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> Playing Live For The First Time
Qenzoz
post May 1 2012, 08:03 PM
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Hey! smile.gif, I have this major problem at the moment, I am probably going to play live for the first time (17th may), the reason why I say probably is because I am not sure if i'll be able to, and maybe my guitar teacher has to stand-in for me, the reason I am posting here is because I'd like as much input and different advices as possible, to prepare my self for this. But for all this to make sense, I have to tell you a short version of my life, and hopefully you'll get a better understanding.

When I was 10 years old, my dad died, and that led me into an depression, I started to hear voices, seeing visions, getting suicidal thoughts, and anxiety. Now time moves on, I've gotten rid of the depression, hearing voices, seeing vision and the suicidal thoughts, but I still have my anxiety, I am now 17 years old today and I turn 18 the 20th may, and of course I think we're all nervous first time we have to go on stage, but my problem is a bit different, back when I was younger around the 12-13 years old, I was even too scared to go out of my own house, and I was too scared to go to school, I've never in my entire life, stood up in front people and spoke (e.g. giving a presentation in-front of the class), after getting out of school I went to a production school (where I still am), I am at the musicians workshop (of course wink.gif), having a really great time there, but I still had to spend 6 months before I started to eat at the school, and trust me! 8 hours a day without any food is hard, I am still too scared to take the bus everyday so my parents have to drive me, which stops when I am 18.
But I've made a lot of progress from going from not being able to go out of my house, to actually playing in a band, the music we play is Red Hot Chili Peppers, quite fun, and I know that none of you have any idea how good or bad I am at playing the guitar since I've never uploaded a single video of my playing (because of my anxiety), but a little about my guitar playing is that I've played for 11 months, I started a longer time ago, but I played for 1-2 weeks and stopped, and then after like 8 months I got back to the guitar played for a week and stopped, then finally I got to the guitar again and then just kept on playing biggrin.gif, now when I've just played a song or just been jamming, and people ask me for how long time I've played and I say 11 months, they seem really surprised, when I had been playing for 6 months the drum teacher thought I had been playing for 2-3 years, and EVERYONE at my school says I am really good. But basicly I can play the songs we have to play in my sleep, I can improvise, and even make it sound really great (according to the teachers), and the teachers at this school are REALLY REALLY good, also everyone says that I underestimate my self, I am apparently the only one at my school that thinks I am bad, hmpfh...

But I have a backup guitarist (the teacher) if I just can't make my self play that day, and if I go on stage and if anything happens to my guitar, my teachers 78' or 80 something Fender strat is ready for me, basicly anything that I want I can get, and my teacher will be my personal tech that day tongue.gif... But I've actually been so stressed about this situation that I started to get suicidal thoughts again, which I got rid of 4 years ago, so that sucks..

Ehm, I could tell you about the place where we're going to play, its a school, not sure what you call it in english (maybe boarding school), basicly a school where people can take the 9th/10th grade and they live there, theres going to be playing a good amount of bands, and there is going to be a good amount of people probably 100-200+, all depends on the weather, its something where people just come and go and sit down and listen to music and have a drink, etc. My band only has to play 20 minutes (luckily), the songs we're playing is Dani Califonia, Can't Stop, Otherside & Look Around (by Red Hot Chili Peppers tongue.gif), we're going to be the second band from our school to play (thats how I prefered it), what I am most nervous of is playing solos, and playing stuff where I am alone, basicly when my playing is the thing people will focus on, I am also terrified to make a noteable mistake, luckily I know how to improvise, so if I loose track of where I am, I can always jam my way back in, like a pro..... tongue.gif, i think they call it professional mistakes biggrin.gif. Now gear wise I'll use my own guitar, own pedals, own amp, so no problems there..

So I think I've told enough, about my "short" story, I hope that you have an idea about me and an better understanding why this is a huge problem for me, now what I hope you can help me out with, is that maybe you have some ideas, what I could do when I play a solo or when I play something all by myself (I do that in the start of Can't Stop and right after the drum build up), and also how was your first experience when you played for the first time, how good were you, what were peoples reaction, how nervous were you, did you do anything special when you had to play a solo, etc.

And of course there are a lot more things I could tell you about me, but I think this covers the basics.
But if you'd like for me to upload an video of my playing of the 4 songs I could probably get that done, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask smile.gif

Btw the more details you can use, the better tongue.gif, thanks in advance!

