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HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!

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JeZeBeL 15 Apr 02 - 06:26 PM
Phil Cooper 15 Apr 02 - 06:33 PM
JeZeBeL 15 Apr 02 - 06:39 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 15 Apr 02 - 06:39 PM
Stephen L. Rich 15 Apr 02 - 07:14 PM
Ian Darby 15 Apr 02 - 07:32 PM
Celtic Soul 15 Apr 02 - 10:12 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 15 Apr 02 - 10:27 PM
Leeder 15 Apr 02 - 10:42 PM
Coyote Breath 15 Apr 02 - 11:04 PM
khandu 15 Apr 02 - 11:34 PM
Mudlark 15 Apr 02 - 11:51 PM
Ebbie 16 Apr 02 - 12:29 AM
hesperis 16 Apr 02 - 01:15 AM
Bo Vandenberg 16 Apr 02 - 01:16 AM
Rich_and_Dee 16 Apr 02 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,Foe 16 Apr 02 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,Foe 16 Apr 02 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,Lynn 16 Apr 02 - 05:53 PM
Hilary 16 Apr 02 - 08:07 PM
53 16 Apr 02 - 10:58 PM
Don Firth 17 Apr 02 - 12:15 PM
JeZeBeL 17 Apr 02 - 07:11 PM
53 17 Apr 02 - 09:29 PM
JeZeBeL 17 Apr 02 - 09:36 PM
iRiShBaBe 18 Apr 02 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,Owain 18 Apr 02 - 05:22 PM
Don Firth 18 Apr 02 - 05:39 PM
JeZeBeL 18 Apr 02 - 07:09 PM
Gypsy 14 Nov 04 - 09:42 PM
muppitz 15 Nov 04 - 03:56 AM
Hand-Pulled Boy 15 Nov 04 - 07:24 AM
Sue M 15 Nov 04 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,Minerva 15 Nov 04 - 09:25 AM
Blissfully Ignorant 15 Nov 04 - 01:59 PM
PoppaGator 15 Nov 04 - 02:13 PM
Chris Green 15 Nov 04 - 02:27 PM
Helen 15 Nov 04 - 03:42 PM
dwditty 15 Nov 04 - 03:50 PM
Uncle_DaveO 15 Nov 04 - 04:48 PM
Gypsy 15 Nov 04 - 10:10 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 15 Nov 04 - 10:42 PM
GUEST 16 Nov 04 - 12:03 PM
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Subject: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: JeZeBeL
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 06:26 PM

I went away at Easter to a Folk song and dance group (camping and caravanning club) meet. Here there are workshops, dances, concerts, celidhs etc all through the day till about midnight.

Being that Bodhran is my first instrument, I don't mind playing on stage or in a band etc as I aren't the lead instrument. Even when I'm miked up I don't have a problem with this.

The thing is, me and a couple of friends were sat outside the caravan when the concert organiser heard us playing and said we had to play in the concert that night. So we said ok. I had chosen a set of jigs I knew extremely well and a reel I knew practically backwards, so I didn't have a chance of messing up on stage. So we got it all sorted and jazzed the tunes up a bit with rock and roll rhythm guitar and went along to the gig. I got on stage and nearly froze!! My face went bright red and I had great dificulty talking. So we played the tunes and it went very well and everyone loved it. But I@ve never been so scared in my life.

I seem to have a problem when it comes to being the lead instrument. I can play fine with the bodhran, but not on whistle!! I don't know why. It may be because I'm scared of failing or making a mistake. But I just can't do it.

This has been happening since the age of 10 when I first started playing solos on trumpet and I can't seem to get over it and just ebjoy myself and play. I try really hard to just chill out.

I've tried the imagining people in the audience naked but that just makes me want to throw up lol!!

help, anyone please.

I would be most greatful.

thanks again

emma xxx


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 06:33 PM

Emma, I've not had a problem with stage fright myself,but my singing partner Margaret was nervous the first few times we performed together. A bit into our collaboration, she figured out that the first few times we played, she actually had fun and the audience was nice. Therefore, she was able to decide that the audience would most likely be kind on the next performance.

