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Overcoming Pressure While recording or on stage

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by casper_morgan, Feb 22, 2013.


  1. I don't know if many people have this problem but I sure do...
    I can sit for hours and jam on my bass.. comes up with all sorts of badass licks that are studio/album worthy imo... however... as soon as i get the camera out to record my licks so I dont forget them and BLAMO... I screw up right and left... my hand becomes stiff.... VERY frustrating... like to the point where I am throwing stuff and breaking it because I get so frustrated.

    Now ive never played on stage but I can imagine that if I have this kind of problem with a simple recording, then when it comes time to play a gig... i fear this will happen.

    Any advice on how to overcome this? I'm sure it's some kind of mind thing (obviously). Any suggestions you have I will be open to. :bag:
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Experience and building your confidence level. It's only natural to get a little hyped up when performing or recording, but with time, you learn to get it under control and get more relaxed.
     
  3. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Your problem is a change of focus, the task is still the same as in you are playing, but what you do when you play live or record is you realise you have a job to do......so the focus changes to the job rather than playing.

    Check out the link to similar "mental lapse" problems and maybe you might recognise a few of your own traits in the thread and try some of the solutions and ideas to 'stay in the moment', and that's all we are talking about here, is staying focused.

    As Jimmy says experience will teach us how to deal with it through trial and error because experience will teach you to realise that if you just play then everything else falls in place.
    No matter what the task or the situation you find yourself in you are there because you can play, so if you do the number one thing that got you there....playing.....to the best of your abilities, then everything else will take care of itself.

    Here is the link, all mental lapse problems for musicians fall under one general perception, that is "how much the player believes in themselves deep down", in short, their own doubts betray them when push comes to shove.

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f22/strange-mental-problem-960008/
     
  4. As far as recording ideas goes, why not record the whole time you're practicing? my guitarist sets up his zoom recorder as soon as he enters the space. He gets any idea down and everyone in the room eventually forgets or gets accustomed to it being there.
     
  5. ^This. I started to do the same thing at home. That way I never have to remember what I was playing when I was "in the zone."
     
  6. Much appreciated, I am reading that thread now.. thank you very much. :bassist:
     
  7. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    US
    It sounds like you're fearful of making mistakes. An experienced musician doesn't fear making mistakes while playing because an experienced musician knows how to recover from a mistake in such a way that it's barely noticeable to anyone. And even if someone notices, who cares? Because you quickly get back into the groove. Once you grasp that concept, you start feeling more comfortable while playing and you embrace that rush you get while playing in front of people. When you get to that point, you'll start making less mistakes because you're relaxed and having fun.

    It does take some practice to get to that point. One thing that helped me a lot was to learn how to play through songs without looking at the fretboard (except maybe a few difficult riffs). This will allow you to look around at the audience, and when you see everyone getting into the music and having fun, you'll get into it and start having fun yourself. And that's when the relaxation kicks in. This also works when you're alone, too. If you're not focused on your fretboard, you tend to be more relaxed in general.

    In the end, it really all comes down to relaxation while playing. Another thing that helps is having an easy bass to play. Maybe your action is too high, maybe your strings have too much tension. Always have a setup that's really easy on the fingers, hands, wrists, etc. There's no reason to feel like you need to fight to play a song.
     
  8. TOOL460002

    TOOL460002 Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz CA
    You are a great bass player. So many people try to play music and they can't. You are in the upper echelon of musicians and you need to know it and feel it. When you walk into any room know you are the best bassist there. You deserve to feel like a bad ass because you are. Play it. Feel it. Own it. You do what so many cannot.

    KNOW THIS AND DEMONSTRATE IT.
     
  9. phillybass101

    phillybass101

    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Don't get so caught up in what others may think of you. Just love playing bass and play it to the best of your ability. Don't be afraid to make a mistake and don't be afraid to play your azz off. Like Tool said...Play it. Feel it. Own it.
     
  10. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    There are lots of books written on this topic. And there are some great teachers that can work with you on it.

