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May 23, 2024 - 7:13:26 AM
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6514 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

Hmm dwelling on this thought…

Not PERFORMING the music “in front” of others,
but SHARING the music “with” others…


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May 23, 2024 - 8:47:56 AM
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RichJ

USA

989 posts since 8/6/2013

quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

Hmm dwelling on this thought…

Not PERFORMING the music “in front” of others,
but SHARING the music “with” others…


Hey NCnotes, I really like this concept when it comes to playing music for an audience. Somehow the idea of "performing" in front of a crowd conjures up thoughts of watching a monkey and the organ grinder. 

May 23, 2024 - 9:47:53 AM
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1532 posts since 3/1/2020

I think there are different ways to play music for an audience. It can be an informal setting where music is a backdrop or something like a jam, where the players play for each other and people are able to listen if they want. It can also be a more formal setting where the audience is listening actively to a performance. Active listening to music has become less common in current culture but its value is inestimable.

In any of these settings, communicating something through music with other people is what makes it valuable.

For some musicians, stage fright is a condition that can’t be eliminated, but with effort it can be managed. Some are able to eliminate it, some don’t have issues with it.

May 25, 2024 - 7:41:38 PM
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2526 posts since 8/23/2008

Here's a book that's worth a read...."The Inner Game Of Music".
Basically, it's about how...... "to reduce mental interferences (whatever they might be) that inhibit full expression" ..... by investigating methods of focusing deeply on the music, thus allowing no room in the mind for self-doubt, freeing you to share your passion for the music...

May 26, 2024 - 10:57:13 AM
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2540 posts since 4/6/2014

Presumably continuing to monitor where your bow is on the string , how much weight you are applying, tone intonation, rhythm, phrasing, position changes, melodic flow, drones, double stops, harmonic structure, context, room acoustics, background noise, ...etc...etc, would be enough to take your mind away from any nervousness you would be experiencing otherwise ?

Odd thing is, players i have watched and listened to, who seem to be relaxed doing all those things at once, seem to be in a different dimension to me. like they have set their physical self off playing this tune, but their mind is separate from their body. Obviously that is not the case. But that is how it looks and sounds to me.

May 27, 2024 - 3:45:34 PM
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Peghead

USA

1716 posts since 1/21/2009

Others have mentioned it, and I agree that knowing the material puts you in the best frame of mind towards reducing the jitters. If you're unprepared you have a good reason to be anxious! It's normal to be a little antsy before a gig especially when people are focused on the music and not just milling around (or drinking) If you've done your homework and are reasonably prepared as best you can it's time to just take some deep breaths, smile and enjoy yourself knowing that you're ready. It doesn't need to be perfect, we're our worst critics.

May 27, 2024 - 5:04:45 PM
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DougD

USA

11987 posts since 12/2/2007

NCnotes - This thread got a little beyond me, but your last posts brought it back a bit. A couple thoughts.
1. I wouldn't advise playing with your eyes closed in the modern world. Twice I've inadvertantly closed my eyes while playing a little tune, only to open them to find someone standing in front of me. Not really unwelcome, but unexpected. But its only a matter of time before you'll find somebody in a hockey mask, getting ready to rev up his chainsaw. Not meaning to contribute to your anxiety, just sayin'.
2. The shot of whiskey. Many substances have been tried to relieve anxiety and increase confidence in performance (and in life). The results over time are not generally successful, and sometimes tragically disastrous. So be careful.
Stage fright afflicts the best of us. The Band, one of the greatest groups ever, IMHO, and who I saw give a wonderful, tight show in 1970, recorded this song and in fact titled their third album "Stage Fright." There's been lots of speculation about who this was about, but nobody knows for sure.
youtu.be/NZMfZe7OFFk?feature=shared

May 27, 2024 - 7:06:58 PM
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895 posts since 6/11/2019

Here's another take:

Playing on a stage for people I don't know I have no problems with. No matter the crowd number.

But, playing for folks I do know (even my small church congregation) does make me nervous. Weird

So, maybe it's the needless worry about coming up short to your friend.

May 27, 2024 - 9:54:25 PM

1214 posts since 7/30/2021

Hmm, I actually do think it's partly what Greg (Peghead) said...
the stagefright is at its worst because I can't practice/prepare!

When I used to play classical, there were many rehearsals before we performed. We knew exactly what we were going to play, and in what order...ironed out all the rough patches (with help of a conductor or chamber music group) and I felt confident about my playing. So when it was "go" time, I felt excited to do this thing we had prepared for so long.