I would say most audiences are not there to find fault with you. If you're going on stage with friends, try to pretend the audience isn't there, that you're playing for/with your friends, not performing.


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: JeZeBeL
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 06:39 PM

Thanks Phil, that's really good advice. I will defiantely bear that in mind. It's a bit difficult to pretend the audience isn't there when they're all clapping along. lol


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 06:39 PM

I get that way. I try to avoid it, but once in a while, I have to sing something.

Usually what happens iss that I ignore the fact there is anyone in front of me. Even so, I wind up mumbling and losing track of the song. Luckily I have the words in front of me, I can look at the words, and ignore the people there. I never seem to sing out as loud as I do when I am REALLY alone, but it works.

I think that's why some of my performing friends say they prefer to sing in front of a large audience where they can't see the people at all, rather than in front of a small audience venue where everyone is within 20 feet and there is light so they can see the people's faces.


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 07:14 PM

Most of the performers that I've ever known who don't suffer from SOME level or another of stage fright usually weren't very good. Some small amount (repeat -- small amount) of anxiety is healthy. It reminds you that you're not, yet, perfect. The trick to controling or overcoming stage fright is to play to your strengths. If you're not good at talking to the audience (and precious few of us really are) do as little of it as you can get away with. There is nothing wrong with letting your instrument speak for you.


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Ian Darby
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 07:32 PM

In our case it's the audience who should be nervous.

As our bass player says, "Where are they they going to find another band at this time of night."


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 10:12 PM

Hooboy, I can empathise with this feeling quite well! When we have recorded live, or the couple of times we played the Kennedy Center, I about threw up.

I actually *chose* to perform to get past fear of large crowds. Here's what has worked for me.

I let myself feel the feelings of anxiousness. I try to remember that these feelings are not so different from excitement, and keep in mind the times when I was a kid, and it was X-mas eve.

When it's time, I go out and try to connect with the audience *before* we start to play. Talk to them a little, crack a joke...anything that will lighten the mood some and tear down the invisible wall between stage and audience.

I connect with my bandmates. They're there with me, I'm not alone.

If I screw up, I make a joke out of it. I laugh, and usually, the crowd laughs along with me.

Sometimes I intentionally do something exceptionally silly just to start the ball rolling (like slipping "The Unicorn Song" into "Charlie Mopps"...yep, they fit!)

I remember that the majority of the audience is there to have a good time, and very few (if any) are there to criticise my efforts.

I keep the connection open by trying to meet the gazes of of the crowd (but not for too long...it makes people uncomfortable).

I will occasionally make a joke that is specifically for *one* audience member (if the venue is right, and you can get out into the audience without disrupting the flow of the show). One person brought on to your side can make all the difference in the "us and them" stress.

I practice breathing right, and supporting my voice for an hour or so before any gig that I am more than normally anxious about.

Sometimes, I drink a beer.

And if all else fails, and I cannot shake the feeling, I go out there and do it anyway. I contracted to do the show, and the show must go on.


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 10:27 PM

A few of my friends play in a band, they always smoke a bit of funny smelling tobacco before going on stage, seems to work for them!


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Leeder
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 10:42 PM

Do it lots, and, if it goes wrong, get past it and try again.

I had a "composure problem" for many years. Then I got asked to emcee at a folk club, and failed to say "No", and over time gradually got more comfortable in front of people, although the nerves never totally went away. As Celtic Soul said, nervousness is close to excitement. You should be a little keyed up, in a positive rather than negative way. Passion is good. If you get totally blasé about performing, your performance will get mediocre.

Do a lot of visualizing of your set going well, with great audience reaction. Play the whole set in your head at least once beforehand, maybe the afternoon of the gig.

Allow yourself five minutes of abject terror a few minutes before you go on stage. Then you'll have gotten that out of the way already.

Remember that, for the most part, the audience are on your side. They want to be entertained, so they want you to do well. If an audience is hostile, you've accepted the wrong kind of gig.

