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#780566 - 12/21/09 12:41 PM Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright  
Joined: Oct 2007
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Wendy D Offline
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Wendy D  Offline
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Atlanta, GA USA
Do any of you have any brilliant tips on getting over that rush of anxiety that makes your hands shake and your brain go blank? I've been playing at church off and on now for the last year or so. I've been singing longer, but off and on I work on something and bring my guitar in to sing and play. Lately, I felt like I'd become a bit more comfortable with it, but last night I just lost it. I had a Christmas song that I've been playing for the last two years and had practiced to the point I felt there was no way I could screw it up. About 30 extra people showed-up for our church Christmas program and I fell apart. I had a major bobble right in the middle of the song, recovered and thought, "OK I can keep trucking." Then I screwed-up again on the same part and said something out-loud like "gosh" or "God." I'm not even sure what I said. There was supposed to be a church pot-luck afterward but I just went home. I really wanted to cry, but I didn't.

It has been my goal at some point to do an open mic, but I'm beginning to feel that it's not a realistic goal on my part, if I can't pull myself together. Any thoughts on holding it together? I beginning to feel that maybe I have an anxiety disorder or something.

Last edited by Wendy D; 12/21/09 01:03 PM.

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#780568 - 12/21/09 12:52 PM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Wendy D]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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It is called, "Doing it." Over and over. You can't pull it together without repition. Make sure you rehearse quite a bit.

First of all, if it is something new, rehearse it with the lyrics where you can see them. Then the second time through, push the lyrics away from you farther. The third time, make them where it is very hard to see them, so you force your memory to work harder. Rehearse three times a day for a week before you perform.

If you can videotape yourself, do so. Place the camera about 15-20 feet back so it is as if the audience from a few rows back can see you. See if you enunciate the lyrics, play with dynamics and are understood.

Get on some open mics and take the pressure off of yourself.

Don't totally close your eyes all the time. If you have a microphone, focus on the end of it instead of looking at the crowd. If you look at the crowd, look above people's heads, or in between two people. That way it seems like you are looking them right in the eye where in reality you are looking between them or over them.

Past that, it is just a fear you have to face.

MAB

#780572 - 12/21/09 01:15 PM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Mike Dunbar  Offline
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Nashville Tennessee
Wendy,

You've been practicing songs, you need to practice performing. Play in front of people every chance you get. Like Marc says, go to open mics. Go back to church and sing. Enlist your family and friends, tell them you need to practice performing and would be happy to make dinner for them if they come over and listen to a few songs.

Football players go through the same problem. Kids learn to run a route, then comes Friday night and they're under the lights with a thousand people watching them and they get the ball and run the wrong way.

So keep practicing your songs, but start practicing performing, and soon you'll get like me. I'm only scared when I'm not on stage.

Mike


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#780577 - 12/21/09 01:36 PM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Scott Campbell Offline
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Lakeland, FL, USA
Hi Wendy:

The experts have already weighed in. I just wanted to share something I find interesting. When I was in high school, I couldn't even stand in front of a group of 10 people and talk coherently. Now, I'm comfortable giving a lecture to 200 people.

As Mike indicated, it was simply doing it over and over again, with the number of people increasing along the way. Same thing happened to me with climbing. I had a horrible fear of heights that has since become simply a healthy respect. The only way that happened was to keep climbing - a little higher each time.

In both instances, the process was painful - but I knew what I wanted to do and that I would have to keep at it until the anxiety passed.

"Passed" isn't even the right word - maybe "fades". smile

The interesting thing is that I have the same performance anxiety you do. I can talk in front of people just fine, but stick a guitar in my hand and ask me to sing and I'm a wreck. I've done it just enough though to know that the same pattern holds - it gets just a little easier each time.

I'll never get there though because I just don't have the same jones for performing as I do for teaching and climbing. But I know what it would take if I wanted to - and it's what Mike said. smile

Scott

Last edited by Scott Campbell; 12/21/09 01:41 PM.
#780580 - 12/21/09 01:50 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Wendy D]  
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Joice Marie Offline
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Joice Marie  Offline
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Cornish Flat, NH, USA
Hi Wendy

I cannot counter or add Much to the mentor's response - except to say it's true - my first attempts were disastrous - comical probably to onlookers - but you have to get back up on the stool and keep doing it. I think each time the venue changes is another whole opportunity to grow - so mix it up as much as possible... go to play somewhere - where no one knows you, etc......

keep going....... : ) jm


perfection is unattainable, excellence is totally within reach

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#780587 - 12/21/09 02:34 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Joice Marie]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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PA
Stage fright, an anxiety disorder, can be caused from one bad experience. Barbra Streisand is a good example of this. Once she forgot the words during a concert and didn't get back on stage for 27 years.

The biggest mistake is to let one less than perfect experience affect you to this degree. Best thing to do is get right back on the horse after falling off. And do it often.

As far as forgetting lyrics and making mistakes - no big deal. We all do it. Just don't allow it to pulverize you.

The more experience you acquire, the more tricks you’ll learn to fake out an audience. In the mean time, remember “it ain’t no big deal” – at least you’re up there learning and doing it. It’s better getting your experience with these small gigs before performing at Carnegie Hall. laugh

The great pianist Anton Rubenstein, in his early years, was notorious for dropping 20-30% of notes in his concerts. He was such a flashy, dynamic performer that no one really cared (but the critics grin ). Learn to cover your mistakes with your dynamic personality.

Yes, as others stated on this thread, experience can conquer stage fright (to a degree). When I used to perform, I always had butterflies before I got out on stage. After I started playing I was fine. It comes with the territory.

Solo performances are always the most difficult. Maybe you could add another guitarist/ background singer to your act. It would take some of the heat off you while learning to be more comfortable on stage.

It seems Donny Osmond suffered from stage fright also after a poor performance. Probably very common. It comes with the territory. Keep at it!

