Do any of your more seasoned players have any helpful anecdotes to help me with my stage fright and shyness?

I was invited to play fiddle today at a house concert in Indiana today (solo).  There were about 30 people or so, several other musicians there demonstrating playing in various musical genres.

About halfway through my set, I started to blush, both arms began shaking. I apologized and walked away from the performance area.  I'm not really sure whether I'll be able to overcome this problem.

If anyone can lend any helpful words, I would appreciate thoughts.

Thanks!

Connie

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This is a great example Lars! I am going to post this on my facebook.  Good luck Connie. Keep us in mind and remember that we are cheering on you :)

Lars Mott said:

Ronan Browne is a prime example of a guy able to clown away mistakes, although in his case at least half the time it's the amazing temperamental contraption called uilleann pipes that cause the mistakes :)

Examples: http://youtu.be/5QskJoxYApohttp://youtu.be/csEIxSimJqIhttp://youtu.be/m58jVrL_PVM

Also i found whiskey or valium (emphasis on *or* :-p )  helpful before my stage fright went away..

 

BREATH!! gives more oxygen to the brain, meaning you can think clearer, meaning less likely for anything to go wrong

Well Matt, that's very good logic and something new to think about :) - it might be good for me to concentrate on better breathing at all times, whether it's playing fiddle or doing anything else that may be stressful!  It's a very true statement - it's human nature for most people to stop breathing correctly when under stress, and we can all use more brainpower during those times.  I don't know how the wind players do it (flutes, low whistles) - I would probably faint or pass out. Thanks!

And Lars, is it possible to fiddle while drinking whiskey :)? Don't think I can do it - but maybe a Guinness or brandy.... Thanks for all the support Baxter!!!

Hi Connie. Your getting lots of good advice here. Advice given to people doing speeches is to imagine the worst that could happen. Think about it really hard. Having thought about it agree that should it happen it wouldnt be the worst thing in the world, and that you will probabally recover from it and that life will go on. Accepting it takes the fear out of it and you can relax as a result knowing that anything short of complete disaster will be a success.

Or Connie, you could try doing what I did ... Busking.

I'll admit, like any performing, it's scary the first few times, but after a while you realise that most folks are just walking right past & ignoring you & in no time at all, you find you learn not worry about playing bum notes, or care what folks think of your music & then you relax & can start enjoying the experience.

I did it in Dublin for a year, but perhaps you have a Farmers Market nearby that you could try out.I busked alone, but I'm sure it'd be easier with a friend or two along with you.

Just a thought.

Cheers,

Dick

Connie,

You ROCK !

I am in the same boat.  I do the following which helps for me:

1.  I tell EVERYONE I know including the audience that I am afraid of playing in front of people.  People will understand and be helpful.  You could even tell them that you may get nervous and need to pause in the middle of your presentation.  (obviously, telling the audience while you are "on stage" may not always be appropriate...  but, you might be able to tell some of them ahead of time).

 

2.  Practice at home by using a microphone.  Make an audio or video recording as if you were playing for a real audience.  Don't stop if you make an error, just press through like you were on stage.  Listen to your recording objectively. Put some recordings on youtube or whatever no matter whether or not they are perfect.  Show them to your friends or your on-line Irish music buddies.   Repeat.

 

Hopefully these two things will help you to MANAGE yourself when you do make a mistake, or feel you are not playing well.  Think in terms of pressing on no matter what.  You will know that people already know you are afraid and that they want to support you and you will have practiced continuing at home already.

 

Once you have made it through some performances, things should get easier for you.

 

...john

Regarding this amazing discussion, so far  I've made two observations (that haven't got as much relation to stage fright):

1.  Irish Trad Music fans must be some of nicest people in the world :)!

2.  I just saved $20 because now I don't have to read a self-help book!!!

Thanks so much for all of your advice - really priceless stuff - I'm going to compile it all these!!!

3. The Irish trad music fans who are members of Tradconnect are truly the cream of the crop ;)

Connie Rae Crone said:

Regarding this amazing discussion, so far  I've made two observations (that haven't got as much relation to stage fright):

1.  Irish Trad Music fans must be some of nicest people in the world :)!

2.  I just saved $20 because now I don't have to read a self-help book!!!

Thanks so much for all of your advice - really priceless stuff - I'm going to compile it all these!!!

Connie, I thought you might like this, it's on my page a day calendar,today:

Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control.

Cheers,

Dick

Very true Dick!  Well said.  Thanks for thinking of my post!

~Connie

I was told this, as a raw youth, by a great old fiddle teacher of mine, and have never forgotten this jewel of good advice.:~"Select ONE person at the rear of the room/hall/crowd, fix your gaze in their direction, and play ONLY to them, ignoring EVERYONE else"

It always worked for me, and I had enormous shyness/stage-fright/nervousness problems.

Nice idea Davy and thanks for the advice!  I'll try it as an experiment next time in public until I can get more comfortable. I will have to arrange with that person in advance. I don't want them to wonder why I am staring at them with some googly big fish eyes :0!  I've also noticed that a lot of really good and professional players keep their eyes closed while performing.  There are really so many clever ideas on this page!

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