It's also possible to construct a "stage persona", much like yourself but more cool and confident, and portray that character onstage. I'm a tad klutzy myself, and try to use that in an amusing way in my stage persona. Also, if you portray a character for a long time, you take on some of the characteristics of the role in real life. But your stage persona shouldn't be too much different from your real self, otherwise you get caught up in acting rather than making music.


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 11:04 PM

After thirty (no its more like 42!) years getting up in front of an audience I no longer feel fear. Most of the time I feel elation, great joy at having all those people sitting there listening to me! I taught and lectured for many of those years as well as performed. I even taught a required freshman art appreciation course with over 350 students (when they showed up)! Now I love the challenge. Not a challenge to overcome stage fright but to put on the best show that I can. It is a wonderful feeling.

The first time I performed, though, I "had" to do it with Valium! I probably would have thrown up but I hadn't been able to eat for almost two days! I actually thought that I might faint!

My point is this: I overcame that fear by "doing", by performing over and over, playing where ever and when ever I could.

It takes time and over time it works for you.

My best wishes to you, and I'll tell you this: part of your being able to overcome stage fright is contained right here in this thread. You are concerned about the issue and you sought input from people who've 'been there'. Because you want to know more, I, personally, think that you will do well and that your concerns and anxieties will diminish and someday you will realize what great fun you are having and feel incredibly happy about that realization.

CB


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: khandu
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 11:34 PM

This Thread has some good points on the subject. There was another thread on this subject quite recently, but I have been unable to find it. I am still looking.

khandu


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Mudlark
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 11:51 PM

Dear Emma... I don't do all that much performing, per se, but am typically so shy about playing guitar and singing solo I can barely do it for friends. I unwittingly hit on a solution...I offered my services to convalescent hospitals and rest homes in the area, and now go regularly, once a week. Many people there are pretty much past it, some active but senile. I have had to try to keep singing while being patted, having my guitar case fiddled with, having the woman sitting closest to me singing loudly but an entirely different song... Under such circumstances it is impossible not to goof up, lose my way, forget chords, words, the works. But it is also a very forgiving audience, and now, after several months of this I've not only become relatively bombproof, I find it easier to play in front of friends and informal music sessions. It is also really wonderful to see a person who seems totally withdrawn, slowly begin to tap her feet to the music--makes me feel like a million dollars! Don't give up...shyness is NOT terminal!


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Ebbie
Date: 16 Apr 02 - 12:29 AM

I remember one time that as I was taking the stairs to the stage my pulse was pounding in my throat. I wondered at what point a person faints. (And I wasn't even alone- there were 5 or so of us)

It just occurred to me to wonder whether part of the problem might be claustrophobia? I'm much better now about crowds or close quarters but I spent a lot of years in a cold sweat. Might it somehow be related to stage terror? The trapped feeling?

As you can see, I'm not likely to be getting much better! At my age, I'm just glad there are people who do like to perform for others. Where would we be without them. Ebbie


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: hesperis
Date: 16 Apr 02 - 01:15 AM

One thing I didn't add to my lovely article about this subject in another thread - Toastmasters training can help, too.


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Bo Vandenberg
Date: 16 Apr 02 - 01:16 AM

What I find really helps that nobody ever made clear to me.

1. Nerves and nervous energy are still energy. Think of it as a natural source of energy to help you do your best. I believe if you don't get a butterfly or two you've lost a spark from your performance!

2. You are good enough, personally. If you have really entertained 3 people who were objective you have all the talent and material to entertain some more. REMEMBER they have not seen you before and will not be as familiar with your material, and previous highs or lows. Don't educate them in your mistakes by apologizing or stopping: empathize with your audience, press on and look for the next high.

3. If you were really, really not prepared you would not be on the edge of this stage. That goes back to objective people in comment #2. REMEMBER preparedness is always a relative thing. You _are_ less prepared than (INSERT HERO HERE) but that's OK, he/she would never play this dump, is dead now, and isn't on the menu. :) You and the audience are lucky to have each other cause otherwise the show has a whole lot of nothing.

