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Playing in front of strangers.


(@cheesehead54)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 37
Topic starter  

I have found latley that I play better, more at ease, when I play in front of strangers. At least more than in front of real close friends and family. Is it just me?


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(@davidhodge)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 4485
 

As mentioned some point other-elsewhere:

For the longest time, I would havee agreed with you - lots easier to play before complete strangers than in front of friends. It used to be the better the friend, the harder it was. But (big surprise coming) with practice and opportunity, not to mention making the time and opportunity to play for friends, it all eventually evened out. "Eventually" is in terms of several years, by the bye...

When you think about it, there is a sense to feeling this way. After all, your friends are close to you - they know your hopes and dreams and when you perform, it's an incredibly intimate sensation. Perfect strangers you may never see again (except, hopefully, for the "loved the show" reception after a performance), while you will have to be in front of your friends again daily.

Perhaps it's a silly analogy, but it's a little like friends who become lovers. Giving that much trust isn't easy.

Looking forward to other thoughts / observations.

Peace


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(@alangreen)
Member Moderator
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5366
 

Total strangers - no problem.

I always play a bum note when Kathy's humming along to what I'm playing. I think it's because I start listening to her rather than concentrating on what I'm supposed to be doing.

Examiners - Grade Examiners make me fall apart. I do not suffer stage fright, I stand up and teach Investment Bank Lawyers how to write legal contracts, I do not do nerves. Except in front of Examiners. Evil people. There ought to be a law against them.

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


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(@stellabloo)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 189
 

Awesome set of articles by Jamie Andreas on the topic of stage fright :

https://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/stage-fright-part-1/

And I thought she made a pretty good point - it's not "stage" fright, it's "people"fright.

My thought is that it's a matter of "densensitizing" ; even videotaping yourself a few times works wonders ... altho it's strange how I started to tremble at the THOUGHT of recording myself (on an erasable memory card yet) the first few times. Jamie talks about this type of fear too.

A very useful skill is the ability to yank your mind back to what it's supposed to be doing. I can't overemphasize the importance of this in any situation : public speaking, performing before other people, and yes! writing an exam. I had one college prof who hung over my desk like a vulture while I wrote the exam. Actually my kids have trained me well to ignore all distraction (unless someone's screaming - or if the silence becomes ominous lol) because otherwise NOTHING would ever get done.

BTW my biggest peeve is job interviews . I can show up to a group of total strangers, public speaking and exams don't faze me much - but there's nothing like the prospect of a lengthy formal interview to turn me into a piece of quivering jelly .

What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's really all about?

~ why yes, I am available on youtube ~
http://www.youtube.com/stellabloo


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 KR2
(@kr2)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2725
 

I look forward to the day when I can play in front of anyone without them running away.
In the meantime I play in front of family . . . but then, I don't mind them running away.
In fact, I find it a good repellent.

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

The longer you play in front of people the easier it gets. Just gotta learn to relax, nobody is going to shoot at you if you make a mistake.

I am kinda the opposite, I like playing in front of people I know because I can show a side of me they haven't seen before. I have invited co-workers to gigs before. At work I am pretty quiet and business-like. I am so quiet at work that people often ask me if I'm angry. I'm not angry, I've just found it's best to do your work and keep your mouth shut, especially in today's workplace.

But at a gig I cut loose. I move around a lot and am not afraid to get pretty crazy on guitar. I think this really shocks people who have never seen this side of me, so I enjoy that. :D

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

I am more like Wes. I get a thrill playing in front of people. it surprises me because I have the nature of an introvert.
feeling confident with the songs, I find , has the playing taking care of itself.
friends and strangers enjoy watching you have fun. they are entertained.
and since most don't play, you become magical.

if I get distracted I err. no one notices. it's magic.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


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(@spides)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 157
 

i can play in front of huge crowds without breaking a sweat, but if my girlfriend asks me to play her a song, i instantly forget every song i have ever learned.

That said I love playing shows where 60-70% of the crowd are people I know. Everybody knows me as a musician and anything else is incidental. So showing them my stuff is kind of a validating experience for me. If all of your friends knew you as something, but had never witnessed said something, then they don't really know you.

