Performance Anxiety

Posted: 7/1/2007 3:13:13 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

My biggest problem has been, and is, "getting started". Once I'm going, I'm good to go.

I also used to have problems talking in front of large audiences until I had to take public spaeking in college. It's not that bad for me anymore, but I still get the creeps just before stepping up to a hot mic once in a blue moon.

After yesterday's theremin debute, I think I can safely say that I'm a bit more comfortable with the public.
Posted: 7/2/2007 8:58:49 AM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

It is different ffor everyone. I am more like VonBuck in that I rarely get nervous.

The way I see it, if I F it up then I F it up.

At least I gave it a shot. I was a little nervous the first time I played in public (it was the bass with a three piece blues band) and again the first time I played my own songs on guitar by myself. I was also a bit nervous the first time I played theremin out.

The pattern with me seems to be when I am oding something new. That's when the nerves kick in a little.

As far as rehearsing the set up and break down of the equipment, I can attest to that.

Wednesday CT did a noise show and I brought a minimalist set-up. Just the theremin and a couple of little things.

Before we went on I picked up the Synsonics drums and noticed that the batteries were totally dead so I had to swap out the ones from the Speak and Spell and I ended up programming the drums on stage. I had four good batteries in it and two bad ones so the thing wasn't keeping a very good beat but we dealt with it.

Then, imagine my horror when we were wearing our gas masks (part of our shtick) and I was unable to find my plug-in guitar pickup that I use to pick up the cell phone radiation noises!

My partner in crime, Jay, was going off with his phone, running it thorugh effects and stuff and I was searching through my catch-all bag like a squirrel trying to remember where his nuts were.

So I shifted gears and picked up some other little noise making trinket but that made two pieces that were not very much like we had recorded or rehearsed them.

In the process of looking for the guitar pickup I put my cell phone and digital recorder in the bag and it swallowed them whole so they were unavailable for the rest of the show and there went piece nuumber three. I was rummaging through McDonald's toys, effects pedals, cables, camcorder tapes and adapter plugs. I even found a twelve-pack of C cells I could have put in the drums.

Fortunately, it was a noise show and it was pretty "out there" so we got by on improvisation. It was kind of irritatting because I like to think that we are one of the more musical of the noise acts in our area.

The lesson learned? Lay out my stuff in advance and don't take anything for granted, even on a small stage things can get lost.

Lesson number two, clean out that blue bag and only put what I will need for the evening's show in there.
Posted: 7/2/2007 9:43:03 AM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

I've had nightmares like that before opera performances.

... and allyou can do, is all you can do.
Posted: 7/2/2007 9:52:23 AM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

I evin had one nightmare scenario come true. In one opera, I was a guard, and at the changing of the guard scene, the prop master forgot to show me where the flag was to be waiting for me to pick up as I went out on stage to hand it off to another guard after my "duty shift" was complete, and the new guard came on. So, I improvised by simply saluting the puzzled extra, who was expecting to be handed a 10 foot tall flag, and shook his hand. Fortunately, he caugh on, and returned the salute. It worked, and I got cudos from the choriographer, who wondering how I was going to deal with the disastar, and salvage the scene.
Posted: 7/2/2007 1:03:01 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

[i]DiggyDog wrote:

"The lesson learned? Lay out my stuff in advance and don't take anything for granted, even on a small stage things can get lost.

Lesson number two, clean out that blue bag and only put what I will need for the evening's show in there."[/i]

Agree with you, Diggy. The equipment setup/takedown is as much a part of an event as the music itself. Disorganized equipment and cables don't contribute to a smooth performance.

I always carry a small toolkit that includes a soldering iron and a few basic tools. I rarely have to use it however to know the tools are there -- just in case -- is reassuring.

I do carry a couple of extra patch and power cords as replacements if something doesn't work. They never leave my suitcase, though. As you've mentioned before, loose equipment can "walk away".

[i]-- Kevin[/i]
Posted: 7/3/2007 5:11:31 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Thank you!
I was hoping throwing this topic out there would find some good purchase.
>>"Performing music in front of people has never been a problem. talking to people, even one on one scares me to no end..."
that is the best example of 'it's not about me' I have heard in a long time.
yes you are right, once you know how to play, just do it. just play. talking about it is irrelevant after you've done it.
Honestly Andy, thanks a million.
Posted: 7/5/2007 9:01:41 AM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

My wife played bass and guitar in her younger years but she hasn't picked them up in years for two reasons.

1. Stage Fright/Shyness. You would never know she was shy from talking to her. She seems very outgoing and works in advertising. She makes her living talking to strangers.

2. She has the attitude that if she can;t be the best at somethign she doesn't want to do it. She is great at a lot of things but she knows there are lots of people out there better than her. (I never let this stop me....)

Posted: 7/5/2007 9:13:31 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Diggy, interesting, thanks for bringing that one up! That "All or nothing" thinking is something I find my semi-unconscious using all the time and it's nasty.
Just because I can't be the best in the world shouldn't mean I cannot be the best that I can be.
Just because I cannot make the house perfect in one afternoon doesn't mean I shouldn't pick up the living room.
It's a nasty mental trick we use to deny ourselves in the name of self protection or high standards.

Found a related thread using the Search,
it's called Jitters but focuses on freeing up your playing with great exercises from Brian R schielenkrahe and kevinkissinger.
But be warned, "This technique requires that you be honest with yourself."

As a good friend recently said to me:
A modest reality beats a bigger-than-life fantasy any day!

Posted: 7/5/2007 9:43:08 AM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

Here! Here! I've been there, done that in my younger years, and learned from experience, that "all you can do, is all you can do!" Don't be the best, just do your best, and have fun doing it. Wish I knew that back in my school years.

I crewed for a hot-air balloon pilot who took me up once, and when I niteced we were skimming the tops of trees all the time, and barely clearing power lines, I asked him why he flew so low. His reply was that he was scared to death of hights!

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