Playing Guitar and How to Overcome Stage Fright
For many guitar players, the fear of getting on stage and playing guitar is not unlike that. It’s our version of “public speaking” phobia. It’s our own little nightmare known as “stage fright”.
Regardless of what your ultimate goals are on the guitar, it’s inevitable that at some point you will be asked to play in front of people. You may have your sights set on playing in a band before hundreds, or even thousands of people. Or it may be a small gathering for a church group, or just some friends coming over for dinner.
But whether it’s a large concert hall, local watering hole, church function, or just your living room – the fear associated with stage fright can be equally intense.
But the good news is, stage fright can not only be controlled, it can be mastered. Here are some ways you avoid it.
1. First off, realize that stage fright is not something that only you are experiencing. And it is not something that only new players go through. There are countless stories of high profile, well known artists that suffer from stage fright, but learn to control it.
2. Know your material in advance. Approach a public playing situation with the confidence that you have thoroughly practiced the songs you will be playing and that you know the material inside and out.
3. Accept that you will make mistakes. It happens all the time. In fact, our guitar faculties with many years of gigging professionally, there is rarely a concert that goes by that they don’t make some type of blunder throughout the evening. The key, however, is to realize that the general listening public usually doesn’t even know that you’ve made a mistake. Most of them don’t “hear” music the way we do and are blissfully unaware of any boo boo’s.
4. Strive to impress only one person – yourself. Keep in mind that you are doing something that most people only dream of being able to do. The general listening audience is sufficiently impressed with the fact that you are up there on stage holding a hunk of wood with strings on it, and making music come out. The only person you need to worry about impressing is you!
5. Focus on the music. When you get on stage your primary goal is to transition from “thinking” about the music, to “feeling” the music. The hours you spend holed up by yourself practicing is the time for “thinking.” When you get on stage it’s time to “feel” the music and let it flow. By focusing only on making great music, to the exclusion of everything else, you will quickly forget about the “fright” factor.
6. Realize that it’s all just a “mind game”. Stage fright is largely a battle with yourself. And it’s a fight you can win by approaching a free playing situation with confidence. Although there are horror stories of musicians that have out of control ego problems, a healthy dose of ego (i.e. confidence) will help you sail through a performance with flying colors.
Playing guitar in front of an audience can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences. In fact, it can become addictive and you will find that, before long, you can’t wait to get up there and perform again and again.
So work on eliminating the demons of stage fright, and get up there and play your heart out!
Keep reading: “FAQ by beginning guitarists”>>