Help Playing in front of Others

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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markodarko
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by markodarko » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:08 pm

2handband wrote:smoke a bowl before you go on...
Is that an American thang, Mr. 2hand?
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wchymeus
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by wchymeus » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:23 pm

Lots of bits and bytes on this topic... I suggest you search (see search box up there to the right) for 'stage fright'
One good thread that mentions other threads (feels like knitting on the subject) here: viewtopic.php?t=101044
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2handband
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by 2handband » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:26 pm

markodarko wrote:
2handband wrote:smoke a bowl before you go on...
Is that an American thang, Mr. 2hand?
Oh lord no... weed is the universal language of the touring musician! :lol:

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markodarko
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by markodarko » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:29 pm

Oh I seeeee. I thought "smoke a bowl" was lighting some kind of potpourri thing. I guess I wasn't too far off the mark. :D
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Jonathan Lamb
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by Jonathan Lamb » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:48 pm

I've been giving this matter some thought recently, as well as asking my Am-Dram friend how she addresses stage fright, and generally looking for answers or clues. I have two lines of thought, and one is totally consistent with the "practice, practice, practice" theme within this thread.
The other, is somewhat like the inverse (i.e. retrograde version) of what Scott Tennant said about smiling - that sometimes with smiling as with guitar technique, the smile happens as a physical phenomenon - pure contraction of muscle - and the emotion follows.
What I mean by this, is that stage anxiety that leads to one's foundering to some extent during performance, is a purely - if malicious - chain of physical sensations.
I noticed when I first started recording my pieces for the Delcamp online lessons that the mere knowledge of recording apparatus induced somehow, shoulder tension; which in turn restricts the movement of my wrist and thus the accuracy of my finger placements both plucking and stopping the frets.

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bear
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by bear » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:30 pm

Years ago, I fought professionally and my coach told me there were two kinds of fighters. The first enters the ring wondering what his opponent will do to him, the second enters the ring thinking of what he'll do to his opponent.
The first fighter has handicapped himself from the start.
I can find some similarities with performing.
Keep telling yourself you're gonna kick arse, even if you don't, at first, believe it. (Oh, and don't throw a spinning back kick if you've never done it before.)
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jpryan
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by jpryan » Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:46 pm

Paul Nicholas wrote:Any Jedi guitar tricks for performing in front of others?
For me one of the "tricks" is trying to control what I focus on. The more I'm able to focus on the music I'm playing the less of a distraction the audience is. Thoughts like, "I wonder what the audience/teacher thinks", are just not useful. I never had any trouble with focus playing with a band because I had the other musicians to pay attention to. It was easy to become absorbed in making music and the audience wasn't a factor. Playing solo was a different story until I figured out that (for me) it's all about focus.
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2handband
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by 2handband » Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:56 pm

jpryan wrote:
Paul Nicholas wrote:Any Jedi guitar tricks for performing in front of others?
For me one of the "tricks" is trying to control what I focus on. The more I'm able to focus on the music I'm playing the less of a distraction the audience is. Thoughts like, "I wonder what the audience/teacher thinks", are just not useful. I never had any trouble with focus playing with a band because I had the other musicians to pay attention to. It was easy to become absorbed in making music and the audience wasn't a factor. Playing solo was a different story until I figured out that (for me) it's all about focus.
If you think of it the right way, focusing on the audience can be useful. I'll try a weird analogy... it's like when you're approaching a member of the opposite gender at a gig. When are you the most successful... when you're stressing over all the ways she/he can shoot you down, or when you're thinking about how lucky that person is going to be to enjoy the pleasure of your company? Playing for an audience is the same way... look out at the crowd and just tell yourself how blown away they are going to be by your awesomeness. You work yourself into a state where you can't wait to get out there and show them what you've got.

It might sound like psychobabble, but it really works.

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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by Erik Zurcher » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:09 pm

Recording yourself regularly will certainly help: when you press the record button you will feel the same kind of anxiety. Recordings also reveal the parts that need more attention.

