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A tad bit shy.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by SenorQueso, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. SenorQueso


    Jun 28, 2005
    Boca Raton, fl
    I've got a problem that I consider to be serious. It's shyness, and I have a strong feeling it will hold me back from ever playing with a band.I can honestly see myself screwing up big time, forgetting parts, and completely choking up if I ever did play live. I want to ask those who were shy in their teenage and even older people who overcame the problem. What's this best way to really overcome this problem? Is the best way just go out a play and say " what the hell! " or is their another way? If somebody has good information on this it would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    This is the most cynical response you'll receive, but I think I have a similar take to Billy Sheehan, and I don't have much stage fright. To me, it's best to just go out and let yourself fudge up royally, and eventually you'll accept the fact that you inherently suck and just not care anymore, and this is REGARDLESS of your skill. I know that sounds extreme, but more or less I think all great musicians accept that they haven't reached anywhere near their full potential and are prone to screwups at any given time. Some I can think of:

    -Elvis: One time forgot the lyrics to a song in concert and broke out laughing.

    -Les Claypool: At least one time stopped in the middle of a song to regain his footwork.

    -Vic Wooten: The day I realize what mistakes he makes is the day I'm powerful enough to take over the world, but I've seen a couple of facial expressions from him before which indicate that he didn't play what he wanted to play.

    -Myself: I'm nowhere near the above and shouldn't be mentioned within 20,000,000 pages of any of them, but I sometimes consider myself the human screw-up machine or say that being born was the first place I screwed up [ducks lightning bolt], but making mistakes and flubbing up are both part of who we are as humans.

    Anyone who can't accept anything short of perfection out of anyone should be hit very hard. That has to be among the biggest and most hypocritical short-sights anyone can make.
  3. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    Cool thing about bass...large you can kinda hide behind it;) You can stand back beside the drummer to get the drummers feel and not look out of place...normal for alot of bassist to stand in rear of stage. You can turn your body so you are 1/2 facing the drummer and 1/2 facing the guitarist or front of stage.look over people and they think you are looking at them. Learn your parts and dial in on the music...if you really want to play and be on stage you will overcome the shyness and fear trust me.
  4. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    Whatever you do, do --NOT-- face the drummer. There is a cover band around town with the bassist and(the two times I see them) he faces the drummer ALL NIGHT LONG!

    I don't have stagefright myself but I have heard to not make eye contact with people out front if you do. Look above their heads. They don't know you are looking at no-one, they may thnk you are looking at someone else.

    Really?? They probably aren't even paying attention to you.

    Just jump in and learn not to care about it.

    Hope this helps,

  5. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    What everyone else said P-L-U-Sssss; if you play bass and make mistakes, usually noone suspects the bassist did it, because the bass is holding down the bottom and they'll think the rest of the band screwed up!
    Just do what Elvis did, and try harder next time! ;)
  6. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Good advice. Here's a few more things to think about.

    Most people are too wrapped up in thinking about themselves to have the time to think about what you are doing. And, in a way, that's what you are doing too, you're not analising what other people are doing, you're analising how you are fitting in (thinking about yourself). All that is normal, no sweat, just know that you aren't attracting the attention you might think you are.

    DON'T make 'getting over your shyness' or 'getting over your nervousness' a goal. It's like trying hard not to think about an elephant, you can't. Accept that you will be nervous and learn to deal with playing under those conditions.

    And remember, its all about the music... not about you.
  7. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    When you go on break...
    Hottie: "Hey, are you in the band?"
    You: "Yes."
    Hottie: "You guys are really good."
    You, starting to think she's actually been watching: "Thanks a lot!"
    Hottie: "You're the drummer, right?"
    the Homer Simpson in your head: "D'oh!!"

    After this happens a few times, you'll realise there's no need to be shy. A few more times, and you'll be ready to dress up in KISS-style body armor to get their attention.
  8. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    I never said to face the drummer i said 1/2 face him in an angle to you...i keep him off my left hip so to speak...we have good chemistry and love to clown when we play and feed off each other. I just saw Paul Rogers with Queen and Danny the Bassist did alot of hamming with Roger all night during the show and it was cool he walked up on the riser and did alot of playing with him...staring a drummer and facing him all night....No.... i like to just be around him and if your shy this might help ....you should never face him or her thou.
  9. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Just play. Nerves are good. Nerves keep you on edge and add a little adrenaline to the performance. The biggest thing if nerves are a problem is this - practice the songs until they're automatic. See, your muscle memory is a lot less succeptible to nervousness.

