Nerves before and during a gig

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Do you get nervous before or during a show? Just curious. I don't, never did, can't relate. Sometimes I wonder if something is missing inside me. I'm curious to see the percentage that do as opposed to don't.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Do you get nervous before or during a show? Just curious. I don't, never did, can't relate. Sometimes I wonder if something is missing inside me. I'm curious to see the percentage that do as opposed to don't.
I used to. Now, when they call Sir Phillip Wumpus to the stage, it ain't no thang no mo'...
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I was talking to an arborist friend, who is always doing hairy climbs to work on trees, and he says he is always nervous before a climb-- he's done it thousands of times. He thinks it's a good thing, and a little fear keeps you on your toes.

I do get nervous, but weirdly more about just schlepping and getting to the gig-- once I'm on the site with my drums set up and my car parked I'm fine. I do get antsy if I do have to hang through someone else's performance.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Good point Todd, I do get a little on edge to get set up on time, as there's never a second to spare or relax it seems. I try to never ever be the holdup on anything. But I've never gotten nervous about playing, usually it's more like I can't wait to get up there.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I used to when I wasn't as confident in my groove. Not anymore though. Not at all. These days I have total disregard for the audience. I can be playing for a couple muso friends or hundreds of people (not that I have, but in theory), I'm pretty chill nowadays because I just don't really give a crap anymore what people think. I know I like the applause and whatever compliments come my way, so therein lies the motivation to play well and artistically.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Thinking about it, when I do a solo, some self consciousness creeps in, as I don't prefer being in the lone spotlight, but I am aware of it, and attempting to alter my attitude to a type of "damn the torpedos" mindset and just let it all hang out during solos more and more. I've definitely made some progress in that area, but there's still a long way to go.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I get a little nervous before gigs. Always have, probably always will. Once I start playing, there are no nerves. Although, once in a while, I'll get self-conscious in the middle of a tune for no apparent reason. It's just a matter of riding it out until I start feeling it again. I don't know why that happens, but I read Steve Jordan say the same thing, so I guess I'm in good company.

One thing that helps me feel relaxed is preparation. If I don't have time to prepare, I can get nervous. Last week, I subbed for a drummer in another band and we had very little rehearsal time. I never really learned their special stops and fake endings, so I was preoccupied during the show. I nailed some and I missed some, but the music felt good, so everyone was happy.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I did my first gig, the 2nd drummer, the "Jaimoe" component, of an Allman Brothers tribute band 4 days ago, with no rehearsal. I'm pretty confident in my listening and watching ability while playing, all I did was look and listen and react. Never having played most of tunes before, I wasn't apprehensive at all. I really should have been, but I think that part of me got fried in my experimental teen years lol. I did know the songs from listening to them most of my life, and the guys in the band kept the exact arrangements, so that made it much easier. But most songs were the first time I ever attempted them. It turned out wonderfully. I just go with my ears and eyes. That's always served me well.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Thinking about it, when I do a solo, some self consciousness creeps in, as I don't prefer being in the lone spotlight, but I am aware of it, and attempting to alter my attitude to a type of "damn the torpedos" mindset and just let it all hang out during solos more and more.
You have to throw down in whatever way you're able. This is sort of related, I guess: a line of Bukowski I always remember-- after he felt himself to be revealed to a fan as being not that great after all, went something like "Oh well, no man can hide forever." Like, OK, if I expose myself as a fraud, so be it-- that's the reality, then. I feel that way to some extent about both my playing and my writing. But you can't live in fear of people finding out you're a fool.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'm starting to learn...instead of fearing it, embrace it, own it. If I try and fail, I try not to cower down. Instead I own it, admit it, laugh at it and never let on that I'm mortified lol.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
But you can't live in fear of people finding out you're a fool.
Very well said Todd, and how so true a statement...

I'm relax before a gig, generally, it's at the last second that the nerves comes in, and normally last the first couple of songs, it always has been that way, no matter how "prepared" or how much you put your mind into it, your natural little fears surfaces everytime, it generally goes after the first couple songs, I might have some aprehension before a song that I know would be challenging for what ever reasons during the gig, but it's a different feeling, it's the fear of messing it up, not the fear of coming up on stage. But it's not a bad feeling I guess, if anything, it's better than being overconfident, it keeps you alert, on your toes, conscious of what you're about to play in front of an audience.
 

?uesto

Silver Member
I've never been a performer at all until becoming a musician, and I was always incredibly shy and timid and nervous to make any kind of presentation or anything like that in class.

I can say though, that since I've started playing publicly and gigging and working in sales, my confidence has gone way up and my nerves have gone way down. Every gig I play, I get progressively less nervous (with the exception of last night, (full house at a restaurant/bar in Downtown Delray where we didn't know most of the people in attendance)).

There's always some nerves before going on stage, but we form our set-list, not just around what sounds good in what order, but what to start with sometimes to get the nerves and the kinks out. Usually an easier, slower tune that we've been doing since we started playing together. It's a great plan for diminishing the nerves.