With the Irish Trad, I can't really prepare like that...sets are spontaneous...I never know what we'll play in advance! So if I snafu on Foxhunter's reel because I haven't played it in 3 months, oh well! And messing up like that in front of an "audience" is horrifying to a violinist! ( Although I think the reality is that nobody is listening that closely, or would notice....)

Nevertheless I am working up the courage for our next gazebo date. I can't resist playing music with such a good player. I wanna play with her before she goes off and joins some Irish band, LOL.


buckhenry Thanks for the book name, that is such an interesting topic. I am definitely going to look for that book!

DougD Perfect song for this thread. And they do play really good and tight! Great band name! :-D

May 27, 2024 - 11:04:14 PM

2526 posts since 8/23/2008

Every band I ever played in we had a permanent list of tune sets for the dances, and we played the same sets at every gig, so we knew them well. I am usually the only lead player when I'm called to do a gig, so I can play any of the tunes in my repertoire. If I was to play an impromptu gig with other tune player/s, we would compare tune lists and only play the tunes we are comfortable with. Or, if time permitting, learn required tunes, or bring sheet music, after all it's a gig not a jam session, or was it.....
Messing up can happen, but keep bowing in rhythm, sometimes you'll end up with a variation, then immediately focus on the task at hand and look as if nothing happened.

May 28, 2024 - 6:16:20 AM

1214 posts since 7/30/2021

Yes, the trick is not to grimace and say “darn!” Or shout “sorry!” when you mess up! :-) which I have done…

Having a setlist would be GREAT but the players around here aren’t so organized…even at our st Patrick’s “gig” with about 8 of us playing, we showed up and flew by the seat of our pants! (But our sesh leader has been at this for 30 years, and has an incredible memory of who knows what tunes…).

May 29, 2024 - 5:32:52 PM
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Old Scratch

Canada

1257 posts since 6/22/2016

quote:
Originally posted by Flat_the_3rd_n7th

Here's another take:

Playing on a stage for people I don't know I have no problems with. No matter the crowd number.

But, playing for folks I do know (even my small church congregation) does make me nervous. Weird

So, maybe it's the needless worry about coming up short to your friend.


Yeah, well-meaning people will say, "Don't be nervous; we're your friends!", and I'll think, "That's precisely WHY I'm nervous!

May 29, 2024 - 5:38:14 PM

2526 posts since 8/23/2008

Yeah, well-meaning people will say, "Don't be nervous; we're your friends!", and I'll think, "That's precisely WHY I'm nervous!

Yeah, you dont wanna mess up in front of your friends, you wont hear the last of it.....

May 29, 2024 - 6:55:20 PM

2514 posts since 12/11/2008

Try to maintain the rhythm & drive of the piece. If you hit a wrong note or make a scrunching sound, at least a few folks'll think you did it on purpose. Practice in front of a mirror. It'll cut down on those damnable shaking, hiccuping bow strokes.

May 29, 2024 - 7:28:13 PM

1214 posts since 7/30/2021

yep it will masquerade as a crunchy triplet or a “blue note” :-D

Mine is more like being frightened out of the ability to count to two…
common stage fright error is ONE A-part or ONE B-part, and let’s move on and forget about repeats, folks!

I guess not as noticeable to listeners but causes mass confusion in people you are playing with!
Luckily my flute friend is as cool as a cucumber…”okayyy…...guess we’re not repeating that part…” and she'll meet me in a handful of notes. Most people I play with would stop playing,  look confused, and the music will crash! 

May 30, 2024 - 5:17:19 AM
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3404 posts since 10/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

yep it will masquerade as a crunchy triplet or a “blue note” :-D

Mine is more like being frightened out of the ability to count to two…
common stage fright error is ONE A-part or ONE B-part, and let’s move on and forget about repeats, folks!

I guess not as noticeable to listeners but causes mass confusion in people you are playing with!
Luckily my flute friend is as cool as a cucumber…”okayyy…...guess we’re not repeating that part…” and she'll meet me in a handful of notes. Most people I play with would stop playing,  look confused, and the music will crash! 


AA-BB: First A, left toe pointing left. 2nd A, left toe pointing straight. 1st B, right toe pointing straight. 2nd B, right  toe pointing right. 

Or practice the piece as a total package, where it sounds odd to you if play it differently from the intended.

May 30, 2024 - 7:21:34 AM

1214 posts since 7/30/2021

That is very nifty! I will try it out!