Lastly,

4. The audience is never wrong on their time. They may be stupid, uneducated, hate folk, or some other choice -- they are never wrong on their time. But YOU can choose your material and audience. If aisle c isn't happy finish your song for the sake of aisle d. Especially in smaller gigs get a sense of what they want to hear. You can't get this sort of experience without an audience and it will help you in your next gig. Don't hate jerks encourage and seek people who really enjoy what you do.

Be professional, finish your set, in whatever recipe for the night you choose -- shorter, longer, bawdier, faster etc... Thank the audience for their time and get ready to do it again armed with what you've learned :)


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Rich_and_Dee
Date: 16 Apr 02 - 09:18 AM

As in everything in life, you always have a choice: quit or continue. This can become painfully clear in the moments before you take the stage.

For me, there's always moment when the fight or flight impulse kicks in. The trick I play on myself is to categorically rule out the flight option long before the gig. Damn it, I paid all that money for new strings, sound gear, transportation, I'm going for it. And, hell, I ain't leaving here until I've gotten my comp drinks from the bar and the only way to get free drinks is to play.

I'm also reminded of the amusing line from years ago: I've suffered for my art. Now it's your turn.

A little swagger, a little bravado and a total disregard for what other people think can go a long way, in music or in several other endeavors.

In other words, tell the critic in your head to shut up for a while.

Rich


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: GUEST,Foe
Date: 16 Apr 02 - 03:23 PM

If you have a few songs that you know so well you can sing them foward and backwards in your sleep, start your set with one of those. Then you can just concentrate on having fun with that song and you'll get past the jitters and the audience will warm up. Also develop the ability to laugh at yourself. Don't worry about blowing a chord or lyric, just smile, laugh, keep strumming and then get back into it. The audience will respond to the fun you're having and that you can goof up and it doesn't bother you. Once you realize you can goof up, laugh at it, and no big hook is going to come out to drag you off stage, you'll find you don't goof up that much.


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: GUEST,Foe
Date: 16 Apr 02 - 03:25 PM

If you have a few songs that you know so well you can sing them foward and backwards in your sleep, start your set with one of those. Then you can just concentrate on having fun with that song and you'll get past the jitters and the audience will warm up. Also develop the ability to laugh at yourself. Don't worry about blowing a chord or lyric, just smile, laugh, keep strumming and then get back into it. The audience will respond to the fun you're having and that you can goof up and it doesn't bother you. Once you realize you can goof up, laugh at it, and no big hook is going to come out to drag you off stage, you'll find you don't goof up that much.


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: GUEST,Lynn
Date: 16 Apr 02 - 05:53 PM

Emma - When I'm nervous, I tend to close in on myself - self-preservation, protection, whatever. I start by straightening up, moving the shoulders around, and then BREATHE. Take in a few deep ones and exhale hard. Then shake out the arms and wiggle the fingers. Anything to help get the blood flowing through my system again.

I'd avoid foreign substances if I were you. I find they make me a bit cloudy and might just keep that bit of lyric from coming to me just before I need it!

Keep at it!

Lynn


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Hilary
Date: 16 Apr 02 - 08:07 PM

Good thread Emma,

It does get easier, plus all the above !

Some things a friend & I keep telling ourselves, which helps us deal with steadily decreasing stagefright. Although you do have to try to select music that you think the audience will appreciate - we think it's important to make sure it something YOU are happy to perform, something you can get really get into. Enthusiasm/enjoyment & getting the essence of a song across will be more apparent to most people in the audience than minor technical details.

As you did - Start with something you can do on auto-pilot, nervousness reduces (our) skill levels - so get the first one down & you're well away.

Learn from the less than wonderful but : Remember your successes.

Hilary


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: 53
Date: 16 Apr 02 - 10:58 PM

You just have to do it. Just jump in there and grab it by the balls and do it. Like the Nike commercial, just do it. Bob


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 12:15 PM

Lots of good advice above.