But if the people are strangers its better still. They are unbiased and the way they react is a true representation of how well/poorly you performed or how good/bad your songs are. I live for that because i make sure that people go off at my shows no matter what. even if i have to risk life, limb and guitar in the process.

So summary:
In small groups, friends/family petrify me
As part of a large crowd, I love them there
Anonymous strangers, you belong to me.

Don't sweat it dude, just play!


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(@bailey)
Active Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 14
 

Hi
According to me you have to be play in front of your friends. You can trust on them. Really when I was on learning I preferred to play guitar in front of my friends. They helped me a lot. Hope now you will play guitar in front of your friends too.

Hotstrings: Learn the GUITAR- without learning all the notes...


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(@notes_norton)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1497
 

I guess I'm weird. I never had a problem playing in front of anybody, even when I sucked.

I have always naturally turned off the "left brain" and simply got into the music.

For those who have trouble, you might work on focusing on the music and not allowing your "inner voice" to distract you. I don't know if that will work or not, but it might be worth a try.

Insights and incites by Notes

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


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(@dave-t)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 239
 

I'm getting better at playing in front of people, but what really freaks me out is if one of the people is a guitar player, especially one who is better than me(as 90% are!). That completely traumatizes me.


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(@elecktrablue)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4389
 

I am more like Wes. I get a thrill playing in front of people. it surprises me because I have the nature of an introvert.

I can relate to that! I'm rather an introvert myself, and have always been almost painfully shy, but, when I get on stage all of that disappears! I become much more confident than I am in real life. All of my shyness just kind of fades away (until break time and people want to talk to me one on one, then I revert back to shy! ). I don't know what it is about being on stage in front of people that makes me feel more confident, but I like it!

..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ .·´
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´ -:¦:- Elecktrablue -:¦:-

"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"


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(@jick-jackson)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 90
 

i can play in front of huge crowds without breaking a sweat, but if my girlfriend asks me to play her a song, i instantly forget every song i have ever learned.

That said I love playing shows where 60-70% of the crowd are people I know. Everybody knows me as a musician and anything else is incidental. So showing them my stuff is kind of a validating experience for me. If all of your friends knew you as something, but had never witnessed said something, then they don't really know you.

But if the people are strangers its better still. They are unbiased and the way they react is a true representation of how well/poorly you performed or how good/bad your songs are. I live for that because i make sure that people go off at my shows no matter what. even if i have to risk life, limb and guitar in the process.

So summary:
In small groups, friends/family petrify me
As part of a large crowd, I love them there
Anonymous strangers, you belong to me.

I couldn't have described myself better than you did yourself. It was much more of a thrill to play for 20 enthusiastic people in, I don't know, KC than 800 in town when I knew more than 30% of the people there. I always felt so much more comfortable and experimental when I didn't know anyone who was watching/listening. Maybe there's a shrink on the boards who can figure this out. I also have strange dreams about my teeth.

I also get this thing in guitar stores where I can't think of anything to play but I know hundreds of songs :D

Peace,
Jick

Wait, whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?
Visit The Best Show on WFMU at wfmu.org


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(@notes_norton)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1497
 

I play my best when:

  • Someone in the audience is obviously paying attention

  • I know that there is a musician in the house

  • When the dance floor is full

  • When my duo partner is digging it

  • On some special nights that I can't describe except to say that the muse visited me
  • Playing music is sharing something with the audience. If you get too self-absorbed, you aren't going to communicate well.

    My best advice is to play in front of the audience that gives you the butterflies as much as you can. Sooner or later you will become relaxed doing it. And you will find you make your best music while relaxed.

    Insights and incites by Notes

    Bob "Notes" Norton

    Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

    The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


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    (@rahul)
    Famed Member
    Joined: 16 years ago
    Posts: 2764
     

    Very true. They don't expect much and you don't expect them to expect much. So you end up performing better and it works much better that way.

    But yes, a good player will be playing well in front of anyone. So, I would try to play good in front of any audience.


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