Stage Fright

Posted: May 11, 2010 by Paul H in Tips & Tricks
Tags: ,

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 10.22.15 AMThis issue is very serious for most of us. Of course there are some guitarists who somehow are immune, but most of us, even the most confident, great players are afflicted by nerves.

Basically our blood pressure rises, our heart beat speeds up, our hands shake, we get butterflies, and if you are like me you get all these and more. When all this is happening to our bodies we are supposed to think straight and perform precise, delicate procedures with our hands while looking cool and in control. Our body is preparing us for fight and flight but our job is to play our best.

This is not all bad news. Having the extra adrenaline actually can help us focus. This fight or flight response evolved in us, because we survived if were able to react fast and make quick decisions. When the saber tooth tiger did something unexpected we could react fast. You have this quick decision making ability when you are nervous. Also the extra energy translates in your performance to your audience.

My suggestion. Welcome the nerves, it’s tough to make them go away. Try to control your breathing and stay focused on the music. Maybe take two steps back to your amp and take some deep breaths. Concentrate on the music. Smile have a good time and try to enjoy the moment, look around, see the other guys in the band, pick out one person in the audience, make eye contact.

If you have a really bad case of stage fright talk to you doctor about a prescription for beta-blockers. I used these in high stress situations, like when I auditioned for Ozzy Osbourne, I didn’t get either gig but I felt I did my best.

After the gig remember, all you could have done was your best. If you feel you didn’t, figure out how you can do it better next time and move on. Be happy, declare it a good gig and move on. Music is serious but it is also supposed to be fun.

One last thing, you look at artists on tour who do the same set day in and day out, they are used to it. You will get used to it too. One-off gigs are the hardest, I have to say I have seen some of the greatest players not play their best in one-off type gigs, those gigs are the hardest. Whatever happens, live with it and enjoy it, it’s part of rock and roll.

  1. Backseat says:

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Guitar God Guru… I have never understood until now why I freak out every time I get close to a stage… and that’s just the ones quietly lurking around in the dark when the venues are closed… I just can’t IMAGINE one with people on or around it: YIKES!!
    p.s. Seriously, great article, GGG!

Leave a Reply