An old music professor once laid some fairly harsh but wise words on me when I almost blew an audition because of nerves. He told me that the two main causes for stagefright are:—

1) not being prepared, in which case you have every reason to be nervous; and

2) you're thinking more about what the audience thinks about you than you are about the music you're about to perform. You are merely the vehicle. The music is the reason everybody is there. Concentrate on the music.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: JeZeBeL
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 07:11 PM

Wow, thanks everyone......this is all amazing advice.....it's so nice to be on a forum like this as I can gwet help from people who have gone through what i am just starting to go through. Performing is something I really want to do....I want to get into being proffesional....but mainly as a bodhran player rather than a whistle player.....but it's really good to have more than one instrument that you can play in a group. What don said last about what his music teacher said is so true. the fact is I am thinking aout what the audience thinks rather than just playing...I don't want to screw up so they think I'm awful......you know the jist of it. Anyway......I'll keep checking in and thanks again for all the advice and kind thoughts....it is very useful/interesting and nice to know that there are people out there who care


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: 53
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 09:29 PM

Where do you stand when you play the whistle. I've never watched and group like you're describing so I might sound kinda dumn.


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: JeZeBeL
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 09:36 PM

If i'm playing whistle i have to stand in the middle...between the guitar and bodhran...if I'm playing bodhran I sit to the side lol


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: iRiShBaBe
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 05:05 PM

two words for you, RESCUE REMEDY!!

it calms you down no end it works absolute wonders. i have huge oral exams on at the moment and im flying them... cos im calm and relaxed.

it costs about 8 eure in all good chemists. pop 4 drops on your tongue about a half an hour before ur due on stage and put 20 or so drops into a bottle of cold still bottled water. sup the water for about 2 hours before hand and i can guarentee u'll be as cool as a cucumber. the only downside is that it kinda smells of whicky and kinda tastes like it too but i swear by it.

try it... it reallly works. theres no side effects.

it works too if you cant sleep at night, pop a couple of drops on you tongue and off you go.

trust me

best of luck


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: GUEST,Owain
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 05:22 PM

Once, when opening for a major act(2500 seat auditorium...sold out)after I was introduced I played about 45 seconds and could 'not' stop my legs from shaking so I stopped. Said calmly(or so I thought), "Owain will be out in a minute, I'm just doing the sound check," and walked off. Counted to 25 offstage and walked back out. There was a huge burst of laughter and applause. Kicked into the first song and stopped in the same place. "Everybody caught up now?" I asked. More laughter. Finished the set with no more shaking. Point is, it relaxed everybody in the place, especially me. Preparation and familiarity are the keys. Relax and enjoy yourself and so will everybdy else. Keep going!


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 05:39 PM

Well . . . iRiShBaBe, I dunno. Granted, Rescue Remedy is herbal, but I don't like the idea of having to depend on anything to keep myself stabilized in any situation that I intentionally place myself in, such as performing. And alcohol? No! Not if you feel you need it to calm your nerves. Valium and any of the other benzodiazapine tranquilizers are addictive (Yes, they are!).

Been there. Done that. Don't do it!

If you have problems with nerves (unless a doctor tells you to), don't rely on anything external. A little deep breathing and meditation, and keep your priorities straight.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: JeZeBeL
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 07:09 PM

meditations always a good idea.....i find it calms me down before i have to do terrifying things....yet i've never tried it before i go on stage


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Gypsy
Date: 14 Nov 04 - 09:42 PM

so, JeZeBel, how are you doing now? Last night was the FIRST attack of stage fright ever, for us. YUCK! 25+ gigs in the last 6 months, but first time on a stage, for a concert. Thank heavens for kind audiences, and being just the warmup! I was fine.......until i got ON stage, and started playing......shaky hands, and dulcimer hammers do NOT mix!


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: muppitz
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 03:56 AM

It gets easier the more you do it.

Face your fear, and soon you will start to enjoy it. You will also find that the nerves are good for you!

However, sometimes I choose to face my fear with a glass of white wine!

Regards
muppitz x


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Hand-Pulled Boy
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 07:24 AM

Try to play all your gigs at the nearest 'Deaf, Dumb and Blind Institute' then you can really concentrate on the music. It can be a bit spooky when there's no reaction after each song but you'll soon get used to that. Once you've got your nerves in check you can then play the usual live events. To get the audience on your side promise to buy everyone a drink in the interval (ps take your credit card). You can make all sorts of promises. It depends how brave you are and how you like to dress. Always were a hat if nothing else!