May 30, 2024 - 12:36:10 PM
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15012 posts since 9/23/2009

I've been thinking about this a little, and I do think, well I know for a fact, the behavior modification technique works very well to overcome any type irrational fear, but you have to get into situations where you can do it. For instance, after being in a crowded public place where someone was shot and total mayhem happened, I got too fearful to be in crowds...I avoided crowds and eventually could not work...stayed home and eventually could not leave the house...the behavior modification technique, flooding, as mentioned above, had to be done...like go out of the house, stay out until you stop sweating and start to calm down. then go to a small store, stay in there until you work through the pounding heart and gasping and sweating...don't leave the place until it's wearing off some. finally go into crowded places like where I worked when the shooting happened right in front of me...stay...leave only when you have calmed down some, etc. It works for sure, but it takes time and you have to be able to stick with it.

So I was thinking for the music...if you had a jam you could go to where they have a little stage area and people sitting around (usually spouses of the jammers) drinking something, talking, etc., and you can get up there and play...play on a regular basis. Or play in church on a regular basis...play regularly anywhere...don't leave that stage...stand on the stage as much as you can even if you aren't playing. Exposure until your nerves get tired of being irrationally nervous and finally give out. I would play in a church somewhere...volunteer for every Sunday...play in a jam where there is a featured area where people can listen...or better yet, if you can find a jam that meets up in a restaurant or someplace where you have to see people looking at you while you play. You'll get tired of being nervous...but it takes a lot of regular exposure. Here I am telling you to find these places to play in...lol...and I can't find one doggone play to play, myself. I was saying the other day I'm gonna start telling people I'll not only play for free...I'll give them a hundred dollars to LET me play, collect tips and donate them back to the place...lol. I'll give them the title to the car...lol...take all my clothes...lol. But anyway...even if I can't find those places myself...I do know for a fact if you could do it on a regular basis in those situations the science of behavior modification would kick in and you'd be cool as the center seed of a cucumber and get to enjoy playing for people in probably within a year.

May 30, 2024 - 12:40:03 PM

bsed55

USA

4364 posts since 6/23/2007

I second Mobob. Beta blockers could help settle your jitters. They worked pretty well for me. Even if you have, as Doug says, prepared properly, you can still get those jitters.

May 30, 2024 - 1:34:21 PM

doryman

USA

602 posts since 2/10/2020

I know that this advice has been given many times to ease performance nerves, but it's worth repeating again...when you're standing in front of a large group, about to play and you're feeling nervous, imagine that you are standing there in your underwear.

Wait, that doesn't sound right.

May 30, 2024 - 2:59:03 PM
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bsed55

USA

4364 posts since 6/23/2007

Isn't it the other way around? Imagining your audience in THEIR underwear? Because if I think I am standing in front of an audience in just my underwear, my stage fright will be off the scale.

May 30, 2024 - 3:05:06 PM

doryman

USA

602 posts since 2/10/2020

quote:
Originally posted by bsed55

Isn't it the other way around? Imagining your audience in THEIR underwear? Because if I think I am standing in front of an audience in just my underwear, my stage fright will be off the scale.


I guess it depends upon how you think you look in your underwear. 

May 30, 2024 - 4:16:57 PM

3404 posts since 10/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by bsed55

Isn't it the other way around? Imagining your audience in THEIR underwear? Because if I think I am standing in front of an audience in just my underwear, my stage fright will be off the scale.


Underwear? Haw! I been married so long, I could stand nekid in front of a full stadium. 

Ego is a funny thing.  You can absolutely know what you're doing, yet have no ego. The sin of pride will get you too. It's the ketchup waiting for that brand new white shirt. Hahahahha!

May 30, 2024 - 5:10:14 PM

3646 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

... the behavior modification technique works very well to overcome any type irrational fear, but you have to get into situations where you can do it.
 


Behavior modification always strikes me as like brainwashing laugh. You make some good points but would point out that "behavior modification technique works very well to overcome any type irrational fear", is easier said than done. Doesn't always work... for some folks they have to develop another strategy.

Exposure until your nerves get tired of being irrationally nervous and finally give out... You'll get tired of being nervous...but it takes a lot of regular exposure.

That irrational fear, exposure idea is valid for some, to a degree... though not everyone; reminds me of an analogy that might relate to... driving, nerves or suffer anxiety when it comes to driving a car in big urban areas.