Best, John smile

#780589 - 12/21/09 02:57 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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Made me remember a gig when I was 14 years old. Besides playing dancing music for the crowd, there was a singer I had to provide accompaniment for.

At this point in my playing, I was comfortable playing from fake books, so I felt confident I could cover a singer fine.

Not! Big surprise. The singer arrived 20 minutes before the gig and shoved about 30 pages of music in my face. No chord charts - just music. Some of the music was semi-operatic.

I did the best I could - probably dropped 50% of the notes (and got lost a couple times). Fortunately the singer had such a fantastic voice and a great personality, that the crowd didn't notice the flubbing pianist. At least I convinced myself to this. Though no one bought me a drink that night (yeah, I did have an underage drink occasionally - big bad boy).

After this shocking experience, I got serious with my music. I would sight read music daily. A couple years later I was playing in a house band at a large resort backing all kinds of shows.

John smile

#780597 - 12/21/09 03:19 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Hummingbird Offline
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Victoria, B.C. Canada
One thing I'd like to add is something I tell my students all the time: it's humanly impossible to perform and not make mistakes. We're human. At some point, we're going to play the wrong chord, sing the wrong word, have a blimp for a sec. What we need to do then is a) practice so that we feel prepared, b) accept that we will make mistakes and trust ourselves to get through them. I teach my students to never show on their face or in their attitude what they think of what they've just done. Keep your head up and your eyes looking out over the crowd. Remember that what feels so hugely significant to you is probably unnoticeable to the audience - unless you punctuate it with your reaction. What is more important than being 'perfect' is being 'open' and 'real'. Sing with your heart, mistakes and all.

You might also consider taking a few voice lessons (or guitar lessons). The right voice teacher would work with you on your performance and that might help you feel a little more confident of your abilities. The point of taking lessons is to perform in front of an expert, and get their feedback, and work to bring 'yourself' out more in what you are doing.

PS - I used to have stage fright so bad that I literally could not stand up in front of an audience I was shaking so badly my knees were like water. I would have to sit on a stool & even then I never sang the way I did at home. I went on to sing in musicals & operas, and I gig all the time now. Taking singing lessons (and acting classes) helped enormously.


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#780606 - 12/21/09 03:35 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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There is a difference between stage fright and pre performance excitement. Everyone should get a buzz from performing. I have been performing for over forty years and although I get the buzz it is no big deal certainly nothing to feel sick or worried about. I liken it to opening a xmas or birthday present...there is excitement but it is a happy excitement you know something good is gonna happen and it is something you should look forward to doing. You should know what to expect and be comfortable with it.
Stagefright generally shows low self esteem, a lack in confidence and doubt about ones own ability plus a gross over estimation of peoples expectations.
Here are some tips to try to alleviate stage fright which in my opinion is something different from pre performance buzz. Some performers worry about how people will react or are fearful of screwing up. Make sure you know your material and how to perform it. Remember that any audience is on your side. They want to be entertained and to enjoy themselves so what is to be feared in that. This should be even easier with friends or people who you know as they possibly have lower expectations than fee paying strangers.
We all fear the unknown yet afterwards we wonder what all the fuss was about. The more you do a thing the easier it becomes.
When people go to work they are seldom afraid or get stagefright when they go into the office or factory floor it is their job they do it everyday n big deal. Why should speaking or performing in public be any different. It is no big deal. So to sum up.....you want to be your best and put on a great performance so practice till you are confident in your ability. You know people are on your side and are rooting for you so why worry. You know that you will get enjoyment from knowing that people have enjoyed your performance. It will be a boost for your ego and self esteem......what is the big deal?

#780612 - 12/21/09 04:25 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Bob Cushing Offline
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I don't recommend this for everyone{especially not at church functions} but Jim Beam does wonders for me!{In moderation of course!}


bc
#780613 - 12/21/09 04:26 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Joe Wrabek (D) Offline
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Joe Wrabek (D)  Offline
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Those guys and gals are all correct.

I don't think of it as "performance anxiety"--too many syllables for a country-music writer--but I've got it. Crowds scare me. They always have. I've been performing over 30 years (counting the long hiatus after the Dodson Drifters broke up), and I still can't eat before a performance.

I compensate a couple of ways. (And I don't eat before a performance.) I am extremely anal. Everything is rehearsed, and rehearsed, and rehearsed--not only what I'm going to sing, but what I'm going to say, and even the facial gestures and inflections. I have everything scripted out in advance, and drummed into my head to the point where I'm unlikely to forget it. And I will not deviate from the script, no matter what. That's why I don't take requests, unless they're already on the setlist. When I go on stage, everything appears natural, but I'm on automatic pilot.

One trick I picked up that has helped me a lot: I have bad eyesight of the thick-glasses type, but at one point, years ago, Pacific University (the eye school) set up a clinic in my neighborhood, and I got put through the wringer by a bunch of grad students. They told me there was nothing wrong with my eyes, just the muscles that controlled my eyes, and they gave me eye exercises to do to strengthen the muscles. Those included focusing and de-focusing my eyes. Best performance tool I ever had. Crowds scare me? I don't have to see them. I can look right at them and not see them. And they have no idea.

I highly recommend open mikes as a performance practice tool. The audience isn't (usually) expecting to hear perfection, so if you flub, it's no big whoop. Not only is it good practice for *you* working a crowd, you get to see *other* people doing it, and you can learn from *their* mistakes.

But like them folks said above, practice is the best thing you can do. You may never get rid of the performance anxiety, but you will at least get used to it and find ways to compensate for it. Lots of luck.

Joe

#780614 - 12/21/09 04:36 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Wendy D]  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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Anaheim, CA, USA
Wendy, I think most performers have gone through what you have experienced. Every audience presents its own set of challenges. Because I am most seasoned in church performance let me offer the following ideas for church.

You are sharing the talents God gave you. Include God in your preparation. Prior to the performance, center yourself in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to be with you and help you. Breathe slowly in and out and shake out your hands as you do.

