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avimuno

 

Posts: 598
Joined: Feb. 9 2007
From: Paris, France

How to practice 'performing on stage'? 

Hello everyone,

Maybe this has been posted in the past so apologies if this is getting repeated.

I am reaching the point where I get gigs more and more regularly. It's always to accompany dancers at parties, weddings etc... I have always been a nervous performer but I get by when accompanying. However, we do sometimes get asked to perform longer shows which means that the dancers ask me to play one or two solo pieces in between their numbers. This is my problem... I tend to freeze when playing in public, which makes playing solos very hard. It's a very uncomfortable feeling... everything is fine until I get on stage and all of a sudden, I literally loose my right hand... my arpeggio, picado, tremolo, alzapua... it's all gone!
I know that performance is an art in itself and was wondering how do you guys practice it.

Thanks.

Saludos,

Avi
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 4:36:25
 
Harry

Posts: 390
Joined: Jun. 24 2010
From: Montreal, Canada

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

Hello,

well I can certainly relate to what you are feeling, and what you describe sounds painfully familiar.

How would you feel if you had to perform solo in front of say, 10-15 friends? How about a few acquaintances in there who have never heard you play?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 4:43:33
 
avimuno

 

Posts: 598
Joined: Feb. 9 2007
From: Paris, France

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

Hello Harry,

Thanks for your reply. My teacher also told me that playing in front of friends is the best way to practice performance. I do it from time to time and it's usually much better than during a gig.
I find that if I play in front of people I'm used to, it's ok. For example, I can play pretty advanced solo pieces at the dance studio without the stress and pressure of performance. It's the same thing when playing to a small group of friends. But for some reason, when I'm in a gig, I just start to panic lol
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 4:58:51
 
Kevin James Shanahan

Posts: 407
Joined: Oct. 10 2010
From: Wooli, NSW Australia

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

I have struggled as a performer . My best approach has been learning to relax , far easier said than done ,all my technique has been adjusted to the most relaxed way I know so far . The other thing I do is to play a slow ambiant mood setting piece first this gives you time to relax .

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 5:48:19
 
NormanKliman

Posts: 1143
Joined: Sep. 1 2007
 

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

I suggest you keep practicing and continue observing yourself. You have to get to a point where you realize that you have two options before you and you feel sort of angry about always going with the same option. In other words, you get nervous now because you have no choice, but in the future you'll realize that you do have a choice.

Remember to keep your breathing regular, go over a worst-case scenario, have alternative plans, etc.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 7:38:32
 
xirdneH_imiJ

Posts: 1788
Joined: Dec. 2 2006
From: Budapest, now in Southampton

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

for me what seems to work is to cut out the audience completely...i try to just concentrate on my guitar, the music, myself and my bandmates, trying to act like we're in a rehearsal situation...
choosing pieces that are playable for you even when you're in your worst possible form is very important...what you can do in your bedroom you'll most likely screw up in any performance unless you have the proper routine and mindset...and add to that that you're used to your practice environment, everything's perfect - at gigs you'll have to deal with many unexpected circumstances that'll severely affect your playing...like temperature, humidity, comfort of the chair, the sound you hear and the sound you cannot!...also you might not be able to warm up properly...so at first you must go safe...if you feel you can play any advanced material at home, then choose a low intermediate one for performing at first...if you have many pieces to perform it may be a good idea to increase difficulty gradually so you can get the confidence during the performance...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 8:27:14
 
avimuno

 

Posts: 598
Joined: Feb. 9 2007
From: Paris, France

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

Thanks a lot for the replies guys.

I definitely play simple stuff on stage. As a rule I never play something my fingers haven't mastered and memorized completely... In my experience, the sound makes a big difference in feeling good about performing. What puts me off quite often is that as soon as I get on stage, my guitar it does not react the way it does in my practice environment. This is due to the gigging environment I guess... the PA system, the temperature on stage, the return speakers etc. I sometimes cannot hear myself or the sound quite simply puts me off.
I've never met a PA guy who could get a good sound out of a flamenco guitar... which is making me consider buying my own PA which I can practice with in order to get used to playing with one. I guess that this also requires practice.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 8:47:24
 
XXX

Posts: 4400
Joined: Apr. 14 2005
 

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

quote:

ORIGINAL: avimuno
I sometimes cannot hear myself or the sound quite simply puts me off.


Soundport could help

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Фламенко
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 8:49:05
 
avimuno

 

Posts: 598
Joined: Feb. 9 2007
From: Paris, France

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

quote:

In other words, you get nervous now because you have no choice, but in the future you'll realize that you do have a choice.


