my memory.
And yes, practice.
If the crowd don't like you? Get drunk and close your eyes 'til it's over.

Vic


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#1124298 - 02/20/17 12:55 AM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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#1125861 - 03/27/17 07:27 PM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: Colin Ward]  
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pathardy Offline
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pathardy  Offline
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Originally Posted by Colin Ward
What you actually need is confidence. That comes from preparation and practice of course. And half a glass of wine before you start......and no more.

My friend who plays big concert halls all the time also suggests having something you wear every time you go on to remind you that you own the stage whenever you put it on.....piece of jewelry, scarf, wrist band, clean underwear, whatever works for you. Signals your brain that you're in charge now.


It's not confidence so much as it's fear of forgetting. My memory cells are not reliable, even on songs I've played a thousand times, so that's the thing. It's so bad that I have to have a sheet music ( with lyrics ) in front of me, or a typed lyric sheet with chords (even on my own songs). Not that I need it, but just having it there helps alleviate the fear of forgetting. Still, if there were a pill that would brighten my brain, that would be cool, too, as long as the side effects were not that bad.

Last edited by pathardy; 03/27/17 07:28 PM.
#1125863 - 03/27/17 07:47 PM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Hi Pat,

I've found very mild sedatives can calm me down enough to get through most opening song jitters. Since I also occasionally have bouts of bronchial asthma, I've found a single Benedryll an hour before a performance works wonders to depress my senses just enough to relax while still holding a razor sharp focus on the song and the singing..

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 03/27/17 07:48 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

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from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1126334 - 04/07/17 03:55 PM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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MidniteBob Offline
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Raleigh, ya'll
I can't tell you the many levels of stage fright I have, or have fought through. What I try to remember, is that I am not the only one who suffers from it. Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, etc.

I just saw this interview with Ringo where he mentions that he still has stage-fright for a few moments before he goes on stage...And learned that he & I have something in common...He would often vomit(puke) before performances, something that I used to do on a regular basis.

Someone once advised eating bananas because there is something about the chemicals that is supposed to calm the nerves, but all that did for me was change the color of my vomit...

I like Mike Z's recommendation, but for the other "medication" options, there isn't much that I can advise, because I don't know anyone else's proclivity toward addictions. It can get dangerous...

I don't vomit anymore, and after several years of Southern Comfort medication, I found that once I took booze outta the equation, I was a much better performer. Sharper, more focused, and less likely to slur while chatting between songs:-)

My main fear has always been that someone in the audience would stand up and shout "You're a fraud!! You're not a real musician and have no right to be on stage!!!"....And for the most part, I would have to agree with them...But my band consists of extremely talented musicians, and THEY DO have a right to be on-stage, and my "role" is not so much as a musician as it is being the band-leader. I think of myself more as Lawrence Welk than Pete Townsend, so there is that....And if I'm doing a gig "solo", I've been known to mention that I'm more of a songwriter than a musician...So that takes a lot of pressure off.

I guess I'm not actually not giving much useful advice...But here is one quick anecdote: Once, as a duo, my partner and I were walking to a Sunday Brunch cafe gig that we used to do every Sunday for about 6 years, with an expected audience of somewhere between 6 and 20 folks. As we were almost at the door, my partner, in an effort to calm my nerves said:

Come on, Midnite, this isn't Carnegie Hall.

I responded: To me it is!

EVERY gig deserves the best performance you can give, otherwise, why bother? Earlier, someone mentioned "practicing", not just the songs, but the "patter"...VERY good advice!...And if ya screw something up? Don't over-react because most of the audience won't even notice unless you bring it to their attention!!

Oh, and here is the Ringo interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM7iL0HCcM0


Midnite





Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

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#1126335 - 04/07/17 04:18 PM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Confidence cures stage fright for me.

If I know the stuff to be performed inside and out. And I know that I can perform it respectably. And I know that it's good material. I'm fine in front of people, because I'm confident that they will like it...well enough.
My nervousness goes up in direct relation to any of those that are lacking. If I'm prepared and someone doesn't like it anyway, Well...they just don't.

For meds...Buy a double IPA (8-10%) Drink half of it before you play. Sip one quarter of it while you play and drink the other quarter when you are finished. Big help. Relaxes but doesn't get in the way. Not kidding about that. wink

#1126336 - 04/07/17 04:24 PM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: Martin Lide]  
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MidniteBob Offline
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Raleigh, ya'll
And I don't know about others, but once I strum the first cord, then the "fright" is forgotten...For me, it is all about just making it up to the mic.

Midnite


Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:

http://www.twometer.com/Two_Meter_Studios/HOME.html
#1126376 - 04/09/17 09:11 AM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: MidniteBob]  
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Originally Posted by MidniteBob
And if ya screw something up? Don't over-react because most of the audience won't even notice unless you bring it to their attention!!


This kind of idea has always reminded me of Jimi Hendrix.

IMO, some of his most unbelievably cool stuff was played live with loads of "wrong" notes and out of tune!

Mistakes can be MAGICAL!

#1127054 - 04/26/17 04:35 PM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
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New Jersey, USA
Pathardy, Although I suffered mostly sleep panic attacks, and the occasional during the day ones, I never took the stage when playing solo while on anything except a LOT of practice of the performance. Even if just standing or sitting playing songs and not doing much else, I prepared not just with my instrument and when singing, but when talking walks. I would sing the songs and picture me on stage playing and singing and everything going fine.

Being greatly prepared is the best medicine for confidence. I never had stage fright, no matter when even playing at a packed Spectrum in Philly, nor for my first time playing solo at Brian's JPF showcase in Hatboro, PA in May of 2005. Being prepared way past the point of knowing everything about your playing and singing and whatever else beats doing drugs anytime. Why? Because then, you would be feeling the real emotions of you and everyone. You would be knowing it is ALL you doing it all. And, if you mess up, (I have), just learn how to quickly adjust and make it part of you having FUN!

And stop worrying!!!!!! IT's only music and FUN, right?

Prepare like a surgeon, then just simply PLAY!

John


Actually a Member Since 1996 or 97 (Number One Hundred Something).
Songnado I and II:
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=322686





#1127826 - 05/17/17 01:41 PM Re: Meds for stagefright? [Re: pathardy]  
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,552
Rick Heenan Offline
Rick Heenan  Offline

Top 200 Poster

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,552
Lockport NY, usa
I played in a band back in the 70's where one of the lead players, a fiddler, would get physically sick and puke before a gig. One of the best musicians I ever played with too. Me, being a natural ham, I don't suffer from anxiety to badly, but when I do I like to picture myself naked in front of my audience. Works for me.


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