Please realize that although there are judgmental people in every congregation, there are in all likelihood more who are sympathetic and considerate and who wish you well in your endeavor, especially in a worship setting. They are "on your side."

As mentioned by others, practice very well. Just about the only time I am nervous (now) is if I haven't practiced the song enough for it to be automatic.

One mistake won't ruin the performance. Continue as if it hadn't happened. Sing the rest of the song well, and the people will appreciate that you recovered and remember more of what went well. I think that what happened to you when you made the same mistake the second time was that subconsciously you were afraid you would do it again. You recreated the obstacle in your own mind and it caused you to stumble again because you were afraid you would. You didn't forget about the mistake and really go on. You kept it there.

When you are singing for a large group, don't look directly into the eyes of people in the audience. Focus your gaze just above their heads. To them, it will seem as if you are looking directly at them but you won't be. This works best if the platform you are singing on is higher than the level of the audience. For smaller groups when you can't look over their heads, you can look at them but don't focus your eyes to see them clearly? I hope that makes sense.

If you do look at the audience and their faces seem rather impassive, don't assume that it is because you aren't doing a good job. If you see some knit brows, don't assume that the facial reactions are even related to your performance. The facial expressions may be related to something else - perhaps even some physical discomfort. Also some people become rather expressionless when they are intently listening. They are often enjoying the performance.

ENJOY your own performance. It really makes a difference. If you look uncomfortable the audience will pick up on it and feel uncomfortable too. Nobody wants to watch someone look as if they are being tortured. If you don't enjoy singing, you shouldn't be doing it. Have fun. Lose yourself in the moment.

Sometimes people are frightened by the sound of their own voices being amplified. When you practice, use a microphone and get used to the sound of your voice being projected. A microphone helps you to hear how your voice sounds to the audience because it's louder than the voice in your head. I remember the first time I practiced using the microphone solo at our church. There were large overhead speakers and there was a tiny bit of a latency plus natural echos due to the church architecture. I thought one of the girls in my teen group was singing into one of the other microphones and asked them, "Who is that singing along so well?" They laughed and told me I was just hearing myself. That was a big confidence booster personally. At that moment I realized that I sang a lot better than I thought I did at the time.

If you really like performing and you flub a performance, always get back on the horse as soon as possible. As Mike mentioned you need to practice performing itself - not just the singing. I think plenty of performers can tell many "train wreck" stories.

Please realize too that sometimes we make mistakes that the audience doesn't even pick up on. They are looking at the whole event but we as performers are looking at every little detail and are often dissatisfied. Consider the whole performance and don't get hung up on too many little details.

I remember one school Christmas program when one of our students was doing a tap dance number. She slipped and fell at the beginning of the number. Most children would have frozen or run off the stage, but this young girl just smiled and got right back up and went on with the routine. She got the biggest hand of all that evening. Everybody appreciates a trouper!

When I was studying music at college, one of my fellow students who was really a drummer had to perform at at recital using a pitched instrument. He had chosen the french horn and felt so nervous that he "lost his lip." Everything that came out when he played sounded like a raspberry. At first he turned beet red but instead of panicking, he played the rest of the piece raspberry fashion but acted as if it were supposed to be that way. It was fantastic. He got a standing ovation, bowed with great flourish, tucked the horn under his arm and strode off the stage as if he had just given the performance of the century. And he had. Of course, this is a little different than a church performance but the same concept applies. He made us all feel comfortable.

Anyway, good luck to you.




Last edited by Jean Bullock; 12/21/09 04:39 PM.

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#780633 - 12/21/09 05:54 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Jean Bullock]  
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Most of my points have already been made, but I would stress that when (not if) you make a mistake, just press on regardless. Most people will not know that it was mistake at all, because they do not know what you were planning to do in the first place so what seems like a huge mistake to you is often not even noticed by the average audience member.

A cheat sheet of some kind is also valuable. Stick some notes on the top of the guitar with tape, use a music stand, put a large print sheet on the floor - whatever works in your environment. You may never look at it but knowing it is there builds confidence.

And just do it over and over - open mikes are fine - they do not expect perfection.

And have fun!


Colin

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

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#780673 - 12/21/09 10:51 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Colin Ward]  
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Beta Blockers. Ha!

To get prepared to sing and play solo for the first time, after being in bands before, I used to sing TO Cindy, my wife. I would perform for her. Makes performing for people very real, even though just one person is there looking up at you. It worked. I did that over and over, night after night, and even started to talk to her before the song, as if she was a stranger at some club. She would give me tips on what she saw and heard. When I went to Brian's showcase and closed the show, Brian later said that I performed like an old pro. (OLD?),,,Ha! But it was only from being prepared as to what a person looking at me would be like when playing and singing. I was so comfortable, and just enjoyed the people and my presentation FOR them. I wasn't there for me as it turned out, and I think that is the trick.

After you are very prepared....Make THEM have a good time, no matter the style of music or where it is. Forget YOU. Focus on THEM as if they are guest in your house. THAT stage is your living room! Welcome your guests! Allow THEM to feel comfortable.

John D.




Actually a Member Since 1996 or 97 (Number One Hundred Something).
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#780686 - 12/22/09 12:31 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Johnny Daubert]  
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Lynn Orloff Offline
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Wendy, I think you have gotten some real good advice/ideas and since I'm not a performing songwriter (I know my limits) maybe what I have to offer isn't much, but perhaps it may help. Since I am not a singer but needed to sing into a cassette to send down to the Demo Derby for Mike and the team to decipher, if you will, I had to sing into the cassette. Pshew, that wasn't so bad (although it might've been for the listening ears at the other end laugh ). However, I also sang over the phone to Heather so she could record right into her studio how I wanted two songs to sound (melody, phrasing, feel, etc). I was nervous doing that, crazy but then I knew it was important if I was going to convey the song in the way I wanted it to be closely copied if you will. I am not a good singer but I can carry a melody enough to get the point across. Anyway, what I did to calm down was focus my thoughts on the song, not my voice, who was listening or anything else, just the song. Make the song the most important part, which it is, and do it all for the sake of the song. If it's all about the song you are giving the focus and attention to the song and not to yourself. Of course feeling goes so much with it but it is the feel for whatever the mood of the song dictates. You're obviously going to be singing something that is special to you, in that you wrote it, or it's a song you very much like. Your voice is the vehicle to get the job done so the audience can enjoy the song as well. Simple as that. I think if you do that you will naturally enjoy it as well.

