Stage fright

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Stephen.Verderber
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:10 pm

Re: Stage fright

Post by Stephen.Verderber » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:33 pm

Stage fright is a good thing, sounds weird I know, but it means you care enough to want to do your best.

Study up on meditation and practice it, use some of the exercises you learn before a performance to help relax you. Once you start playing, and when you make a mistake, keep on playing. Most people will not even notice your mistake, and don't make a face if you do make a mistake, just keep going.

There will be times when you get "in the zone" and it is effortless, and there will be times that you struggle. Accept it, think about how fortunate you are to be in the position to perform for people. It is a beautiful thing we do, performing, and it is an honor to be able to do so.

Rome714
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Location: Fullerton, CA

Re: Stage fright

Post by Rome714 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:18 am

The way I dealt with stage fright is just being more self confident and obviously practicing the pieces until you know them inside and out. If you are not confident in having them ready completely you are going to second guess yourself and it will always be in the back of your mind that you are going to mess up or forget something. You should be out on the stage to express yourself and not worry too much about the technical aspect of it since it should've already been worked out during practice.
76' Mattingly CD/IN, 95' David Daily CD/IN, 97' Eric Sahlin SP/BRW(serial #200), 03' GV Rubio Estudio CD/Palo escrito
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JefferyHeiderscheit
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Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:46 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Stage fright

Post by JefferyHeiderscheit » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:17 pm

I haven't done it yet, but I have found an "open stage" place in my community that allows students/players to perform pieces for each other in a coffee house setting on the first Sunday of the month. It is meant to be in a very safe and supportive environment where classical guitarists of all abilities share pieces. Maybe look in your area to see if there is anything like that around. The guitar society in my area is where I learned of it. I plan to go for the first time next month to watch, but to have my guitar along in case the spirit moves me.
The only way to get over stage fright is to keep at it.
For my living, I do a lot of public speaking. It took a while to get over fear, but now I can speak in front of any size crowd with total calm.
Playing my classical guitar is another thing entirely but I plan to work on it.
1971 Shinano SC20 (spruce)
1982 Yamaha G255sii (cedar)

Swin
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:36 pm
Location: Georgia (USA)

Re: Stage fright

Post by Swin » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:44 pm

JefferyHeiderscheit wrote:I haven't done it yet, but I have found an "open stage" place in my community that allows students/players to perform pieces for each other in a coffee house setting on the first Sunday of the month. It is meant to be in a very safe and supportive environment where classical guitarists of all abilities share pieces. Maybe look in your area to see if there is anything like that around. The guitar society in my area is where I learned of it. I plan to go for the first time next month to watch, but to have my guitar along in case the spirit moves me.
The only way to get over stage fright is to keep at it.
For my living, I do a lot of public speaking. It took a while to get over fear, but now I can speak in front of any size crowd with total calm.
Playing my classical guitar is another thing entirely but I plan to work on it.
Let us know how it goes for you!

Once I get the repertoire, I was thinking about going to some senior living places to play. That would be a good way to ease into it...

powderedtoastman
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:15 am
Location: Sunnyvale, CA

Re: Stage fright

Post by powderedtoastman » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:18 pm

Swin wrote:
JefferyHeiderscheit wrote:I haven't done it yet, but I have found an "open stage" place in my community that allows students/players to perform pieces for each other in a coffee house setting on the first Sunday of the month. It is meant to be in a very safe and supportive environment where classical guitarists of all abilities share pieces. Maybe look in your area to see if there is anything like that around. The guitar society in my area is where I learned of it. I plan to go for the first time next month to watch, but to have my guitar along in case the spirit moves me.
The only way to get over stage fright is to keep at it.
For my living, I do a lot of public speaking. It took a while to get over fear, but now I can speak in front of any size crowd with total calm.
Playing my classical guitar is another thing entirely but I plan to work on it.
Let us know how it goes for you!