    But to get you started :

    A Soprano on her Head
    Eloise Ristad
    Real People Press Moab, Utah
    1982

    ISBN1~ 0-911226-21-4



    No More Secondhand Art
    Peter London
    Shambhala Publications, Inc.
    Boston, 1989



    Mental Toughness Training for Sports
    James E. Loehr Penguin Books, Ltd.,
    Plume Edition
    New York, 1982 (or any other titles)



    The Art Spirit
    Robert Henri
    Harper and Row, Publishers
    Icon edition
    1923


    Free Play
    Improvisation in Life and Art
    Stephen Nachmanovitch Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc Los Angeles, 1990
    ISBN# 0-87773-610-3

    The Musical Life
    W.A. Mathieu
    Shambhala Publications, Inc.
    Boston, 1994
     
  11. Right now you lack confidence in what you are doing. Start to look at recording/performance as the most fun that you can possibly have. You will learn to psyche yourself up for this (I like quiet calm time to myself if possible for a few minutes before hitting the stage, usually in my car when I arrive before load-in) but however you do it just learn to be confident and enjoy yourself, even your mistakes (hopefully few...) as they are a stepping stone to overcome your fear. I started my stage experience as an actor at age 10 and today as a bassist of 55 I seldom even think about it because I am who I am MOST when I am on stage. I live for performance. Nothing better in my book. The stage energizes me so that I am more capable/able/ready when I am out there, it fires me up to perform. The stage causes excitement in me (that I try and harness as an energy source) and that is the drug we performers are all addicted to...
     
  12. Alcohol
     


  13. second choice... it works, but with unpredictable results. :rolleyes: I guess just try and learn to loosen up a bit and relax while performing.
     
  14. An approach that helped me overcome that nervousness you're talking about was to think as an entertainer. You are there to make people have a good time. It should be a "giving" experience and not too much an ego trip. If you are on a stage, more than likely, you already have the proficiency to do a decent job, so open yourself up and work on allowing the audience to enjoy the moment. It's a privilege of a few to be in that position. Have fun :)
     
  15. very nicely put +1
     
  16. Moe Monsarrat

    Moe Monsarrat Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Austin, Tx.
    Endorsing artist:Regenerate Guitar Works Carvin, Micheal Kelly Guitars
    I have been performing live and in the studio for so long I'm not sure I have any sage advice. One thing about recording is you can always do it again if you screw up and no one will know anyway. There's that..... As for live performing all I can say is that people screw stuff up all the time and they're still alive and still performing. Get over it and relax. Do what you were meant to do.
     
  17. + Infinity. Don't think, just do. Believe in your considerable abilities, visualize success and keep it fun!
     
  18. Thank you, my friend!
     
  19. hampulator

    hampulator

    Feb 10, 2012
    Ahh you stole my line! :crying:
     
  20. russtolium

    russtolium

    Jul 12, 2010
    I've been struggling lately with the same problem when recording and as others say, you have to be able to keep your mindset the same when recording or not. I had to stop caring about the (significant) time spent trying to nail a recording and just play, and this isn't something that comes immediately for most people, you have to practice it as a skill itself!

    Every time I start recording (I'm doing one with video at the moment, which adds yet another element of pressure to deal with) I tell myself I'm just practicing and it's not a big deal. I did not immediately relax and procede to nail the song. I have been practicing this for a few days (relaxing that is, I've been practicing this song for MONTHS) now and a lot of the sweaty, stiff, nervous hands feeling has subsided, though I have yet to get the recording I want because now I see a few weak spots in my skill with the song. I can feel the moments that the nervousness creeps back in because my face starts to flush, and that's when I have to remind myself that it's just practice, not a big deal.

    Getting used to the experience of being recorded really helps, because at first you feel like an invisible audience is judging you and every. single. error. is etched into your recording (even though you are well aware you can do it again), but once you stop letting that enter your thoughts and return to the focus you had during normal practice, it should no longer be an obstacle. I think recording video might have an added benefit to helping combat stage fright since the feeling of being watched is similar (though obviously not the same.)
     

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