That may sound strange but it can't hurt to try. Remember you are not thinking about the audience or you, it is all about the song and the feel of that song you are presenting. This takes the pressure off of your own self awareness and gets you totally into the song. I better stop rambling. Give it a try and see what happens. It can't hurt to try. smile

You know I'm such a fan of your voice and think the world would get jipped if they missed out on hearing it too. Still waiting for that CD of classics that you'll someday put together.

Best,
Lynn


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#780688 - 12/22/09 12:56 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Lynn Orloff]  
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Dave Rice (D) Offline
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Hi Wendy:

Great topic... and you've received some very interesting and appropriate replies. I'm not a performer but I sing. My purpose is simply to show others how my material sounds in case they are interested in doing a "cover." You could not pay me enough to get me to get up on stage or a streetcorner and "flex the golden pipes." (LOL!) It ain't gonna happen.

I'm assuming you are a performer. Marc's reply hit the subject square in the kisser... practice, practice, practice. That includes learning every line and nuance of every song you intend to perform. I write so often it is beyond my imagination to attempt to remember every lyric of every song. Some are more rememberable to me than others but, thank goodness, in my case it simply does not matter.

I had speech class in college, debated in high school, took expression lessons when I was a pre-kindergarten child and spoke often in front of fairly large audiences when I was CEO of a division of a fortune 500 company. Singing is not the same. Never has been and never will be! It requires you to bare your soul to strangers if you want to perform... and, to my way of thinking, that is a tall order.

If I were in your shoes, I would follow the advice given by Marc and Mike and Vikki... and be ready to bombard them with questions you may need answers to as you make progress... while practicing and practicing and practicing. I hope your family is supportive, patient and really believes that you have the right stuff to be a performing singer.

When I began singing very late in life, my family probably wished I'd sit down, shut up, draw up my will and prepare for burial a little early. It was tough then and got a little easier as time passed. All it takes is practice and encouragement. Go get 'em, Tiger.... er, maybe I should say Leopardess... LOL!

#780691 - 12/22/09 01:06 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Lynn Orloff]  
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ben willis Offline
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I get antsy when recording in my own little studio. Sometimes I lose it when that red light is on. That red light sucks. The answer that I've found is in the advice that you have gotten.

I use my recording setup in a practice mode, but eventually the real thing has to come out, nervousness aside. Just a distraction.

Rehearse until you can't stand it, then rehearse some more.

#780692 - 12/22/09 01:07 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Wendy D Offline
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Wendy D  Offline
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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
It is called, "Doing it." Over and over. You can't pull it together without repition. Make sure you rehearse quite a bit.

MAB


This is a great point. I guess I didn't consider rehearsing other than to play and sing the song. The idea of video taping myself seems horrible, but it was like that for me when I started making recordings of myself too. I remember getting so depressed the first time I played back something that I sang. I think I've gotten to the point now that if I hear myself sing, I can be objective and correct things. But for a time, I couldn't stand the sound of my voice. I suppose I could use a camera in the same manner. Thanks for responding, Mark.


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#780699 - 12/22/09 01:47 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Wendy D]  
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Wendy D Offline
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I've been trying to respond to these posts individually, but my internet service keeps going down. After typing my response to Mike Dunbar twice, I'm hanging it up for now. I have to get my kids in bed (way past their bedtime). Thanks to everyone who responded. Your posts were very helpful.


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You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
#780713 - 12/22/09 05:23 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Wendy D]  
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Ulliel Offline
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Since I'm in the same boat as you are, I can't really give you proper advice. What I've been planning on, and started doing, is to face the daemons in a military way - meaning, by being over-prepared.

Currently I'm only playing for my girlfriend and a couple of good friends.

My cousin (who is performing diligently) gave me the best advice on it - step outside of yourself and become a member of the audience, while you're playing... I guess, again, that it can only work well if you're very very prepared and your fingers know what to do automatically. wink so when I get a chance, I'll give it a fair shot and let you know... or, if you step up there before I do...


Play.
#780714 - 12/22/09 05:30 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Wendy D]  
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Kevin Edward Rose Offline
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Kevin Edward Rose  Offline
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Wendy, you've already received some great advice here, but I'll go ahead and toss in my 2 cents.

First of all, Big Jim is absolutely right in that the audience wants you to succeed. Have you ever actually heard a singer being booed from the audience? It only happens in the movies or on TV. The very worst reaction you can expect from an audience is indifference. That's not that big of a deal. I get that from my wife everyday. whistle

When you rehearse, rehearse as though you are doing an actual performance. If you stand when you perform, then stand when you practice. Use a microphone when practicing, even if it isn't turned on so you will be used to using the mic. Do the song(s) all the way from the beginning to the end. Don't start over each time you make a mistake. When you have the songs down, then practice the entire performance from beginning to end.

Finally, realize that those glaring mistakes that you think absolutely ruin a performance usually won't even be noticed by the vast majority of your audience.

Hang in there, and don't be discouraged!