Once I get the repertoire, I was thinking about going to some senior living places to play. That would be a good way to ease into it...
We have a guitar society that does an open mic once a month, which I have attended almost every one over the last year. I've gotten to know the regulars very well, and yet mentally I find it to be a rather difficult outlet to play.
I've played at house parties at my friends' places, did an hour volunteer program at a retirement home, and now I'm volunteering two hours a week at a nearby medical office and I can stay very relaxed and in my element at any of those places, and yet I still tense up for open mic. The human mind is a strange beast!

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amy3000
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Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:02 pm
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA

Re: Stage fright

Post by amy3000 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:40 pm

JefferyHeiderscheit wrote:I haven't done it yet, but I have found an "open stage" place in my community that allows students/players to perform pieces for each other in a coffee house setting on the first Sunday of the month. It is meant to be in a very safe and supportive environment where classical guitarists of all abilities share pieces. Maybe look in your area to see if there is anything like that around. The guitar society in my area is where I learned of it. I plan to go for the first time next month to watch, but to have my guitar along in case the spirit moves me.
The only way to get over stage fright is to keep at it.
For my living, I do a lot of public speaking. It took a while to get over fear, but now I can speak in front of any size crowd with total calm.
Playing my classical guitar is another thing entirely but I plan to work on it.
Jeffery, be sure to come the 2nd Sunday of the month or you might not find any other CGers. :) I go fairly regularly. It is the friendliest of audiences. I watched the first time I went too. Definitely bring your guitar. If you don't and want to play someone will loan you their guitar (mine is a 615mm so you might not want to use mine). May 14th is the last one until next fall. There's also a meetup group and they have an open mic the 3rd Saturday of the month at the same coffee shop. As for mistakes, even the best make them. I saw Raphaella Smits play last night. She made a few mistakes and had some momentary memory lapses. It was a wonderful concert none the less.

sosa6string
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:40 am
Location: London

Re: Stage fright

Post by sosa6string » Sun Apr 23, 2017 2:31 pm

By doing it often ie practise, and by pretending the audience isn't there.
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Marcelo Barbero 1961

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D.Cass
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Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 6:16 pm
Location: Tri-Cities WA

Re: Stage fright

Post by D.Cass » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:46 pm

Seems like a lot of stage fright stems from insecurity of the piece. So, I am usually well rehearsed before performing. I could play both hand parts independently, solfege the tune, count the rhythms aloud, rehearse everything I say and do, and have deep understanding of the piece. That was the system I programmed to do. I did a the Vivaldi concerto a couple of years. I learned to play everyone's part. Perhaps that is a bit extreme, but it gave me a better understanding of the big picture.
Then there is general nervousness before playing. I tend to accept I will be nervous or anxious to play. Usually I go for a walk to clear my mind and refocused my attention on the music. I also tend to talk to people before the the downbeat and keep a lively and positive attitude. Then right before I hitting the stage; a deep breathe and go. However, I have friends that swear that eating bananas reduce anxiety. I guess to each their own.

JefferyHeiderscheit
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:46 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Stage fright

Post by JefferyHeiderscheit » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:33 pm

Thank you Amy3000! That is exactly what I was looking for.......I was planning to go in May. When I looked at the coffee shop website I only found the Saturday one all of a sudden, so I'm thankful you mentioned the Sunday one. I may just come and watch if it is the last one for season (but I'll still bring my guitar. Is that Mother's Day? That might be a deal breaker.....need to check to see plans for my family :-)
Jeff
1971 Shinano SC20 (spruce)
1982 Yamaha G255sii (cedar)

William Gregg
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Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:44 am
Location: Trumansburg, NY, USA

Re: Stage fright

Post by William Gregg » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:24 am

I have been performing for 58 years. I still get stage fright..... pace back and forth, think I can't possibly do this, have to wipe sweat off my palms. Nevertheless I still perform. I prepare, rehearse, prepare, rehearse and then rehearse some more. Being prepared means that even if I make a mistake it will not result in a breakdown. When the show is finished, I am always astounded and humbled by the reaction of the audience. But then I realize my anxiety was forgotten because I was too busy putting every ounce of emotion I had into that performance.

