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how do you guys fight stage fright

Discussion in 'Orchestral Auditions [DB]' started by camCARV03, May 12, 2006.

  1. camCARV03


    Apr 23, 2006
    memphis, TN
    hey. i have a consistent problem of stage fright and just simply get nervous when i play for a small group of people. How do you guys deal with stage fright? what do you think of? any tips?
    thank ya!
  2. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA
  3. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Once the first song starts I have other things to think about.
  4. mkrtu9


    Mar 2, 2006
    guess I'm lucky, don't have any.
  5. I get horrible stage fright, but it becomes more manageable the more I play in front of people.

    There's no quick trick to ending stage fright. It comes with experience. If you consistently put yourself in situations where you'll get nervous, it won't be such a big deal.
  6. lyle

    lyle Guest

    Jan 10, 2004
    Vernon, B.C. Canada
    Channel that energy into pure stoke! Get pumped and focuse everything you have into putting on the best show you can. Be high energy and the audience will be high energy back. Dont be nervous of messing up be stolked your playing a show and people are there to listen and You wanna give them the best time ever. The audience feeds off you and you feed off them.
  7. I agree with Paul. The more you play for others and put yourself in the positions that make you nervous the more comfortable you will be with playing for people. Then when you feel yourself getting nervous you will understand how to overcome it.

    When you are performing try not to think about the fact that people are listening to you and just focus all your attention on the music. My best performances tend to happen when I completely forget about the fact that I am playing for people.

    The better prepared the music the less likely you are to be nervous and even if you are still nervous you will be less likely to mess up. I am usually the most nervous when I know something isn't prepared very well.
  8. As I've become more accomplished and more experienced over the years, my own performance anxiety has gone away. In addition I now play with more accomplished, more experienced musicians and I know I can trust them on stage. They will do fine and that frees me up a good deal. I do note a bit of anxiety around longer bass solos, but they don't come up often and I generally prepare them well in advance. I play folk, bluegrass and blues. I never face a solo audition. I imagine such an event could freak me out because of the competitive setting. My wife has a doctorate in performance piano. She describes performance anxiety and this astonishes me. The preparation she puts into a piece is extensive. I would think she would be past stage fright by now.

    I am a practicing therapist in a community mental health setting. I have not had much experience in music related stagefright, but I have worked with many patients around specific anxieties. Some brief, solution focused psychotherapy can be helpful. Some folks use cognitive behavioral modalities. Look into one or two sessions of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for a quick fix. Google it for a description. Other folks have talked to their primary care providers and recieved anxiolytic medications in extreme cases.

    Mostly, I find that I am more relaxed and less anxious because I play for fun. I enjoy it. If I didn't enjoy it, I would likely give it up.
  9. machine gewehr

    machine gewehr

    Sep 17, 2005
    Couple of things I learned here:
    People watching you would love to be in your position and they are people just like you.
    Eyecontact with people you know,gice them a blink,this would relax you a bit. ;)
    Also look at your band mates,give them a little smile,they'll smile back,comforts both you and them.
    Know the song wery well,If you know what you're playing no reason to be afraid.
    The last thing,people came here to have fun,so did you,then HAVE FUN! :bassist:
  10. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    I usually have the fear right when I go on.. Its a natural thing, but you have to learn how to control it. Controlled breathing really helps you stay calm.

    I also Sing Opera (not now since i'm on the road) but My first Opera I was so Nervous I could barely talk.. I took a bit of whiskey and some honey (which is really gross btw) and drank it down. It was about half of an ounce of whiskey. After the first aria I was fine.
  11. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Yeah, prepare the material well. If you can play it and not think about it, that's the best. I usually find that when I am thinking "don't screw up this part" to myself, that's usually when I do.

    Another thing I find helpful is visualizing the show. Visualize where you will be onstage and in relation to the other musicians. Imagine the audience and how you'll interact so when show time comes, you've "seen" it before and are more comfortable with it. If it's a venue you've never played before and never been to, if possible, go visit it to get familiar with it.

    You can also try practicing in front of a mirror. It will help you focus on something else in front of you and to get some stage presence going (depending on what type of gig it is).

    And above all, try to relax and have fun! By the second song, the fright will go away and you'll be more relaxed.
  12. Try not to think too much. If you know your part and you feel your band is up to the gig, then there is no reason to be concerned.