That's very true... I find that I get into a vicious circle and always start thinking that in my past experiences, I have never performed very well in gigs, so I will not perform well in the next one too. It's very frustrating
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 8:50:50
 
avimuno

 

Posts: 598
Joined: Feb. 9 2007
From: Paris, France

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

quote:

Soundport could help


Does it really make a big difference? I need to try a guitar that has one when gigging.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 8:51:50
 
XXX

Posts: 4400
Joined: Apr. 14 2005
 

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

quote:

ORIGINAL: avimuno

quote:

Soundport could help


Does it really make a big difference?


Dont know if its a big difference, but every bit of extra volume and clarity can be helpful. I applaud everybody playing solo pieces. I only did it once, on my first gig and got shaky hands. After that i was more comfortable though. I dont believe in meditation but in good food and preparation before the gig. Things what i could play 99% outside i used to screw up 100% inside the gig but thats old news of course...

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 9:50:56
 
Doitsujin

Posts: 5063
Joined: Apr. 10 2005
 

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

quote:

How to practice 'performing on stage'?


Perform on stage.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 10:43:20
 
Ailsa

Posts: 2277
Joined: Apr. 17 2007
From: South East England

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

I'm a lot better than I used to be, I think through playing for dance classes. I am more used to just keeping compas even if I fluff stuff a lot, because that's what the dancers need. I've become accustomed to keeping it going. But stuff still goes wrong........

I did a local gig last Saturday, 25 minute set. In the first piece I had a complete mind-blank! It was a Minera, and about half way through I just couldn't remember where my left hand fingers were supposed to be. So I just took a suitable chord and played some arpegios, and then went straight to the final falseta. Took about a minute off the piece! Fortunately it's libre, so no-one really noticed.

The Minera is something I've been performing for over 2 years, and I really do know it, and I'd practised it backstage 5 minutes earlier! So goodness knows how I lost the plot like that. I guess it's just adrenaline?

So..... I don't have the answer but you're definitely not alone!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 10:43:27
 
Neotriz

Posts: 143
Joined: Aug. 9 2010
 

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

For me, it helps me relax when I drink couple of red wine
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 12:17:29
 
Florian

Posts: 9240
Joined: Jul. 14 2003
From: Adelaide/Australia

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to Neotriz

u just have to close your eyes and enjoy...remind yourself that you actually wanna be there

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 12:26:56
 
Adam

Posts: 1155
Joined: Dec. 6 2006
From: Philadelphia

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

Don't even notice the audience. It's like you're playing at home (if you're performing it in public, it should be something you've gone through 1000 times on your own!). I was playing a solo bulería at an open mic night the other night, nothing big but I'd never performed for that many people before, and the first falseta I completely flubbed but then next thing I knew I'd played the whole rest of the thing without much problem, going through it pretty much without thinking. I guess I settled into a groove and it was just like all the times I'd practiced. I'm no expert on performing live but I'd guess that's the sort of thing you want to go for. Good luck!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 12:58:22
Guest

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 13:01:02
 
Munin

 

Posts: 595
Joined: Sep. 30 2008
From: Hong Kong

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

Yeah agreed. For me the first piece is the worst. After that everything becomes easier.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 13:59:59
 
at_leo_87

Posts: 3055
Joined: Aug. 30 2008
From: Boston, MA, U.S.A

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

it's all about mentality!
just think of it as public masturbation and you should be all set...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 14:55:29
 
Adam

Posts: 1155
Joined: Dec. 6 2006
From: Philadelphia

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to at_leo_87

Come on Anthony, not all of us can be as bold as you!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 16:35:15
 
Ailsa

Posts: 2277
Joined: Apr. 17 2007
From: South East England

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to at_leo_87

quote:

ORIGINAL: at_leo_87

it's all about mentality!
just think of it as public masturbation and you should be all set...


that's it I'm definitely not jamming with you in
Granada next month!!

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http://www.myspace.com/flamencojourney
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 21:35:51
 
sean65

Posts: 414
Joined: Jan. 4 2010
From: London

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

quote:

.. which is making me consider buying my own PA which I can practice with in order to get used to playing with one. I guess that this also requires practice.


That's not a bad idea. For most Flamenco sets a simple PA would be fine. They're also quite portable.

I'd choose a nice first tune to open with and relax and then go from there. Acknowledge the audience's presence to break down the barriers and the more relaxed you become the better you play. There's nothing wrong with some healthy nerves and adrenalin.