    Actually, I'm a little jealous. I miss the days when I was really nervous. Nowadays, I'm pretty laid back and have to be really really disciplined to practice to the point where I need to... after all, I'm comfortable with my ability whether I've practiced an hour or twenty...

    There are a few things you can do to improve stage presence, if that's your concern. First of all, practice like you perform if at all possible. If you practice standing around looking bored, it's going to be rather difficult to perform any other way. Also, if you practice facing your drummer, it's going to make it all the more difficult to play any other way.

    Secondly, I'd really suggest some slight choreography. Even if it's something as simple as "Ok, during this chorus, I'll lift my bass high since I'm just rocking on open E for two bars" or "Here the rhythm guitarist is walking wide stage left, so I'll walk wide stage right" or "The whole band will jump on beat four"... If you rehearse stage presence, you will perform stage presence. Also, it's nice to take refuge in choreography - you know that either it's something that you're supposed to do like a solo or feature riff (instead of just winging it), OR it's something that others in the band are doing with you and you're part of a larger entity.

    Finally, take some comfort in this. Audiences want to have fun. That's why they go to see live bands. In order for them to have fun, they will naturally assume that the band is going to be great. What a wonderful benefit of the doubt to work with! They will accept nearly anything you do onstage as part of their "these guys rock" assumption. You've got a cool gig, man, all you have to do is try not to change their minds... :D
  10. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I am cool with my shyness in my old age. I have come to peace with the fact that I dont like humanity all that much and have a different type of consciousness than most people. When I was growing up I was quite quiet. Out of the last 30 or so shows I've done, I was pretty introverted on stage for about 25 of them.

    Here is one thing that will open a lot of doors for you and get you passed shyness issues- skillz. Dont underestimate the value of skillz. Every band I've joined/audtioned for, they looked at me at first like I didnt have the right look but were always floored once they heard my playing.

    Another thing that helps you on stage is having friends in the audience. Friends who can encourage you or you can goof around with from the stage. Interaction projects well as stage presence... and ultimately that is what performing comes down to- making a connection with people. Making eye contact with fans or otherwise aknowledging them is a start.

    Dont be afraid to study bass moves. My friend and I have our own classification system for stage moves. :p Goofing off on stage is fun too. If that doesnt work, harass your singer and other bandmates while you are performing.

    There is a perception that to be a good rock musician you have to dance and jump around on stage like you've been smoking crack and hitting the sauce all week. If you have mad skillz it can get you through performances until shyness isnt an issue.
  11. Wesley R

    Wesley R Supporting Member

    Of course being prepared helps, (all the books tell you this)

    Being stoned doesn't really help (Wasn't CSN&Y's bass player kinda an eaxample of this)

    At every gig, somebody will like you and somebody won't. (my mom promised me)

    As my father used to sing "Whiskey's my friend and my moneys my own, and them that don't like me can leave me alone."

    Best of Luck,
    Wesley R.
  12. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Stage-fright/shyness, is actually narcissistic in that you only think everyone is looking at you.

    Trust me...no one really cares. And those that do, do so only because you're on stage...not because they are either trying to find fault with you, or that you are just so darned attractive (though some members of the opposite sex might be so inclined).

    Without trying to sound harsh...

    Get over yourself already! Shyness is your ego gone wild (though many think it's a lack of ego...it's actually too strong of one). What makes you think anyone is even paying you any attention in the first place?

    Pretend no one cares...because they don't!
  13. Maybe it would help to know that the folks in the crowd are really on your side! They are! There is the rare butt-nugget out there who wants to cause trouble, but more over everyone in the crowd really wants to see you have fun.

    That being said, you should also know that you have real power being up on that stage with that bass in your hands. And YOU have the ability to make the folks watching you feel shy, embarassed and giddy, just by looking right at them and smiling! Even tough dudes will get all red-faced if the bass player gives them a goofy look.

    I do understand how you feel. I recently discovered these little tricks and they work very well for me everytime.