Like my nephew, as well as my mother law; thing is they don't a problem driving... capable and reasonably confident... and even enjoy the act of driving, in rural small town environments. Not much traffic, most folks are friendly, wave to them as go by; not much aggressive drivers, or easy enough to wave someone past. Part is comfortable with the navigation mental map (like repertoire); but even when comes to new repertoire, routes, towns; slight initial concern of getting little lost, but not much big fear. Makes sense within comfort zone. But then when come to need to drive in city... they have all sorts of anxiety, fear... naturally due to increased density of cars, lot's more drivers to keep track of, going faster, much more signs and roads twisting around to figure out and keep track of; of course stupid and aggressive drivers... so yep nerves and anxiety. Typical idea/advice... about exposure; learning knowing your repertoire (the navigation map)... and over time you'll fears go away, relax, be in comfort zone.

Maybe not that easy... My nephew got a job that had to drive in the city... 5 days a week, did that for years. Did a little easier, developed comfortable repertoire of routes... and seemed could functionally drive and get around. I was kind of puzzled, as riding with him seemed to get by fine but always seemed slightly stiff, tense; and even despite routes he knew well, would still sometimes miss turns. As well was always seemed make excuses to avoid driving to things. As he told me, overall the anxiety/nerves didn't give out, go away, never got in comfort zone... even after years of daily driving. I'm sure got tired of being nervous; but as he said, he had to because of work... he just had to learn how to suck it up... it wasn't debilitating, found manage it so as to function. But it was always elevated stress/anxiety... never comfortable or enjoyable experience. So would pretty much avoid city driving if didn't have really good reason. Tired of that, probably part of why finally decided to get a job and move to very rural place. My mother-in-law is similar, despite years of experience; but that's in Mexico City... that is a crazy place to drive. What level of fear/anxiety is irrational there?

Part of this is about very defensive driver... requires elevated focus; attention to all the other cars/drivers, am going to get over that lane, what's that guy doing... and signs and pedestrians, and just array of lots more of other eye distractions. Yes, mind is working working overtime... and perhaps some irrational fear. But in their mind, not totally irrational; as still have to pay attention to all that, can't just ignore it; very aware of hearing "news" - reports of all these accidents; and has seen many; though aware of concept news might make distorted, over hyped... can't shake it out of mind; "don't worry about it" is just abstract words. So part of the management for them, is trying to focus on "more control" of things they can... just to functionally get thru task.

 

Similar in some musicians. Despite tired of being nervous; can never quite overcome, numb to the nervousness; so as to find relaxed, comfort zone;... rather aiming more for "safe" zone... and more control (avoid potential risk); a bit like pain management... just to functionally manageable to get through the set.

To that control, safe zone thing. Many helps them to have some ritual things... might see them a bit obsess on some things like prep beforehand; perhaps to help in mind to avoid risk, or just feel of more control. Might obsess about setup, where stand, mic is; one friend has to for ritual change new strings that day (guitar strings are inexpensive); no matter if just changed and hardly played yesterday. Another friend just plans to throw up before going on stage (yikes). Others it is something like same consistent rituals, like sit and enjoy a pint, not for alcohol just as relax ritual. Some bands have like a spots team put hands in and some cheer, chant, maybe prayer; I have found these good even despite SF... helps relax remind each other bond as a team, have each others back. Could also perhaps do that pre game ritual with close significant others, friend, family.

Curious if or what rituals others have used?
 

May 30, 2024 - 6:21:48 PM

15012 posts since 9/23/2009

Well as we can see by all the responses, stage fright is no fun and there are many approaches. But I would say also that behavior modification techniques have been studied for decades and are definitely not brain washing, as Alaska Fiddler has suggested. There probably are varying degrees of exposure to work with though, depending on the person, the irrational fear, and the situation. I would think if a person was too nervous to think or play at all, if they could find a place where they could just be up on the stage with others, and just play a note or two here or there, at first, and then work up to it...that would be helpful over time. As I said before...I had a real problem that went on for a few years and ended up suffering severe and disabling panic attacks that kept me from walking out the door of the house, since going through the shooting in a crowded restaurant where I was a waitress as a youngster. My exposure was tough to get through, because I had fed the fear by avoiding crowded places more and more until everything outside the door of the house hit my panic button like a crowded place. But it might even be worthwhile to either find nice musicians who would let you hang out on stage with a note added here or there, or who would be ok with letting you fumble through until you get calmer, or even find a behavior modification therapist...no pills, no drugs, no booze, just working the nerves out. Here the science behind the technique. psychcentral.com/blog/ocd-and-...-exposure

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