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Sue M
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 08:19 AM

The title of this thread really caught my eye as I'm a complementary therapist with a technique that can be really effective with Stage Fright!
The technique is called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and can be easily learnt and used by people of all ages. The beauty of it is that you can learn it in person or over the phone or via email/the net and then use it on all emotional issues (not just stage fright).
I qualified earlier this year and am looking for different ways of teaching EFT (eg email). I've already run a small workshop at Burntwood Folk Festival earlier this year which seemed to go well.
If people are interested I could start a thread on using EFT for Stage Fright/Performance Issues.
To give you an example of the technique to try immediately:

Anxiety Stopper:
Think about what you are anxious about. Deeply breath in slowly, then
1. Tap several times Under Eye.
2. Tap several times Under Arm.
3. Tap several times under Collar Bone.
Now breathe out slowly.
See how you feel and repeat the process if still anxious.

Anyone interested in learning more?

Sue


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Subject: RE: Practical aspects of evolution & physiology
From: GUEST,Minerva
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 09:25 AM

One can always try to "just do it", or try "chemicals", but if you look to the evolutionary history of humans, and how it has impacted our physiology, you will have more tools to work with than just "will power", or pretending the audience is friendly.

Two aspects: First: human beings are highly adaptable, and can get used to just about anything. Second, in our evolutionary stage in the recent past, when we were often the prey, our systems evolved to inject substantial amounts of adrenaline into our bloodstreams, to provide energy, to sensitize our fear-awareness mechanisms, and to shut down parts of our brains that we do not need too much at that moment. Legs trembling uncontrolably, hands shaking, hyperventilating, and narrowed mental focus are all the direct result. They are physical processes, not mental attitudes or moral weaknesses, or lack of preparedness. They are getting you ready for "fight or flight", because you have been thrown into an unusual situation, where less evolved parts of your brain are imagining that you are exposed to some danger. While the actual danger may only be the risk of looking dumb, your brain still reacts the same as if it is the danger of being eaten by a saber-tooth tiger.

So, how does one burn off excess adrenaline? Physical movement. Swing your arms. Walk around the stage. Pretend you are swinging a golf club. If you don'rt burn off enough, you'll still feel "nervous". If you burn off too much, you might take a fine edge off of your performance.

With time, as your presence on the stage becomes less alien, and you feel less and less like prey, you will find that your system generates less adrenaline, and performing will become easier. This is like training in the military, or the police, where the same movements are run through over and over, to make them feel less alien. You will still always be nervous, but it will be at a manageable, and even helpful level.

Forget that crap about drugs and booze - you already have enough of a chemical soup churning around in your own system.

Learn about your brain.

Use it.


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 01:59 PM

Just imagine if you were in the audience, rather than on the stage...you wouldn't be standing there waiting for the performer to screw up, or noting every time they did. You'd just be there to hear the music...and that's what the audience is there for.


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: PoppaGator
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 02:13 PM

My answer for all such problems is: Try busking!

Yeah, it's not for everyone (I suppose), but it certainly worked for me. I had to deal with a variety of "stage" fright when I first took my little act out to the streetcorners, but I had little choice. (My housemates wouldn't let me back in the house unless & until I made my obsession/hobby into a paying proposition.)

If you can force yourself to perform on the street, it quickly becomes a singularly UN-stressful venue. Anyone who isn't interested simply passes by, usually without comment; on the other hand, there is almost always someone bored enough, easily enough duped, etc., to hang around and find you fascinating. They may even pay!

After just one or two 30-to-40 hour weeks of streetsinging, I found it absolutely no problem to play open mikes, basket houses, etc. Prior to taking my act out to the street, I had found it difficult to the point of paralysis to take the stage even in such a modest context.


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Chris Green
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 02:27 PM

I've found that performing as a duo or band helps - there's less of a feeling of isolation. I packed in doing solo gigs a few years ago as I found that I just couldn't relax and enjoy what I was doing. As a result neither did the audience. I reamin lost in admiration for anyone who can stand up on their own for two forty five minute sets and entertain a room full of people!