Kevin Edward Rose
Celtic, Americana, whatever the folk.
Hailed by Performing Songwriter magazine as a "valued subscriber".
More music sold than Elvis and the Beatles combined!*
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#780857 - 12/22/09 11:28 PM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Wendy D Offline
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Mike,

I like your analogy of the football players running the wrong way. That's me in a nutshell. I do sing in church almost every Sunday, but I don't sing and play each Sunday. I guess I need to force myself to do it more. I suppose I can try and get some friends over to play for. My family ignores me for the most part. In fact, it's a bit funny but I'm actually much better if people shuffle around and ignore me while I'm playing. smile


http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

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Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
#780882 - 12/23/09 12:52 AM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Wendy D]  
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Delphia Blize Offline
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great thread wendy! i wonder if it has anything to do with how you view the audience? someone once told me to view them as friends who are there to encourage and enjoy, vs. scolding, criticizing parents or exes smile

#780883 - 12/23/09 01:08 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Wendy D]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Wendy,

This is not so much to crucify yourself. It is more to see if you are enunciating and making every word well understood. You place it a few feet away from you to get the feeling of people in the middle or back rows. If you can make yourself understood to them, you can motivate the entire house.

It also can help you with pitch, determining level on instrument over vocal, etc. It is just a guide.

MAB

#780884 - 12/23/09 01:13 AM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Delphia Blize]  
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Polly Hager Offline
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Wendy, honey, I'm going to make your experience PALE in comparison (and hopefully make you laugh). I have been performing for 20+ years...when I first started, at the ripe ol' age of 17, I was VERY self-conscious! At 18, I was in my first bar/road band. I was wearing a really cool tube top and spandex (remember those?) and dancing around on stage. All of the sudden, the crowd jumped to its feet and the guys especially started ROARING! I thought, "Wow, they really LIKE me!" I looked down, and my tube top had completely fallen down (wardrobe malfunction) to leave me completely topless! My band was laughing so hard they could hardly play, but would they tell me? NO!!! I thought that was the worst...but no...

Another gig, different band...I'm in the bathroom, I hear the band start up, I'm wearing a mini-skirt, stilleto heels, you get the picture. I come running out of the bathroom and up on stage, and immediately, wide grins in the audience. I thought, "They really LIKE me!" Nope. I had about TEN FEET of toilet paper trailing on my stilleto heel! Did the band bother to say anything? NO!!! I wanted to die!

Did either of these experiences kill me? No. Did they make me want to quit playing? No. Do I still forget words and have to improvise or repeat a verse? Occassionally. It gets easier the more you play out. If you're unsure of a song, use a cheat sheet and put it where the audience can't see it. You can practice until you're blue in the face, but you'll still make mistakes. It's okay. They'll love you anyway! smile


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#780886 - 12/23/09 01:27 AM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Delphia Blize]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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Wendy, I'll tell you what my old acting teacher drilled into my head: "Mark, Mark, MARK: get over yourself! No one in that audience cares what you feel, they only care about what you DO! Drop your ego and quit falling out of character and apologizing every time you make a mistake!"

His harsh assessment of my mortifying mistakes turned my head around...how could he call it "ego" when I felt so ashamed?? But I guess he was right...I just couldn't tolerate the idea of other people seeing me screw up. So I'd immediately apologize, or overcompensate or say "whoops". He taught me to let go of myself a little more, to not "be me" so much when I performed...that way, I could abide my mistakes and allow them, and continue on without the audience ever knowing I made that epic fail.

But adrenaline is something that just comes and goes without warning...I call it Fear Juice. It squirts out and makes your body shake. One instinct is to panic when it floods through you and tells you to flee...but you just have to let it flow, and go ahead and shake...and keep playing.

In the end, you just focus on the act. It's not easy...but it gets easier.

#780892 - 12/23/09 02:16 AM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Paul Ryan Offline
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Hi Wendy,

At it's roots, stage fright has to do with the basic human reaction of fight or flight. Practice will help but will not cure it. Basically your brain is attempting to "protect" you from a situation you are not (or feel you are not) completely comfortable with. If it repeats itself over and over, the neurons are (temporarily) "wired" to generate this reaction. Ergo you would have that "oh no here we go again" type of Groundhog Day experience. It is not a disorder in that performers, students before a test, athletes ... any performance-based activity can set this off. I am more familiar with it through my business work and some sports involvement, but musical performing would be the same. (I could tell some amazing stories). Point is, it can be very powerful and even shut you down, which sounds like you came close to. The good news is that there are exercises you can do if interested that would change how you approach performing very quickly. Email me privately and will shoot a couple over that will help you out for your open mic or next performance.

Psaul Ryan
www.ryantunes.com

#780902 - 12/23/09 05:25 AM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Paul Ryan]  
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Two Singers Offline
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Wendy,

I doubt this will help much, but thought I would pass it on regardless. Feel free to ignore without apology! This is just a little straight-shooting talk...nothing fancy or sprinkled with "WOW!" dust.

I'm just the opposite. I have no fear of a crowd or performing. I've had the privilege of performing before as many as 5,000 people and along side several of the biggest stars from Nashville in the 70s and 80s. I never met an audience I couldn't wait to play for. Unlike Joe, I can eat a huge dinner immediately preceding a performance and during the breaks. As I think you know, I am a mediocre singer but a pretty decent musician. It never bothered me (although I joke about it) that my vocal skills are mediocre. Why? Because no matter how good I might have been as a singer, there would always be someone better. So, I accepted my talents for what they were/are and fine-tuned them the best I could. I quit worrying about if other folks would like my performance. I always figured that if they didn't like me, they could leave just as easily through the same door the came in. Rarely did anyone leave early. For over 20 years, I never had less than 20 performances per month...usually I performed 25 - 28 shows each month.