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lucy
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Location: England

Re: Stage fright

Post by lucy » Sat May 06, 2017 3:31 pm

William Gregg wrote:
Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:24 am
I have been performing for 58 years. I still get stage fright..... pace back and forth, think I can't possibly do this, have to wipe sweat off my palms. Nevertheless I still perform. I prepare, rehearse, prepare, rehearse and then rehearse some more. Being prepared means that even if I make a mistake it will not result in a breakdown. When the show is finished, I am always astounded and humbled by the reaction of the audience. But then I realize my anxiety was forgotten because I was too busy putting every ounce of emotion I had into that performance.
:bravo:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. Theodore Roosevelt

Smudger5150
Posts: 218
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:18 pm

Re: Stage fright

Post by Smudger5150 » Mon May 08, 2017 10:31 pm

Just started watching a program on UK TV about stress and a professor was advocating that a good approach to stress and anxiety was to turn it into excitement. The reasoning was something along the lines of the body is going through the same process in both situations but the body uses it more productively when we are excited but uses it negatively when we are anxious/afraid....well, that's probably not quite right but the caveat is to this point is that in our modern lifestyles, we can't turn the anxiety or stress into the fight or flight scenario that are predecessors would have.
So I'm wondering if 1 approach to performance would be to..turn it into an exciting experience !?
The professor advised people in these test, stressful situations (singing karoake!) to repeat the mantra: "I am excited!" a few times to try and trick themselves into being that way. And in that way, the body, I guess, uses the built-up stress positively.
So I wonder if trying to calm ourselves down, when we come to a performance, might be holding on to that underlying stress and anxiety rather than turning it into the excitement of playing.

I must admit that I've not kept up with all the comments on this thread so apologies if this kind of thing has been mentioned before.
But I'm interested in what you people out there think as to whether anyone has heard this kind of thing before and if it might have some potential.
I was in the 'calm oneself down' camp before seeing the program so if this is better strategy then I'm all for it.
If anyone else saw the program and think I've misunderstood then polite comments please to correct me ;-)
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"If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don’t practice for three days, the public knows it." Louis Armstrong

Lawler
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Re: Stage fright

Post by Lawler » Mon May 08, 2017 11:01 pm

William Gregg wrote:
Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:24 am
I have been performing for 58 years. I still get stage fright..... pace back and forth, think I can't possibly do this, have to wipe sweat off my palms. Nevertheless I still perform. I prepare, rehearse, prepare, rehearse and then rehearse some more. Being prepared means that even if I make a mistake it will not result in a breakdown. When the show is finished, I am always astounded and humbled by the reaction of the audience. But then I realize my anxiety was forgotten because I was too busy putting every ounce of emotion I had into that performance.
I respect that.

I wish more posts on this forum were about personal experience.

Tim W
Posts: 289
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:28 pm
Location: Galesville, MD

Re: Stage fright

Post by Tim W » Tue May 09, 2017 12:19 pm

My performance anxiety takes the form of"shakes", which makes for a poor performance, regardless of preparation. That in turn cranks up the anxiety for the next performance. Apparently, performance anxiety provokes a fight/flight response that triggers the release of adrenalin, which causes the dry mouth, rapid pulse, shakes, etc. It typically takes 10-15 minutes for the body to clear the excess adrenalin and stabilize. Having a "green room" to warm up in is a help, and I can usually play comfortably after the initial 10 minutes or so. I have no performance anxiety when speaking. I hope to "beat it" out of my system by forcing myself to perform frequently in a judgmental setting.

Karen
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Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Stage fright

Post by Karen » Tue May 09, 2017 4:52 pm

I wrote in a previous post about my difficulties playing in front of my teacher, a beginner form of stage fright I believe. It was suggested in this forum I try videoing myself and this really worked! I brought in some videos to my next lesson but didn't need them as I was finally able to play something! (Never well, but that is why I'm taking lessons, right?) It still isn't the same as being on stage, but it seems to help get used to performing. I still video myself once a week and find I still tense up when doing it! It also helps me evaluate what I am doing right or wrong. (I would do it with all practices but it is time consuming and interferes with my concentration.) I do recommend it especially to those just starting. I just use my iPad, which doesn't help with tone, but does help many other ways. I don't know if this helps with going on the stage but at least it is an easy way to start getting used to performing.

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