Best regards, Tobias


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jstcrsn
post May 1 2012, 10:34 PM
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to be honest , you will probably mess up, (I still do )but what does that matter, so you miss a few or even many notes (forget them , you are up there and they are not).
I am still learning the only power people have to make you anxious is the same amount of power you have to give to them,so don't give them any, .
so go balls to the wall and have fun and don't care what they think-if you live your life the way other people think about you, you will never live up to that. if you live up to what your creator made you to be, with all your history that he knows you have- that is the only way to true peace


you will do fine
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JTaylor
post May 2 2012, 01:56 AM
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QUOTE (jstcrsn @ May 1 2012, 05:34 PM) *
to be honest , you will probably mess up, (I still do )but what does that matter, so you miss a few or even many notes (forget them , you are up there and they are not).
I am still learning the only power people have to make you anxious is the same amount of power you have to give to them,so don't give them any, .
so go balls to the wall and have fun and don't care what they think-if you live your life the way other people think about you, you will never live up to that. if you live up to what your creator made you to be, with all your history that he knows you have- that is the only way to true peace


you will do fine



I like that! Aside from this though, having suicidal thoughts is not something to be taken lightly and I strongly urge you to get professional help for your anxiety and, if you haven't already, tell them everything you have told us. I say this because I was there years ago. Besides depression, anxiety turned me to abuse alcohol very badly and I am blessed I escaped it with my marriage intact and before our son understood. Even though I fought every battle you have listed (plus some you haven't), I am not qualified to give advice but I (again) strongly suggest you contact someone who is. I'll keep ya in my prayers! wink.gif

This post has been edited by JTaylor: May 2 2012, 01:57 AM


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MonkeyDAthos
post May 2 2012, 02:14 AM
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Well, do not fear for mistakes, learn from them if they indeed happen, and if they happen, do not stop! you hit a wrong note while soloing, you can always slide to the right one and stuff!....Well each person is a person, some times i have some weird anxiety moments and some others i am completely fine, but it usually goes away after the first song, my advice is..don't drink coffe before the guig! biggrin.gif and don't forget to do some warm ups! wink.gif

This post has been edited by MonkeyDAthos: May 2 2012, 02:20 AM


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Bossie
post May 2 2012, 03:02 AM
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you gotta do it....this is a great chance to get rid of those bad vibes right now.
The entire gmc community supports you on this one..go and enjoy!!!!Making mistakes
is normal ..just try to look different on to this occasion..lots of succes !!!!
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PosterBoy
post May 2 2012, 06:35 AM
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Live playing is all about living for the moment not worrying about mistakes (you learn to cover them up or just keep going).

The biggest thing to realise is that the fear and anxiety you'll feel is the same energy and feeling in your body as excitment, the only difference is where you see it as a negative energy or positive.

Nothing can prepare you for playing live in front of people, you can only prepare for playing, so practice standing up, practice the pieces without a warm up/ with cold hands, because you fingers will likely not want to be your friends when you first start playing on the night!

Maybe try visualisation, imagine the concert in your head with you playing everything correctly, do it in detail, try and imagine how you will feel (nervous etc) and how you will put those feelings aside to get the job done

Keep a sense of humour and don't take yourself or playing too seriously on the night (remember it is called PLAYING so have fun) and if it goes badly you should at least get a funny story out of it for the future (notice how we mainly tell stories about things going wrong)

Playing live gets easier.

However well your first experience goes, I'm sure it will help with your anxieties because you will have achieved something and won a small battle.

And we are hear to support you.


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SirJamsalot
post May 3 2012, 12:43 AM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ May 1 2012, 10:35 PM) *
Live playing is all about living for the moment not worrying about mistakes (you learn to cover them up or just keep going).

The biggest thing to realise is that the fear and anxiety you'll feel is the same energy and feeling in your body as excitment, the only difference is where you see it as a negative energy or positive.

Nothing can prepare you for playing live in front of people, you can only prepare for playing, so practice standing up, practice the pieces without a warm up/ with cold hands, because you fingers will likely not want to be your friends when you first start playing on the night!

Maybe try visualisation, imagine the concert in your head with you playing everything correctly, do it in detail, try and imagine how you will feel (nervous etc) and how you will put those feelings aside to get the job done

Keep a sense of humour and don't take yourself or playing too seriously on the night (remember it is called PLAYING so have fun) and if it goes badly you should at least get a funny story out of it for the future (notice how we mainly tell stories about things going wrong)

Playing live gets easier.