As a kid and very young adult, I was timid and scared to death of the whole world! When I was about 24 or 25 years old, a former very good friend (unfortunately we had a major falling out and haven't spoken in over 20 years) said something to me that turned my whole attitude around. We were in the Army together in Germany. He had gone to the NCO Club to hear my band perform. He was my supervisor on the job, so I saw him the next day. He said, "Ya know Sergeant David, I had a hell of good time last night. You can play the sh*t out of that guitar but you're a so-so singer. But that didn't matter. You played almost every request that was thrown at you, told some damned good jokes, and sang your heart out. The audience appreciated that. So you're not Frank Sinatra or Merle Haggard...but who the hell is? You might not be as good as Frank or Merle, but you're a hell of a lot better than 99% of them sitting out there in the audience. You know how to make people laugh and you can keep them entertained for 5 hours. Not many people can do something like that. Don't worry that you're not the best...just be damned glad you have the talent you do and we're damned glad that you're willing to share it with us. Keep picking and we'll keep grinning."

That did it for me. So what if I'm not as good as a lot of people. I'm better than most. I learned that a healthy ego is a necessity, as long as you do not let it become conceit. When performing, I'm Al David the performer, not Alan David the person. They're two different people. Yes, I am verbose and hyper-active when I'm not performing (what a shocking revelation, huh??!!), but the "I'm pretty damned good and I'm going to show you" persona stays on stage when I leave the stage.

Just remember, the performing you and the day-to-day you might not be the same person. Just don't let the day-to-day you squelch the performing you. Don't feel guilty about having a bit of an ego when you're in front of an audience. They **EXPECT** you to be confident and somewhat egotistic in a polite way. It's not a sin or a character flaw. It's simply a part of performing.

Now go sing your butt off. Well, that would make sitting a real challenge. But you know what I mean! Best of luck with your future performances! And Merry Christmas!

Alan

Last edited by Al David; 12/23/09 05:29 AM.
#780907 - 12/23/09 05:54 AM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Two Singers]  
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Kolstad Offline
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Denmark
Great thread, Wendy. Feels good to read the posts!

My best advice would be to really feel the anxiety, in stead of running from it. If you run, you get scared of it. We always get scared of things we don't face. But when we face them, they loose their power. Same thing with fear (afreaid of what you know). And if you try to run from it, it turns into angest (afraid of what you don't know), and that is even harder to fight. So dive into the fearful emotions is the best advice out there (easier said than done, I know).

Personally I struggle too. I have been trained as a guitarist, and can have no fear of playing that. I know that if I can't remember something ormake a mistake, I can improvise.

But it's a different thing with singing my own songs. I struggle remembering lyrics, and I've tried every trick in the book. I have performed my songs on a couple occations, and have forgotten the lyrics everytime, so now I have developed a fear of singing in public. I'll still force myself to do it, but as it's not just psychological (the fear is of course, but the memory thing seems not to be), I consider trying hypnosis as my next attempt to deal with it ..

#780914 - 12/23/09 08:16 AM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Kolstad]  
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MidniteBob Offline
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Raleigh, ya'll
Wendy D! Bless yer heart. Keep getting up there 'cause this world needs voices as pure and honest as yours!!

Fact: Fear of public speaking ranks right below jumping out of an airplane(with a parachute)on the phobia scale. I can't add to the already given advice except to second the practicing part. I didn't use a recorder, but would stand in front of a mirror for hours.

I would also drink heavily, vomit in the alley beforehand so that I wouldn't on stage, dress in women's lingerie to help distract me from thinking about the audience and wouldn't play any song that required more than three chords.

Hope that helps...

Midnite


Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

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#780936 - 12/23/09 11:58 AM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: MidniteBob]  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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I think Bob's got something there.


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#780983 - 12/23/09 04:22 PM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Jean Bullock]  
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Ricki E. Bellos Offline
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"...dress in women's lingerie to help distract me from thinking about the audience..."

This just never worked for me.

#781006 - 12/23/09 06:25 PM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Ricki E. Bellos]  
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Wendy D Offline
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Wendy D  Offline
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Atlanta, GA USA
Thanks again to all who weighed-in. I spent over an hour last night on the phone with Earthlink. They say my home alarm system is interfering with the internet connection. I need to call the phone company and ask them to install a "net splitter." It sounds expensive and I'm not sure if I shouldn't just either revert back to dial-up or maybe go the high-speed cable route.

Back to the stage fright issue, I've never been what you would call the "life of the party" type. I've been a very shy person since I was a teenager. I don't recall ever being shy as a little kid, so I guess that's when it started. I've also suffered from being a terrible perfectionist/over achiever most of my life. I recognize that mostly my issue stems from insecurity and I want to overcome it. I have two lovely girls who look to me as their example. I don't want them to beat themselves up the way I do myself.

I recently started voice lessons and my voice teacher has already told me that she wants me to take part in her spring recital. I will be doing a couple of Broadway show-tunes, actually kicking-off the recital with Let Me Entertain You and Everything's Coming Up Roses. I was a little unhappy with the songs she chose for me, but she wants me to do them to help me with this issue.

I did take guitar lessons for a couple of years. I've been working on my own with guitar though since the spring. I quit guitar so I could save money for voice lessons. Of course, sometimes I think I should just go to graduate school or law school and give-up this whole idea of performing. Geez..I sound like a pathetic whiney butt..

Jean - I did try praying to focus myself before I got up to play. I guess I didn't pray hard enough or I just can't get past my own fear or something.

Polly - Your post cracked me up. I don't think I would have survived had something like that happened to me.

Mark K and Al - You are correct. I need to get over my damn self.

Midnite - When are you coming to Atlanta? I like the strategy of not playing a song with more than three chords. That's at least half of the early songs I wrote anyway.

Thanks to everyone for their wisdom and expertise. I'll try to get back on later and respond to everyone...if my stupid modem works.





http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

http://www.reverbnation.com/donsechelski

Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
#781059 - 12/23/09 08:28 PM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Wendy D]  
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 10,330
Jean Bullock Offline
Jean Bullock  Offline

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Anaheim, CA, USA
Wendy, how confident do you feel about your voice?


Please visit my facebook EZ3D PopUps for free papercraft templates. Great for beginners of all ages.