    If you don't know your part or you don't feel your band is up to the gig, fix those issues.

    Finally, remember that the crowd is really on your side and wants you to succeed. They are not there to judge you, they are there to see you have fun so that they can have fun. So have fun! Try to focus on the fact that you get the privilage of being paid to have fun, put a big old silly grin on your face, let the music move you around and enjoy yourself!
  13. Let's get this straight.... This inquiry is in the Orchestral Auditions section. It specifically addresses anxiety around audition. Right?
  14. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    There's some great advice above. I'll add a bit, though, just trying to reword some of it as to how I think about it:

    The single most powerful thought for me is the fact that the audience is rooting for you to 'make their moment'. They really want you to do well. Nobody's sitting around waiting for you to blow it.

    A visualization that can really help is to recognize all of the energy that you're feeling and and picture yourself as a turnbuckle for it; a sort of lightening rod for the room's energy and what you do with it is collect it and turn it around right back into the room.

    While doing the above, I just let these ideas run like a process in the background and then put myself in the 3rd person and listen to the music coming out and let it mesmerize me.

    Although I don't suffer stage fright, I can get self-concious and nervous at times (great players in the audience -- and I need gigs....), and if I apply the above ideas I loosen right up and do fine.
  15. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    What I like to do before a big concert is arrive atleast 2 hours before the show begins. Tune my bass, warm up for about 45 minutes just doing Petracchi to get my fingers nimble. I then like to go for a walk, clear my head. Don't eat anything too big before a show. When it's about 45 min to show time I usually get dressed, take my bass upstairs to the concert hall, do a fine tune and then take it out on stage. 15 minutes prior to showtime I like to be completely by myself, relax, breathe in and out. This is what I do pretty much everytime, it hasn't failed me yet. Especially when you have 11 other bassists breathing down your neck, just waiting for you to slip up :)
  16. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Agreed. It's definitely an "as-you-go" kind of thing. I still remember the first time I played live -- I was doing a solo thing on slab, and my hands were shaking so badly I couldn't get my tapped harmonics out. There's a lot of things that help battle stage fright, and I find the most effective is knowing you're on the ball tonight, the group is responsive and swinging. As long as I know we're a well-practiced, well-rehearsed group, it doesn't matter who's in the audience, because you can almost ignore them and just have a killer time with your buddies on stage.
  17. fretless Bob

    fretless Bob If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.

    Nov 27, 2005
    Harrow, London, U.K
    i used to get really bad stage fright but lately i am starting not to worry so much.

    the thing that really made me nervous was the thought of making a mistake and someone noticing it, but after a while i began to realise that if i made a mistake and kept my cool (i.e. not making a face) most people outside of the band wouldnt notice it.

    so after i realised that people wernt noticing my mistakes as long as i was cool about it i stopped getting so nervous.

    of course there is still the thing that i am in front of people performng but as long as i am confident in the musicians i am playing with i aint bothered so much about that, cos after all they are there to have a good time and see you play not shout at you (well most of the time anyway :D )

  18. oops! - I guess that is a draw-back of using the 'new posts' option... I am sorry. I was not paying attention... (slinking back to the rock 'n' roll silly little cover band world)
  19. Someone once told me the mark of a good musician is the ability to play through mistakes. The great Doc Watson suggests that if you're a fast enough player, you can take back the bad notes. If you're not that fast, you can just repeat the note the next time it comes around and folks will think you've done it on purpose. Of course, at an orchestral audition the small audience will be very familiar with the peice and may even have a score on hand for a review. They will be accompished musicians, there will be a great deal of pressure and your livelihood might depend on performance....

    Personally, I would avoid such auditions like the plague.
  20. I think we need more information. I would suggest that playing Jazz with a band and playing solo classical repertoire, particularly for orchestral auditions, are two very, very different things.

    I don't typically play Jazz, but when I have, I haven't felt at all self-conscious. When I play in orchestras or in chamber ensembles, I usually don't have any issues. If there's someone else on stage, I'm able to communicate with them and make music.

    As a soloist, I can't do that. As soon as I go on stage, I know virtually everyone is looking at me and ignoring the pianist. I wish I could make "chamber music" out of what I'm playing, but typically the accompanist doesn't know the music well enough to be looking up a lot. The only way to counter this, in my opinion, is experience. Never turn down an offer to go in front of an audience.

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