1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Stage fright..dealing with it...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by rob_d, Jul 10, 2001.

  1. rob_d


    Jun 14, 2001
    Does anybody have some good methods for dealing with pre-show stage fright that don't include drugs or alcohol? I find myself getting big time anxiety before I do a gig. Even though I know the gig will be no problem for me I still get this terrible anxiety. Usually I can't even eat for hours before I'm supposed to play. Then once I hit the stage everything is fine. By the end of the show I can't wait until the next one. Then the next show comes and it starts all over again.
  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    There are some excellent books on dealing with anxiety and panic attacks. They have "tricks" to help you overcome the feelings that include those of stage fright.

    Some of those are slow deep breathing, soothing thoughts, soothing self talk (like you know you can do it ) sorts of things.

    There are even a few sports psychology books that deal with an athlete's "stage fright" that can cause him to choke during a competition and not perform at his best. The advice is very similar, because it is all anxiety based behavior.

    Check the self help section of a book store or see if there are any web sites that offer advice free.
  3. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    Others here can give some very strong advice, but if it doesnt help and all else has failed, do what I do. Take deep breaths, close your eyes and find your happy place. Then kick your drummer in the balls till your fear passes. This has worked for me for years!!!

  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Or pretend that everyone in the audience is nude. :D

    Don't know if this works, but this seems to be a popular advice.

    I typed 'anxiety books' into google.com and got lots of results - books and reviews on them.
  5. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    As usual, JO has great advice. If memory serves, "Zen and the Art of Tennis" is one of the more helpful tomes.

    Really, it comes down to experience. I've done lots of public speaking, from teaching to giving briefings to well, speeches. What's always helped me is to think, "Realistically, what's the worst thing that could happen?". I could suck. Big deal. I'm not going to sh*t myself; I'm not going to burst into flames. Considering that public speaking (or public playing) is the #1 fear of most humans, 99% of people are impressed just by the fact you're up there. That's why famous people are famous.

    Just keep doing what you're doing - getting up on stage. Learn to channel the nervousness into a positive edge, and enjoy yourself. And if you really DO die in front of a crowd (and we all do sometime), SAVOR IT. You just got it out of the way. And practice, practice, practice. Nervousness often equals a lack of preparation.

    Take comfort in the fact you have more b@!!$ than your audience. And knock 'em dead.
  6. Off topic, but why does everyone have this stuff in their signatures now?
  7. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Reference "Something About Mary", specifically the scene before the date. You can't go out there with a loaded gun buddy. Works every time.
  8. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
  9. What if there's some hot girl in the audience, and well...

    "wait a minute guys, i gotta lower my strap"

  10. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    With all due respect to all the good advice , First you need to decide if you're dealing with a TRUE anxiety attack, or are you dealing with normal performance jitters.

    If it is a true A.A., The answer isn't in these forums.

    In the last 45 years I have played before large crowds of people and before small groups in small places.

    I still get trembly just before I perform. If I ever lose that adrenalin rush that I get, I wont ever perform in public again.

    Don't try to beat that down. Cherish it. If you pursue music into bar gigs and that sort of thing, there will be times when that "rush" will be all that gets you through the last set of a long night.

  11. I find I do not get a lot of stage fright. But I do if I am not prepared or if I think too deeply about it. You ever notice when you start to think real deeply and then you can't even remember simple things like is the A really on the fifth fret or not? (maybe I am wierd) Although I think a certain element of fear is ok to avoid becoming arrogant or thinking you are the king of the world. I would say just enjoy doing what you love don't sit around with too much free time to think (backstage) and if you can't play the full song ever in practice then don't do it live yet. Although breathing into a paper bag with silver paint always helps but you didn't want any drugs :) so maybe just go with the paper bag they do it on TV all the time so it must work.
  12. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    That describes me too, Ed. Soon as the first note is hit I'm just fine.

    I suppose we all have something that keeps us on our toes.

    I believe that all musicians that perform in public have a certain amount of ham in them. We all fulfill the role of "ham" in our own way.

  13. rob_d


    Jun 14, 2001
    Thanks for all the good info guys. I understand alot of what everyone is saying and realize it's just a matter of social anxiety in me. Perhaps as much as I shudder to think of myself buying a "self help" book, I will look into it. It isnt even a matter of me not being prepared. I studied music in college and have played on stage literally hundreds of times so I think Im past the stage of getting over it with familiarity to the situation. Much of the music I play currently is in a jazzy kinda "jam band" idiom where it's alot of improvised madness so I don't have parts to learn really, just changes and certain breaks. I know the stuff just fine though, so its not a matter of me being un-prepared. I've just got this social anxiety thing I suppose. I'll definately look into dealing with it. I looked on the net as some suggested and found some books that look helpful. And as far as imagining a girl in the audience naked...I don't want to do that. I'd hate to be standing on stage pitching a tent. Later.
  14. foolfighter24

    foolfighter24 Guest

    Apr 22, 2000
    Please, no camping on stage! :D

    I just try and not think about it. I am socially retarded and I freak every time I'm in front of people(even just talking to my "friends"). But really, whats the worst that will happen? People with think its really great that you even got up there. The best get stage fright. I've learned not to give a crap and do my job.
  15. I'd try inviting friends over to watch you practice. Just call up a bunch of people or if you live in a neighbor hood (with no noise polution laws in place) set up outside in the drive way and invite the neighbors kids over to mosh or something. This way when it isnt a serious gig you can get used to playing in front of people. The nude idea is good, it just depends on what kinda place you are playing in.
  16. bobaweeka


    Jan 2, 2001
    Yeah, let's just hope your not playing at an old folks home :D
  17. I´ve never fully understood that "imagine that everybody in the audience is nude" thingie...

    how in god´s name could that help?!

    anyway, when I get some "fright" before playing live, I just take a deep breath, and think about the situation...

    1. it´s normal to make mistakes.
    2. most of the people don´t hear/care if you play a wrong note.
    3. I´m doing this for fun, if I make a mistake, it just gets more interesting... and more fun!

  18. I dont get stage fright if Im playing for or speaking in front of anyone. Sure, I get jittery. But I think I actually play and put more into it playing for people. If Im alone in my room I make a lot of mistakes. When Im with my band its all on, I guess. Anyway, to get rid of stage fright, just take a deep breath, and think of something else before you play. When you get up there, just concentrate on the job at hand, and youll be so wrapped up in it, you wont have a chance to be nervous.
  19. Simple. Breathe in 10 seconds, breath out 10 seconds. It'll chase the butterflies away... however don't do it for too long or you'll fall asleep. :eek:
  20. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I'd ask if it's the audience that makes you tense, or the playing. When I was younger, I used to experience this, but it was the audience that worried me. I found that by concentrating on playing, I eventually got used to being up on stage. Believe it or not, if you're into your playing, putting on a show may not be as important as you think. Over time, you develop a stage presence that you feel comfortable with. Having a little anxiety can be good for a show, as long as it doesn't interfere with your playing. I enjoyed having a little knot in my stomach as we hit the first set.

Share This Page