Favorite Sites:
http://facebook.com/EZ3DPopUps
http://ez3dpopups.blogspot.com/
http://harrietschock.com
http://jpfolks.com
http://phillipmartin.com


#781061 - 12/23/09 08:50 PM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Jean Bullock]  
Joined: Jan 2009
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Wendy,

As far as the dial up goes, I would probably plan on going high speed because no matter what, Dial up will probably cease to exist in a few years as fast a technology goes. So you might as well go ahead and get ahead of the curve.

As far as singing, you just have to do it.

MAB

#781064 - 12/23/09 09:02 PM Re: Performance Anxiety [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Dec 2008
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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PA
What Marc said about just doing it Wendy. Besides, with the price of tomatoes today, I doubt if anyone will heave one at you. grin

John smile

#781101 - 12/23/09 10:19 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Jean Bullock]  
Joined: Oct 2007
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Wendy D Offline
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Wendy D  Offline
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Posts: 2,226
Atlanta, GA USA
Jean,

That's a good question. My voice is not a traditional church soloist kind of voice. It is serviceable and I've been learning to work with it over time. There are some folks on the site that like my voice, but I wouldn't say that I'm overly confident about it. Hope that answers your question?


http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

http://www.reverbnation.com/donsechelski

Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
#781103 - 12/23/09 10:22 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Oct 2007
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Wendy D Offline
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Wendy D  Offline
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Atlanta, GA USA
Thanks Mark. I will keep working at the singing.

I think dial-up would make me crazy. I'm so spoiled by DSL now. I don't think I can go back. I'm switching to high speed cable in January. I hated to switch, but I hope it will be a bit more reliable. We'll see anyway.


http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

http://www.reverbnation.com/donsechelski

Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
#781112 - 12/23/09 11:23 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Wendy D]  
Joined: Dec 2006
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Gary E. Andrews Offline
Gary E. Andrews  Offline

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Portsmouth, Ohio, USA
I always play with the confidence that, if I have the good time I usually do when I play all by myself, anyone listening is going to enjoy it too.

If you are focused on the audience instead of simply focusing on the execution of your instrumental and vocal performance, you may indeed make a mistake.

Any energy diverted to fright or pride or anything but the performance (and your personal enjoyment of it) is probably a waste of energy. It wasn't really that important to you or them. Play. Sing. And when you are done, thank those who have listened.

Last edited by Gary E. Andrews; 12/23/09 11:28 PM.

There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com
#781117 - 12/23/09 11:36 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
Joined: Sep 2008
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Polly Hager Offline
Helping Hand
Polly Hager  Offline
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Cincinnati, OH USA
Gary, that was beautiful, and true. Just execute the song the best way you can...make it your own. smile


http://www.soundclick.com/pollyhager
http://www.facebook.com/polly.wilmot
http://www.reverbnation.com/rockcandycincy
You're supposed to be grooving as hard as you can, all of the time. - Stephen Gaskin
#781141 - 12/24/09 01:05 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Polly Hager]  
Joined: Dec 2006
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Gary E. Andrews Offline
Gary E. Andrews  Offline

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Portsmouth, Ohio, USA
Thank you, Polly.

Oh, and by the way, most audiences want you to succeed. They're very forgiving of mistakes.

And many don't notice little mistakes unless you stop and point them out. Keep going. Crack a joke. If they laugh they're in a good mood and look favorably on you.

And breathe. Oxygen helps you relax. And air is the necessary ingredient to sing. Fill your lungs and you can sing loud and strong.

Enjoy it, and they will too.


There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com
#781144 - 12/24/09 01:14 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Polly Hager]  
Joined: Oct 2007
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Wendy D Offline
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Wendy D  Offline
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Atlanta, GA USA
I added a guitar-only version of In the Bleak Midwinter to my Soundclick site. I did this several weeks ago. I was practicing with my guitar plugged-in to the audio box through a pick-up. This is just a clip-on pick-up I got to practice with. My guitar does not have one and I was just messing around with it one evening. I've been trying to learn how to use my new audio program (a very slow process), so I was playing around with setting the click track tempo, adding effects etc. Obviously, I'm no great shakes as a guitarist, but I mainly wanted to add this to illustrate that I can play the song. I was not using my tab when I recorded this because I've memorized it.

http://soundclick.com/share?songid=8519836

Also, usually when I sing and play, I use a music stand and sit down. I don't really read the music on the stand, it's just a prop, so I don't have to look at anyone. Basically, I guess I hide behind it.


http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

http://www.reverbnation.com/donsechelski

Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
#781585 - 12/26/09 09:47 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Wendy D]  
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,199
John Hoffman Offline
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John Hoffman  Offline
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Posts: 3,199
St. Peters, Mo.
Wendy,

Gunnery Sargent Gerhart United States Marine Corps said if you make a mistake just move on. Chances are no one will notice. They will assume that's the way it is supposed to go. Did you notice I misspelled sargeant? Alan spelled it differently than I and he was a career man so I assume he's right. Either way the band plays on.

Now when I sing they bang on the bathroom door and tell me to shut up. And I always get the words right because I'm just making 'em up as I go.

when all is said and done
there is only one thing to do
have fun
and that's the truth

John



Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword never had an editor.
#781679 - 12/26/09 07:28 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Wendy D]  
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 10
philkleinsourmusic Offline
Casual Observer
philkleinsourmusic  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 10
Hi, Wendy -

I've learned a few secrets about public performing that I believe are worth passing on. First, don't think of the audience as one large unit. Think of it as though you were performing for each one individually. Look around at them individually as much as you can and smile as much is natural. Remember: an audience will feel very uncomfortable if they sense that you are nervous. By the same token, if you look and act as though you are having fun, THEY will have fun. Try not to take yourself too seriously. If you goof somehow, smile and make a joke about it.

Audiences LOVE performers who are at ease. If you are comfortable, THEY will be comfortable.

Once you get in the habit of doing this all the time, it's easy and you will look forward to performing. And audiences will look forward to hearing and seeing you perform.