The more gigs you play the less you'll notice it.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 14 2011 22:28:52
 
at_leo_87

Posts: 3055
Joined: Aug. 30 2008
From: Boston, MA, U.S.A

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

quote:

This is due to the gigging environment I guess... the PA system, the temperature on stage, the return speakers etc. I sometimes cannot hear myself or the sound quite simply puts me off.
I've never met a PA guy who could get a good sound out of a flamenco guitar... which is making me consider buying my own PA which I can practice with in order to get used to playing with one.


it's a good idea. you're going to have to learn how to deal with different rooms and situations. sometimes you just won't get the sound you want. sometimes you realize you need better gear. you'll always have to lug all that gear around. but at least you're in control.



check out and try a bunch of stuff before you buy. i suggest getting a mixer with a 9 band eq or more. if not, then at least a 3 band eq with sweepable mids.

quote:

that's it I'm definitely not jamming with you in
Granada next month!!


playing in front of friends is different! and actually much scarier.

quote:

Come on Anthony, not all of us can be as bold as you!

it just takes practice.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2011 2:31:08
 
Grisha

 

Posts: 1257
Joined: Mar. 17 2005
 

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

You are not alone, I experience this problem too. Even playing for friends. The moment I realize that someone is paying attention to me I lock up. I start grabbing the guitar and am afraid to let go of it. Everything seems out of place and my hands do not relax after hard passages but just keep building up the tension. Plus my mind starts rushing and double checking what the fingers just do naturally at home. Guess we have to learn from this guy...



I am finally able to relax a bit towards the end of the concert, after I've made a ton of mistakes. And the feeling is like being a passive observer as the music just floats from the guitar. Just listening to the sound and making a few adjustments.

Love the music you play and make the others love it too. It's not about you but the music itself. Find a person that seems to enjoy your playing and play for him/her. Do not disconnect yourself from the audience and pretend you are playing at home, but rather use the audience to inspire you. One person is all you need.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2011 2:57:53
 
avimuno

 

Posts: 598
Joined: Feb. 9 2007
From: Paris, France

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

Hello everyone!

Thanks for taking the time to post replies... I certainly do not feel alone in that situation now lol
There's a lot of really good advice here and it seems that at the end of the day, practice makes perfect

Saludos
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2011 3:48:21
 
elgreco

Posts: 247
Joined: Nov. 24 2010
From: San Francisco CA

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

Don't worry Avi. It is not a vicious circle. You may not realize it but subconsciously you are getting better and better. It is like guitar technique. You reach a plateau and you think you are never going to improve anymore. Next morning you wake up and suddenly you realize you have become a lot better. I am no way close of performing gigs but I had the same problem giving speeches to unknown audiences for work. I went through the same phase and I was close to asking my manager to exclude me from giving talks. But as Doit said the only way to get better, is practice. Now my fears are gone. You eventually get desensitized even if it does not feel like that right now. Plus if everything else fails I would concentrate on the girl with the biggest boobies.


Dino

quote:

ORIGINAL: avimuno

quote:

In other words, you get nervous now because you have no choice, but in the future you'll realize that you do have a choice.


That's very true... I find that I get into a vicious circle and always start thinking that in my past experiences, I have never performed very well in gigs, so I will not perform well in the next one too. It's very frustrating


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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2011 5:50:14

ToddK

 

Posts: 2960
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

Its fear caused by pride and ego. You're not really scared of messing up or missing a note, you're scared of what people will think of you if you mess up or miss a note.
This is why you make much less mistakes when you're alone.
You dont sense any judgment from people when you play alone.

If you can let go of your ego and pride, you can play without worrying about it.
The less you worry about it, the better you will play.
Its very simple, yet so hard to do. Human nature is a curious thing.


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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2011 5:54:35
 
photog

 

Posts: 24
Joined: Feb. 19 2004
 

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

Rehearse, rehease, rehearse but even that can let you down sometimes. As long as you don't forget where in the compas you are you can repeat a familier phrase until you catch up and carry on. Anyway shouldn't flamenco be improvised so it's not meant to sound the same each time. WTF do I know I haven't played for 6 mths.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2011 13:17:58
 
Ailsa

Posts: 2277
Joined: Apr. 17 2007
From: South East England

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to ToddK

quote:

ORIGINAL: ToddK
You're not really scared of messing up or missing a note


Actually there is a bit of that. The piece I messed up last weekend was written by my teacher, and it's absolutely beautiful (when I play it properly!). I feel a huge sense of responsibility to him and to his music. I want people to see what a good composition he has done. So at the risk of disagreeing Todd, yeah I am scared of messing up!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2011 14:23:18
 
sig

 

Posts: 296
Joined: Nov. 7 2007
From: Wisconsin

RE: How to practice 'performing on s... (in reply to avimuno

Avi,
I think everyone at one point can relate to this situation. I was the same way when I first started performing and I still get a bit nervous. Its a matter of not worrying about what others think and remember, most of the people watching probably would like to be able to do what you and I are doing!

I read an article by a guitarist named Tom Hess and he said basically the following: "The best antidote for stage fright is to change the mindset from “impressing others” to “giving to others”. I truly believe that keeping this in mind has helped me overcome my nerves.

I think ToddK said the same thing and its good advice but as he said, its tough to do. The more you perform and practice changing that mindset, the more comfortable you will get performing. After all, isn't that why we spend hundreds of hours practicing!!
Sig--
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 16 2011 17:55:57
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