Stagefright is one of the most commonly faced problems faced by guitarists when I ask them for feedback after performances.
Almost everybody has been through circumstances whereby you have butterflies in your stomach, sweaty hands or even mind blocks when asked to perform or speak in front of others, especially when you are new to learning how to play guitar.
For a performer, the effects of stage fright can be very devastating and might ruin your performance.
Imagine the pain when all the hours of hard work put into practicing go down the drain because stage fright takes over you during a performance. In this guitar article, we will try to address stage fright and how to cope with it in live performances.
What exactly is stage fright? Stage fright is a condition whereby the mind self imposes limiting thoughts and fear that the performer will make an error during a public performance. Self limiting thoughts such as “Oh my god, I am playing in front of other established guitarists.
What if I make a mistake?” and thoughts of fear “Will I play or sing out of tune? What if the audience doesn’t like the performance?” It is exactly these feelings and questions of self doubt that hold you back from reaching your highest potential during a performance.
– You should do light warm up exercises on guitar and stretching beforehand. This will enable you to get comfortable with your guitar and get ready for the show.
– If you are performing a set of songs, the first song that you perform should be one that is not challenging to play. I would recommend that you arrange songs in an order of gradually increasing difficulty.
– DO NOT attempt to perform any songs in which you already have technical difficulties during normal practices. I have seen many guitarists walk down that road only to end up sounding like crap.
– Stay cool in the event you make a mistake during playing. Chances are, 90% of the audience do not know that you had made a mistake unless your body language tells them so. Stay focused on completing the song and DO NOT DWELL on the mistake
– Never turn up late for a gig. A good strategy would be to show up early and make show you do a good sound check and balancing. Doing so would lessen the mental load on your mind.
I hope that these guitar tips can help you guys out there with questions related to stage fright. Conquering stage fright can be achieved with effort and continuous practice. Remember, there isn’t really much to worry about. Be prepared and confident. Just go out there and do it. : )
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I worked as a guitar player in bands, starting in 1966, for 45 years and every night before going on stage I threw up. Every time, four or five nights a week but once that was over I was fine, I went on and played with no problems. That’s how bad I had stage fright.