Last but not least: sing along (in your head) while you are playing. The moment I forget to sing along, I start making mistakes.
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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by Rick Beauregard » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:13 pm

I've been reading Noa Kageyama's blogs. He's a musician turned sports psychologist and deals a lot with performance anxiety in his tips. He gives some great tactics for practicing for performance, memory retention and recovery. For example he recommends something called interleaved practice - short sessions on multiple pieces or sections - to improve recovery of memorized pieces. Shearer's method also covers performance practice (book 3) and memorizing pieces (book 2).
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souldier
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by souldier » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:49 pm

Practically everyone will have to deal with performance anxiety, some more than others. I remember Christopher Parkening share how Segovia remarked that before a concert he is just about ready to cancel it due to anxiety, but by the end of the concert he wants to do it all over again. There was an instance where Segovia started a concert playing absolutely terribly, causing him to lose the attention of the audience, but by the end he was getting standing ovations and cheers for encores. Even the pros have to deal with performance anxiety, so don't feel too bad about it.

In the past year I've been playing more and more in front of a live audience both big and small. I haven't overcome performance anxiety, nor do I ever expect to fully get rid of it, but I've brought the stress down to a healthy amount - just enough to push me while still having steady enough hands to play with accuracy and musicality. Here are some key lessons I've learned:

1. When I've learned a new piece and polished it, I play it several times for my wife with her full attention. Utilize these simple opportunities to play in front of people and incorporate it as part of your practice. It's also great to have someone else you love take part in your joy.

2. The first 5 seconds are crucial. Don't just jump into the piece. Pause, take a deep breath, and mentally prepare yourself to play with good technique and musicality. It helps to practice the very beginning of the piece several times with this mindset. How you play the piece in the first few seconds could determine how you play the rest of the piece.

3. Several long and deep breaths can go a long way. I start doing this 30 minutes before going on stage

4. Be sure to iron out the parts of a piece that brings you the most confusion and anxiety. There is the right and wrong way to practice the tricky spots of a song.

5. I look back and remember all the other times I performed successfully in front of people without excessive anxiety

6. Make a conscious effort to relieve excess tension just before playing. I find that I make a lot more mistakes when my anxiety causes me to put a death grip on my fingerboard.

7. Most importantly, I've learned to analyze my thoughts and understand the reasons behind my anxiety. Through self introspection I discovered that the reason I am nervous is because I am terrified to make mistakes and embarrass myself. I entertained the false thought that it would be a tragedy to make a mistake in front of people, as if they will look down upon me. I also realized that I am afraid of tarnishing my reputation, as if people will think less of me. Since I discovered these thoughts, I realized, ITS OKAY to make mistakes, it is not in the end of the world, and life will move on and nobody will care 10 minutes after the performance, and if they do, what's the big deal? I've also shifted my focus of playing away from seeking to puff myself up, to my real reason for playing which is to bless others and glorify God. You may have a different reason to play in front of others, but I think it's really important to understand what really motivates you to play for other people.
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by Adam » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:39 am

Probably the best thing you can do is know the piece or pieces inside and out. You should be able to visualize through it. Relying on muscle memory will result in failure. The tension builds, you lose your place, then it's over. I've seen it happen, and it's not pretty. I wouldn't play a piece at a recital unless I knew it backward and forward.

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SixStringShooter716
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by SixStringShooter716 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:54 pm

"The amateur practices until he gets it right, the professional practices until he can't get it wrong." I am stealing this quote, thanks 2handband.

As far as getting rid of the nerves, aside from the advice given by the others, I would just add that for the average person they won't know if you missed a note here or there, or that you're timing was off for a certain section etc. When I've performed and made a mistake/flub, I was usually the only one that noticed.

And to second what others have said, you just have to play in front of as many people as often as you can.

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markodarko
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by markodarko » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:43 pm

I have to say that knowing the piece inside and out doesn't guarantee performance success. I've seen plenty of professionals mess up in a live situation with pieces I'm sure they knew backwards. It happens to the best. Even Julian Bream fluffs up in his recital on the BBC iPlayer recording and you can see him visibly get annoyed and tense at that. I think the thing to keep in mind is that it matters more how you recover from those mistakes, not in not making any - although of course that would be preferable. :D
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dihang94
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by dihang94 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:47 am

Personally, the reason why I could not play as well in front of an audience compared to when I'm playing alone is mainly an issue of confidence. When I am not 100% confident that I could play a piece without making a single mistake, I tend to get nervous in front of people. So the solution is simply to be so confident of not making a mistake. Being nervous is a psychological condition after all, IMO. Another technique that I employ while playing in front of an audience is to focus on bring out the details of the music, and my mind would be so occupied with controlling the guitar that I simply do not have enough effort to think of the audience.

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