    1. Don't stand still - The minute the music starts, start moving. - this does not necessarily mean you have to do David Lee Roth karate kicks - just don't stand still. Rocking back and forth, walking forward then back. Marching in place. Whatever the music makes you feel like, reflect it in your movements.

    2. Look up and at people in the crowd and smile. If you see someone looking at you, smile! If you don't see anyone looking at you, smile! Bob your head - show that you really are into what you are doing physically and emotionally. Laugh, smile, feel good! It becomes a self-fulfilling thing - you start by smiling and sure enough you end up happy!

    3. Do not worry about 'what they think'. As soon as you can let go of caring what the ubiquitous 'they' are thinking the sooner you will realize that 'they' wish they could be as confident and cool as you are!

    It is a vibe thing. I guess the simplistic/sarcastic answer is, 'get over yourself in a good way!' :p

  14. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Umm, yeah...I did mean that in a good way.

    I used to be VERY introverted until someone pointed out to me that it's an ego thing. I never had thought of it that way before, because I always equated shyness with a lack of self esteem.

    Deep down, it's the opposite. You only think everyone is paying attention to you. Once you realize that isn't the case, and in fact, almost no one is paying attention to you...it's real easy to just enjoy the moment...not matter what you are doing.

    Especially onstage. You'd be amazed at how many people suddenly become "shy" when YOU are the one looking at them.

    Like tZer said...just look at people. Even when you are just walking down the street, look right at them. You'll notice how few people even notice you!!! Same thing with being onstage.

    Just try this for one entire day as an experiment. Look every single person you come across right in the eye. At the end of the day, I'll bet you won't find too many that even looked back at you, much less noticed you in the first place. Every day after that will be a piece of cake.
  15. Apathy goes a long way in terms of shy playing. Not in the sense that you don't care, but you don't care if you try something and fail. I happen to believe that through having the guts of sticking your neck out and attempting something you never have, you learn far more win or lose than you ever would have if you just sat around twiddlin' your thumbs.

    Walking into a situation prepared also helps. Work hard at your playing and there won't be a reason for you to be shy around others. Besides, it's not a competition.
  16. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Just get use to this now:

    -You ARE going to screw up
    -You ARE going to forget some parts
    -Somebody is gonna notice

    The key is to not wet yourself when these thing happen.

    There is nothing you can do to avoid these things. Get use to them and go out and play. :bassist:
  17. +10000

    Some time you will have the best night of your life, every note perfect, and you know what? Nobody will notice that either. And you won't be able to show anybody, cause that moment is gone. Same for mistakes. Nobody notices, and they disappear the second after they pass. It isn't like painting, where everyone can come by and see your mistake on display for all eternity.

    Mistakes will always happen. Learn to cover them up. That's what the pros do. Not sure if you should go to verse instead of chorus? Pick one, but file the other's first chord in case you picked wrong and have to switch. Forget the song altogether? If you have a 5 string, play soft and go low, most people can't tell what note you're playing if its low and soft, or drop out altogether. Or drop out altogether. Get next to your amp and play quiet until you find the right notes. Learn to read the guitar players hand to pick out the roots of chords.

    9 times out of 10, nobody notices if you make a mistake anyway. Its gotta be really obvious before they notice.

    My old trumpet teacher used to say, if you play a wrong note, play it again twice as loud so people think you meant to play that.... :D

  18. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    hahaha...I've been playing with my current band between once and four times a week for a year solid now. With little time off. I've done at least one if not all three of these at every gig. Although its getting a little better now it still happens. For the first few gigs I was nervous after that it kind of left me for some strange reason. I haven't been nervous before a gig in a long time. Truth is the more you do it the more you get used to it. Even if you do suffer from nerves you still get used to it while they are still there they won't inhibit you
  19. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    I used to have bad nerves with my old band. I played it off pretty well, except for the left leg shaking like a dog who had it's belly scratched.

    That all changed the first 2 minutes of my first show with my new band. Not even 2 notes into the first song, my head blows up, and white smoke pours out of it. All I could do was laugh. At that point, not much worse could happen to me. I tend to think about that night before I play out, since I realize that besides having a major disaster, I've had the worst thing already happen to me. Also, once you hear people cheer and clap for you is a great esteem booster. Wait until people start calling out for bass solos.
  20. SenorQueso


    Jun 28, 2005
    Boca Raton, fl
    Thanks for all the replies and the information that has been posted.

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