However well your first experience goes, I'm sure it will help with your anxieties because you will have achieved something and won a small battle.

And we are hear to support you.


+1 Great advice

Count on not having time to yourself before a gig to warm up. You're gonna be busy setting up right after the first band is done.
If you're not singing, then eyes won't be on you (except for other guitarists in the crowd), so you won't really be in the spot light unless you step up center stage for a solo and steal it smile.gif

Definitely practice standing up as mentioned here.

If you've never been on a proper stage before, you'll learn real fast that your "life line" is your stage monitor, because you'll be set up behind the P/A speakers which mic the band. Situate yourself in front of it because it's not going to be loud on stage as you might imagine - you'll primarily hear your own guitar rig if you're standing in front of it, and the person at the mixing console is going to have you turn down your rig so that it meshes with the other instruments and microphones through the P/A system. This may seem a little odd at first. The audience will get a wall of sound, but you're only gonna a half-volume monitor in your face. So don't play in front of or in line of the other guitarist's or bassist's rig, or you'll get confused over what you're hearing.

Crack open your guitar case a good 1/2 hour before the show so that it acclimates to the temperature of the room. It will go out of tune, so have a tuner on hand - on stage, and tune up before the first song. The stage lights are warm and will heat up your guitar so you may find yourself having to tune after the first or second song.

If you will be playing both clean and dirty, make sure you know your rig well. If you have a clean/dirty channel with a master volume, get the levels situated so that the dirt is a notable but not drastic jump in volume. If you have a gain pedal in addition for that extra boost, get that squared away during band practice. When the engineer checks sound, he'll probably have you cycle through your clean and dirty, but don't give him your boost pedal - keep that a secret or he'll neuter your volume based on that boost, which you want to cut through during your solo.

Bring a friend who is willing to be your roadie. Someone who will keep track of your personal items, and empty gig bag, set up a video camera and get it running for you. The 15 minutes prior to your gig are a whirlwind of "to-do's", and your band mates will be too busy to help you because they have their own check lists to go through. Having a calm head taking care of the non-stage setup tasks will be a saving grace, especially for your first gig experience.

Your band should have a set list - make sure you print it out in big print - bring tape and tape it to the floor in front of your monitor as a reference.

Make sure your guitar chord is at least 15 feet, and make sure it's looped through your strap to prevent the ever so common "oh crap, how come I can't hear myself playing fauxpaus".

Keep a few spare picks within reach.

Don't use a music stand. It looks ridiculous from the audience's line of sight.

Be friendly/warm with the sound engineer even if he's crap, self conceited, and mean. He's ultimately in charge of how you sound.

If you get lost, move your fretting hand to approximate where you think might be a good place to be, and mute until you find yourself. The great part about being in a band is everyone else will likely be where they need to be - the important thing is that the singer has the right notes to sing to, so playing a wrong chord progression is just impolite smile.gif Better to not be heard in such a case - the bass will cover your *arse* til you catch up.

If you screw up, no one will notice except you. In fact, you'll get compliments from people on things you think you sucked at. Say thank you with a big smile and just eat your pride - you owe it to them to not be self-bashing over what they enjoyed.

Don't drink water on stage - drink something sweet - a nervous dry mouth is not quenched by water - water disappears as soon as it hits your tongue. I learned this the hard way as the lead singer of my band. That's a different story, but trust me on this biggrin.gif If you are going to sing, and are of age, drink a beer - good for relaxing a nervous larynx and will give you a better singing range. But don't get drunk!

Don't feel like you shouldn't be nervous. Until you have a dozen live performances under your belt, that is to be expected. If your band members seem to be at ease, it's a front. They're nervous as hell too - count on that. Nervous people are good at faking the calm look to look cool, but under that skin is jello. Even your guitar idols get nervous/anxious before a show. Unfortunately, that's just how we're built as humans. Learning to deal with the jitters is the only solution, and the only way to learn that is to force yourself to get up there and confront your nerves as much as you can. You'll eventually gain confidence, which is the key to confronting your nerves.

