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Bad, Bad Stage Fright :-(

Posted by Feistyfdlr on Monday, February 20, 2012

I have been practicing for a few months with two other musicians, one of whom writes his own music.  It was this music we were trying to add some fiddle to it to fluff it up and make it more interesting.  It sounded great with it and we were all set to go perform at one of the local library's  Feb 13th....that is until I walked into the building and saw how many people would be attending.  I jetted to the bathroom and tried to gain my composure then went back to try again.  I felt like I couldn't breathe and was so overcome with fear I couldn't get out of there fast enough.  I don't know what to do.  Picturing people in their underwear or naked doesn't work, having my back to the audience just doesn't feel right and doesn't seem to resolve the issue anyway.  I wasn't up there alone and my part wasn't anything technical that could be screwed up and nobody would know if we messed up because they've never heard the music before, but I was the only fiddler.  Even with my usual group of 12-20 musicians I am always the one hiding way in the back behind everyone else.  Thank goodness the other two musicians were understanding and not too upset with me.  I need to resolve this issue, but I'm at a loss as to what to do about it.  Any and all suggestions are welcomed and will definitely be considered. 

15 comments on “Bad, Bad Stage Fright :-(”

Msfiddlin Says:
Monday, February 20, 2012 @7:03:08 AM

Take some deep breaths, think positive, but mostly have a good time. A friend told me to pretend I was at home playing. He also told me to do it for myself, and that once I had done it, it would be easier next time.

Rene Says:
Monday, February 20, 2012 @7:17:23 AM

Been there, I still have those feelings on occassion and other times I am calm. Keep at it.

Bart Says:
Monday, February 20, 2012 @8:52:40 AM

Maybe consider a short-term course of counseling with someone who specializes in anxiety/panic. I'm not suggesting you had a full-on panic attack...only you would know. But...the breathing and fear sounded pretty intense.

TimK Says:
Monday, February 20, 2012 @9:34:45 AM

That's a tuff one, I've experienced it many times myself. Best thing to do is just get out there and try to blank out your suroundings and rely on your practice. Eventually it will get easier and you'll be able to enjoy yourself. It helps that you are not out there alone. Keep at it, it'll get better!

fiddlerd Says:
Monday, February 20, 2012 @11:25:05 AM

I'm in the same boat. I get in front of somebody and get nervous. That's why I'm taking a fiddle workshop. It's not just for learning it's so I can be around other fiddle player's and get past this. That is why I'm going to the bluegrass jam next month and each and every month. It's for all levels and they bring you along slowly. I have to get over playing in public!! I think that's why I have put the fiddle back in the closet so many times in the past.....NOT THIS TIME!!

fiddleiphile Says:
Monday, February 20, 2012 @3:41:37 PM

I assume you are comfortable playing with the people you are working with. Just turn slightly toward your band mates and play to them like you do when practicing. Don't stare out into the audience, keep focused on the music and your mates faces. They would'nt have you out there with them if they did'nt think you could do it. A little stage fright is a good thing, it will keep you on your toes and keeps things from becoming boring. If you mess up don't worry, we ALL do, just don't stop, keep plugging away, it will get back on track. People only remember the end of the piece so try to have it together by the end. Next thing you know you'll be hearing the applause.

Feistyfdlr Says:
Monday, February 20, 2012 @7:09:35 PM

Thank you all for the encouraging thoughts and words....and RELATING!

Feistyfdlr Says:
Monday, February 20, 2012 @7:13:01 PM

Thank you all for the encouraging thoughts and words....and RELATING! ;-) I remember hearing or reading somewhere that the only way to get past fear is not over, under or around it but straight through it. Easier said than done.

@ Bart~One of my band members actually gave me the number to a place that offers counseling for anxiety/panic. I feel silly about it but I guess I'll give'em a call and see what they say.

bj Says:
Monday, February 20, 2012 @7:16:55 PM

Try busking. It's very low key and people have the option of just walking by and you expect them to do just that. But if they stop to listen it's because you're doing something right. There's no pressure. It might be a good way for you to start to break in. At least once the weather breaks . . .

Bart Says:
Monday, February 20, 2012 @9:45:42 PM

@ Feistyfdlr, we've all got stuff in our lives we can use a hand with now and then, and if you can find someone you like and who helps you, what the heck. Life's too short not to get the help we may need, from wherever we can find it, and get on with enjoying our time here on earth. Good luck with whatever approach you choose! :-)

Andah1andah2 Says:
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 @5:21:37 PM

I bet you'll get more comfortable after the first song and "settle in". It's the initial fear that needs to wear away. Maybe you ask your buddies to not have the first tune focus on fiddle. When I speak in large groups with a microphone, I just need to get threw the first few lines, and breath, breath, don't forget to breath!

Watergal82 Says:
Friday, February 24, 2012 @11:55:09 AM

You say that you you are always the one hiding in the back even with your regular group of musicians. A good place to start might be to put yourself a little more forward there, where you really KNOW you've got a supportive group.

Feistyfdlr Says:
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 @8:09:20 AM

Andah~That might be true if I could have gotten on stage. I barely walked into the room and couldn't get out fast enough.

Watergal~That's what we were thinking but when it comes time for me to move a little more to the front, I get overcome with fear and then I get angry when they try to force me up front lol. Though it is probly the best place for me to start from.

Faire Fiddler Maid Says:
Saturday, March 3, 2012 @6:45:42 AM

I used to shake so badly that I had a unique sort of vibrato....didn't sound that great though. The thing that helped me was just experience playing in front of folks...the more I did it the easier it got. breathing definately helps...I used to hold my breath....also confidence,.....think of a funny joke ...practice by calling a friend and playing to them over the phone

The stand up and play one tune thing is the hardest. I still get tense but then after the first couple minutes I'm OK....I get tense making videos so that has become a pretty good way for me to work on this..

richdissmore Says:
Saturday, March 3, 2012 @9:35:09 AM

the bigest thing to do is relax RELAX people came there to see you play so RELAX and enjoy i know its hard to do the first time i sang in frount of people yes i did shake and sang in the higher octive or key but you will get over it keep fiddlening

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