I'm an older guy, and I've been playing and teaching music all my life. Go to my web site www.philkleinsmusic.com to the
"live performance" section and you will hear how audiences and I react to each other.

Good luck. Phil Klein

#781721 - 12/26/09 11:03 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: philkleinsourmusic]  
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 10,330
Jean Bullock Offline
Jean Bullock  Offline

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Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 10,330
Anaheim, CA, USA
Wendy, I don't mean overly confident. I mean that you truly believe your voice is nice to listen to. If there is a lot of doubt in that area that could be the root of some of your performance problems.


Please visit my facebook EZ3D PopUps for free papercraft templates. Great for beginners of all ages.

Favorite Sites:
http://facebook.com/EZ3DPopUps
http://ez3dpopups.blogspot.com/
http://harrietschock.com
http://jpfolks.com
http://phillipmartin.com


#781774 - 12/27/09 02:57 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Jean Bullock]  
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,526
Polly Hager Offline
Helping Hand
Polly Hager  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,526
Cincinnati, OH USA
Wendy, I've heard you do several things, and they were absolutely LOVELY! Remember that slow, "big band" tune you did with Kaufman? Your voice FLOORED me on that! You have a beautiful voice, so please, try to be confident. Most people can't sing like you can, and it truly is a natural gift. smile


http://www.soundclick.com/pollyhager
http://www.facebook.com/polly.wilmot
http://www.reverbnation.com/rockcandycincy
You're supposed to be grooving as hard as you can, all of the time. - Stephen Gaskin
#782004 - 12/28/09 12:32 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: philkleinsourmusic]  
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,226
Wendy D Offline
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Wendy D  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,226
Atlanta, GA USA
Phil,

I've been having problems with my internet connection, so it's taking me time to get back to this post. It seems to be working tonight, thank goodness. I looked at your site and enjoyed listening. You are a wonderful performer.

I went back to church today and performed the song again. I mentioned that the meaning of it came to me when I was driving there this morning. In the Bleak Midwinter has interesting lyrics and I never quite understood it before, but I think it's about those dark times in your life when there seems to be no hope, but Christ came and shined his light in the middle of that winter. I had a couple of bobbles, but didn't make a face or say anything, just remained calm and continued. I was asked to sing another song this morning when I finished it. smile

Polly, Jean and John - Thanks for coming back and looking-in on this post. I don't want it to turn into a "lets make Wendy feel better" kind of thing. We all have music to make and things we need to do. I know I'm a Charlie Brown but I try not to assault people with that.

Thanks to everyone for their insights and suggestions on performing. This thread was very helpful for me. I've printed it, so I can refer to it from time to time.


http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

http://www.reverbnation.com/donsechelski

Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
#782383 - 12/29/09 01:39 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Wendy D]  
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 2,704
Kurt Fortmeyer Offline
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Kurt Fortmeyer  Offline
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Tennessee
When you stop getting nervous, it's time to give it up...because it obviously isn't important to you anymore.
The trick is to not focus on the nervousness, but to use the little energy boost it gives you to your advantage.

Concentrate on what you're doing.
I have found that the minute I start thinking about anything other than the song I'm playing (for instance..."What should I play next?", "Ohmigod, there's what's his/her name!", or "They don't seem to like this song.") the song that I'm playing suffers. Thinking about being nervous will do the same thing.
Plus, it starts feeding on itself exponentially.


NEVER complain about yourself to the crowd. Don't badmouth your own abilities, or apologize for your (often self-perceived) shortcomings. Let the audience make their own decisions. Don't give them any reason to believe that you are anything less than capable. They want you to be good at least as much as you do.

Alcohol doesn't fix it.
Reefer makes it worse.
'Nuff said.


I love words. They say so much.

http://kurtfortmeyer.com
#782472 - 12/29/09 07:12 PM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Kurt Fortmeyer]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 5,335
Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Don't follow Kurt Fortmeyer when you are playing in a round. That guy will mow you down.

MAB

#782651 - 12/30/09 04:01 AM Re: Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright [Re: Kurt Fortmeyer]  
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 9,649
Two Singers Offline
Two Singers  Offline

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Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 9,649
Northern Alabama
Originally Posted by Kurt Fortmeyer
When you stop getting nervous, it's time to give it up...because it obviously isn't important to you anymore.



Kurt,

You're one of the best I've heard who's not on the radio on a regular basis....and a whole lot better than many of them. I love what you do. But I do not fully agree with you on this. It might well be true for many or most people...I don't know. Other than when I first started playing professionally as a teenager in the 60s, I can't recall ever being nervous before a performance. I performed 20 - 30 shows a months from 1966 until 1990 (except for the year I was in Vietnam).

I equally enjoy public speaking. Some might say it's arrogance or over-confidence. Could be, I guess, but I don't think so. I'm just comfortable in front of a crowd. Like most folks, I made a ton of mistakes in my musical career...hit some wrong notes, forgot some words, couldn't quite make the high note after a modulation, etc. But, I accepted that those things are gonna happen. They're just part of my inadequacies, of which I have many. I'm just comfortable with the limitations I have. I'm fortunate and thankful to have the skills I do. I dwell on them, rather than what I cannot do.

Of course, I always strived to be better. But, at a certain point, you reach the limit of your skills and abilities. Idealistically, it can be said that if you keep trying, you can better. I do not believe that is always true. I maximized my talent, to the degree that I had some, and was comfortable in that position. To the chagrin of many folks here, I am not a perfectionist. I do not beat myself up for my short-comings. I just enjoyed playing and singing and entertaining the crowd. Other than family and friends, music and performing has brought me more joy than almost everything else in my life combined. I find it hard to get nervous about that!

Wish I lived closer to you so I could hear you live. You're one heck of a talent! All the best. Hope 2010 is the best year ever, so far, for you.

Alan

PS: I can believe what Marc-Alan said about following you...a recipe for musical anonymity!

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