You're in for a ride. You'll love it. Trust me. After the show, you'll be on a high, and have a sense of what it's all about and want to do it again, but better. Force yourself to do it. Tell your guitar teacher - stand back. I appreciate your being there for me, but I have to do this. You'll thank yourself after the show.

I hope some of this is useful to you.

SirJamsalot!









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Todd Simpson
post May 3 2012, 01:20 AM
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This is an AMAZING post from JAMS and I hope it goes in the wiki. It's everything you will learn in your next 10 shows put in to one post. I played half a doze shows before any of these lessons even started to sink in as it was so much to process at the time.

The advice you've been reading is hard won and done for the love of the game to speak. It's got real value so honestly take it to heart. When you are up there, try to remember this is THE reason you've been doing all the practice. Acknowledge the fear, to yourself, it's normal. Let it be and just own it. After the first song, set it aside and try to enjoy the rest. After on YOUR ON STAGE! WOOHOOO!!!!! smile.gif


QUOTE (SirJamsalot @ May 2 2012, 07:43 PM) *
+1 Great advice

Count on not having time to yourself before a gig to warm up. You're gonna be busy setting up right after the first band is done.
If you're not singing, then eyes won't be on you (except for other guitarists in the crowd), so you won't really be in the spot light unless you step up center stage for a solo and steal it smile.gif

Definitely practice standing up as mentioned here.

If you've never been on a proper stage before, you'll learn real fast that your "life line" is your stage monitor, because you'll be set up behind the P/A speakers which mic the band. Situate yourself in front of it because it's not going to be loud on stage as you might imagine - you'll primarily hear your own guitar rig if you're standing in front of it, and the person at the mixing console is going to have you turn down your rig so that it meshes with the other instruments and microphones through the P/A system. This may seem a little odd at first. The audience will get a wall of sound, but you're only gonna a half-volume monitor in your face. So don't play in front of or in line of the other guitarist's or bassist's rig, or you'll get confused over what you're hearing.

Crack open your guitar case a good 1/2 hour before the show so that it acclimates to the temperature of the room. It will go out of tune, so have a tuner on hand - on stage, and tune up before the first song. The stage lights are warm and will heat up your guitar so you may find yourself having to tune after the first or second song.

If you will be playing both clean and dirty, make sure you know your rig well. If you have a clean/dirty channel with a master volume, get the levels situated so that the dirt is a notable but not drastic jump in volume. If you have a gain pedal in addition for that extra boost, get that squared away during band practice. When the engineer checks sound, he'll probably have you cycle through your clean and dirty, but don't give him your boost pedal - keep that a secret or he'll neuter your volume based on that boost, which you want to cut through during your solo.

Bring a friend who is willing to be your roadie. Someone who will keep track of your personal items, and empty gig bag, set up a video camera and get it running for you. The 15 minutes prior to your gig are a whirlwind of "to-do's", and your band mates will be too busy to help you because they have their own check lists to go through. Having a calm head taking care of the non-stage setup tasks will be a saving grace, especially for your first gig experience.

Your band should have a set list - make sure you print it out in big print - bring tape and tape it to the floor in front of your monitor as a reference.

Make sure your guitar chord is at least 15 feet, and make sure it's looped through your strap to prevent the ever so common "oh crap, how come I can't hear myself playing fauxpaus".

Keep a few spare picks within reach.

Don't use a music stand. It looks ridiculous from the audience's line of sight.

Be friendly/warm with the sound engineer even if he's crap, self conceited, and mean. He's ultimately in charge of how you sound.

If you get lost, move your fretting hand to approximate where you think might be a good place to be, and mute until you find yourself. The great part about being in a band is everyone else will likely be where they need to be - the important thing is that the singer has the right notes to sing to, so playing a wrong chord progression is just impolite smile.gif Better to not be heard in such a case - the bass will cover your *arse* til you catch up.

If you screw up, no one will notice except you. In fact, you'll get compliments from people on things you think you sucked at. Say thank you with a big smile and just eat your pride - you owe it to them to not be self-bashing over what they enjoyed.

Don't drink water on stage - drink something sweet - a nervous dry mouth is not quenched by water - water disappears as soon as it hits your tongue. I learned this the hard way as the lead singer of my band. That's a different story, but trust me on this biggrin.gif If you are going to sing, and are of age, drink a beer - good for relaxing a nervous larynx and will give you a better singing range. But don't get drunk!