Although last night, for some reason, I was more nervous throughout the whole show than I usually am. I was a little tense. Maybe I should have had a beer or two before hand.. But I think it also had to do with it being a tiny venue and not being able to really let loose and open up and hit hard, the fact that I was in a corner with bricks on one side of me, glass on the other, and a nine-foot ceiling (couldn't hear a thing besides muffled rhythm guitar) and the place is an old house so AC is not exactly "modern." I was sweating something else...

Being in a comfortable environment, knowing the material, being comfortable with [or not caring about] the crowd, playing equipment that you know will work and sound good, and not having much stress prior to playing, whether it relates to the gig or not, are all things that will help with your comfort on stage and help take away the nerves, I've found.

Hope some of that helps.. (For those who wanted to hear it)
 

Daisy

Senior Member
Until a couple of months ago, I have been nervous of everything, my whole life. |'ve sat here in this room actually crying before leaving for a gig with my previous band. And the nerves crippled me the entire gig.

I am now a happy graduate of the larryace "get a grip" programme.

In the past couple of months I have played twice in public (subbing). The nerves have disappeared. I don't know where they've gone. Like something has been switched off in my brain.

I do feel now like "there's something missing inside me". It seems wrong to play with a "don't care" attitude. I mean - I care about doing the best I can, but don't care if anyone thinks it's crap. I don't feel people are judging me. And if they are, well ... I don't care! It seems to work - the band I subbed for asked me back a second time - so I'm going with the flow for now.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
When I was younger, and first few times I had to play in front of an audience, I had just beyond terrible nerves.

But after enough appearances in front of people, it quickly became no big deal.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Until a couple of months ago, I have been nervous of everything, my whole life. |'ve sat here in this room actually crying before leaving for a gig with my previous band. And the nerves crippled me the entire gig.

I am now a happy graduate of the larryace "get a grip" programme.

In the past couple of months I have played twice in public (subbing). The nerves have disappeared. I don't know where they've gone. Like something has been switched off in my brain.

I do feel now like "there's something missing inside me". It seems wrong to play with a "don't care" attitude. I mean - I care about doing the best I can, but don't care if anyone thinks it's crap. I don't feel people are judging me. And if they are, well ... I don't care! It seems to work - the band I subbed for asked me back a second time - so I'm going with the flow for now.
Wow. I actually helped someone? What is this strange feeling of fulfilment I am getting?
Daisy, thank you. You sound like your head is screwed on straight and you are taking things head on. Never let em see you flinch.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
I do feel now like "there's something missing inside me". It seems wrong to play with a "don't care" attitude. I mean - I care about doing the best I can, but don't care if anyone thinks it's crap. I don't feel people are judging me. And if they are, well ... I don't care! It seems to work - the band I subbed for asked me back a second time - so I'm going with the flow for now.
That's great! That's my attitude, too. Also, don't sweat the small stuff. So you dropped a stick? Grab another and get back on the groove...don't let anything rattle you.

I get an adrenaline rush which sometimes makes my tempos a little faster than I'd like, but I figure it could be worse...at least they stay steady through the songs. Never had that crippling fear that some peeps mention, though.
 
A

audiotech

Guest
I'm a perfectionist, so yea I worry about a lot of things from equipment failures to my own downfalls to circumstances beyond my control. I try to keep Murphy's law close by and compensate for it, lol. I'm the same way with engineering , photography or anything else I do. My parents use to always tell me that if I was going to do something, do it right.

Dennis
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
I definitely feel nerves......I wouldn't say I'm nervous or scared

but I feel something .......that's how you know you're alive as far as I'm concerned

I definitely feel a bit more anxious when playing to 50 people than when playing to 3 thousand

don't know why.....just happens that way
 

mikeyhanson

Silver Member
I'm with you, Larryace. I've always felt more comfortable than nervous, and pretty much excited to get onstage and get things going. Some people think that I should be nervous, but then I think that's just them projecting.
I play, I occasionally make mistakes, I flow through them, and the show is fun and successful [usually...theoretically...mostly]. I don't care about making mistakes. It happens. I like when I mess up a part, then someone will come up later and go, "dude, on that one part...that thing you did...is that new?" LOL
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I definitely feel nerves......I wouldn't say I'm nervous or scared

but I feel something .......that's how you know you're alive as far as I'm concerned

I definitely feel a bit more anxious when playing to 50 people than when playing to 3 thousand

don't know why.....just happens that way
This whole thing^.

What I feel is a certain and internal admonishment not to screw up, make it feel good, hit every change, and basically own it - essentially, playing to perfection. That's a lot of pressure, especially since I never feel that way at practice! I really don't care about screwing up at practice, especially during the song development phase. Those screw ups are usually the result of trying for something I've never heard or done in my little quest for the perfect part. As the song nears completion and the drum part settles in, I start going for mistake-free takes.

But then show day comes along and I'm like, "Do I really understand that song and know what I'm doing? What if we have a train wreck? Do we know this song well enough to get it back on the tracks?" That's where my nerves come from.

I also noticed when playing to larger crowds, the sea of faces all seem to blend into something that isn't scary (especially if I don't know any of them. I feel more anonymous that way), whereas in a club, I can see and make out every face, and chances are I know many of them. That's more troubling to me.
 
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