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Helen
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 03:42 PM

I haven't had a chance to read all of this thread, and I will get back to it, but .......

bananas!!

That was the sage advice given in a discussion on the e-mail harplist. The trick is to eat a couple of bananas about 20 minutes before you go on stage. The theory behind why it works seems to be that bananas contain beta-blockers which have a calming effect. I've tried it and it works for me.

The other advice from the harplist was not to drink alcohol before the performance because your coordination can be impaired and then that can sap your confidence even more. Save the celebratory drinks until after the performance.

Helen


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: dwditty
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 03:50 PM

I highly recommend the book Art of the Solo Performer by Steve Rapson, available (for free download, as I recall) at Solo Performer

If the clickie doesn't work (I am batting about .500), cut and paste the url.

I liked it so much, I purchased the book from Steve after reading the download version. The book applies to anyone getting up in front of an audience.

dw


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 04:48 PM

I'd like to share a story told by a participant in Banjo Camp North a couple of years ago.

Yo Yo Ma, the great classical cellist, was performing for some occasion (I forget what), and he played the Bach unaccompanied cello sonatas, six of them--three in the morning, then three in the afternoon.

Now here's a man with a good sized audience, playing solo the most difficult long pieces there are on his instrument. He's going to be watched (and listened to) like a hawk, all day, in the most difficult circumstances.

In the evening, at a dinner or something, someone asked him if that gave him any stagefright, or maybe the question was how he avoided stagefright. The answer was, no, he didn't have stagefright "because I have something to share and nothing to prove."

Get that. Run it through your mind. You're there because of the music, not because of yourself. You have something to share, but nothing to prove.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Gypsy
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 10:10 PM

Sue, Minerva, and Dave, thanks ever so much for the words of wisdom. Will take to heart. PoppaGator, have been busking little fingers off. Somehow, that is easy......like being at events, and our typical venue is "ambiance music" But people sitting quietly, paying attention? That was trippy. Hopefully, next time will be easier. The scariest part........the concert soundman will give us a cd of the performance. Will be good for friday night quarterbacking, just hope it isn't too disatarous!


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 10:42 PM

I am not a performer. For years I had stagefright---even in college I dreaded my public speaking class.
Having been on a radio program now (for some 10 yrs) and because of that having had to MC some concerts I can attest to a few things and suggest a few---since I am not only relaxed doing it---but also enjoying it.

1) Experience---after doing it for some time you are used to it. SOme actors still get stage fright---but it enhances their performance, they say, since they are conscious of what they are doing.

2) Focus---think of an audience member and feel you are talking or playing to them.   The personal feeling helps you to relax and enjoy the situation

3)   Repartee---this is not musical now (though it could be). When you are relaxed (see experience above) you can be quick with comments to the audience if the are involved in your performance. Recently I introduced a skimpily attired folk group (women) and someone whistled---I immediately thanked them for appreciating my legs (male)in an effimate way and got a big laugh.

Bottom line----getting used to do doing what you do. The audience is there to enjoy you because they picture you as the friend/artist/MC/comic/.etc; that they came to be with---and like. You are talking / playing for friends---nice part --if there are lights--you don't even have to see them. Just picture whomever you like.



Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: HELP: How to deal with stage fright!!
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 12:03 PM

Some people never conquer or can control their stage fright, ever. It is no disgrace to accept that that one cannot perform in front of an audience without stage fright and to confine ones activities to private performances. It takes courage to abandon the dream of performing well in public. In the UK the Folk Clubs a full of floor singers who suffer intensely with stage fright and week after week, year after year they inflict their dreadful performances on people without ever improving. We have all encountered them. By all means people should try and they should be offered the opportunity and environment to try, but at the same time they owe it to themselves, after a reasonable period, to admit they don't have what it takes - a personal disapointment maybe, but no disgrace and none of us will think any the less of them. Not all of us can be great cricketers, or novelists or surgeons or performers of music and song, we have to accept that.


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