Don't feel like you shouldn't be nervous. Until you have a dozen live performances under your belt, that is to be expected. If your band members seem to be at ease, it's a front. They're nervous as hell too - count on that. Nervous people are good at faking the calm look to look cool, but under that skin is jello. Even your guitar idols get nervous/anxious before a show. Unfortunately, that's just how we're built as humans. Learning to deal with the jitters is the only solution, and the only way to learn that is to force yourself to get up there and confront your nerves as much as you can. You'll eventually gain confidence, which is the key to confronting your nerves.

You're in for a ride. You'll love it. Trust me. After the show, you'll be on a high, and have a sense of what it's all about and want to do it again, but better. Force yourself to do it. Tell your guitar teacher - stand back. I appreciate your being there for me, but I have to do this. You'll thank yourself after the show.

I hope some of this is useful to you.

SirJamsalot!



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Cosmin Lupu
post May 3 2012, 09:30 AM
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Mate smile.gif I am speaking from the shoes of a dude who's still nervous on stage after a lot of years. Forget about everything, walk up there and have fun. As a friend of mine told me:

'This is your festival - you are the host! These people in the audience are your guests! Would you permit your guests not to have a good time? Those 4 or 30 minutes are your celebration and you want those people to celebrate with you? Than act like it man!'


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Ben Higgins
post May 3 2012, 11:18 AM
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Hey Tobias, first of all I'm really pleased for you that you're getting the opportunity to play live (and I already know you're going to do it as well) and also, well done for saying all those things about yourself, it's brave.

This is not really the place to get too psychological but I will say that the reason those old thoughts are coming back to you is because our oldest fears come back to haunt us when we are in a new situation and feeling insecure. It does it to me every time. If I'm feeling nervous or, let's face it, terrified, of a new situation, then my old demons and habits try to come back and start eating away at my confidence. This happens to everyone, even if they're not aware of it. When the going gets tough, most of us will be aware that some element of our weaker self comes to the surface again. Maybe we're tempted to indulge in something we don't normally do because we want to hide from the scary thing, maybe it's just ridiculous thoughts hassling us, maybe we start becoming a bit OCD and aren't quite sure why. It would be interesting if, next time any of us notice a negative behavioural pattern in ourselves, just look inside and see if there's anything that we're avoiding or are afraid of. We're often being undermined by things and don't realise.

So, to recap, you're not alone in that and you can take some comfort in why the suicidal thoughts have returned. It's because something has come along, threatening to push you out of your comfort zone and your old fears are clinging on with dear life trying to stop you from taking the leap into new territory.

The other thing is, fear never really goes away. As long as we continue to do new things we will always experience it. We just learn to accept it as a natural feeling that our bodies produce to make us aware that something is happening that 1. is new to us 2. might be a threat to us. The fear response used to be because we needed to be on high alert for predators that might eat us. However, the fear response doesn't have a 'level of threat' gauge so the chemical response to a possible attack from a Sabre Tooth Tiger is the same as playing music on stage or having someone shout at us all of a sudden. The threat levels are not the same but the prehistoric brain perceives a threat as a threat anyway. So fear is actually just a tool our bodies have used throughout time to alert us to a threat or something that was unknown and potentially dangerous. However, that part hasn't adapted to differentiate between real threats and things which are not dangerous at all, only imagined.

If you accept that is is normal to be afraid and that you are going to be afraid, you can move past it and harness it.

Steve Harris of Iron Maiden still gets nervous before a gig to this day and he's a veteran. It's because we're doing something out of the ordinary, we're alive. smile.gif

The worst part of it is just the fear of fear. Doing it for real is nothing at all. The only way to get rid of the fear of something is to go out and do it. One thing to hold onto is how good you are going to feel when you've done it. On the lead up to something, when the fear gets to you, look beyond the event and visualise completing it and feeling top of the world. Hold onto that and it can carry you through the darkest moments.


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Qenzoz
post May 5 2012, 12:46 PM
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Thanks everyone, this helps a lot!

Now I just hope I can do it... That'll be the fun part. But I'll let you all know when the time comes tongue.gif


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Tangomouse
post May 5 2012, 08:35 PM
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I played live on stage in 2006 to 100+ people for the first time, I was crapping my self to say the least and made a few mistakes, but i loved every second of it and did it agan a year later..

Here's my preformance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IlfrP2CGnY&feature=plcp

I'd not been playing long at the time..
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