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  #1  
Old 03-17-2017, 04:46 PM
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Default Stage Fright

Anyone suffer from this?

How do you deal?
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

Breathe.

The biggest thing I don't do when I get nervous is I forget to breathe right. I hold my breath, concentrate too much on the playing and everything suffers.

When you concentrate on breathing instead, you relax, get more oxygen to your brain and muscles and get to think about something other than potentially screwing up or how there's a big name drummer on the bill with you, and he's probably watching you right now from stage left dissecting every movement you make and mentally questioning your questionable excuse for technique... Well, you get the picture.
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:59 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I only have an occasional issue if I'm not confident about the parts I'm going to play, but I suspect that's simple nervousness. Combatting that is just a case of making sure I'm comfortable with my parts through preparation.

As for actual stage fright, I've never had it, and I'm not sure why. I'm fine in front of 10 people, or 10,000, or knowing that millions will see me on TV. I'll guess that being confident prevents it from being an issue, because I'm normally prepared to play my best.

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Old 03-17-2017, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

Like Dr. Watso, breathing "intentionally", and also focusing as much as possible on the other instruments and vocals... Getting caught up in the song and not the crowd. It was the music that got me onstage, let it be the music that keeps me (focused) on stage...
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:08 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

Denial gets me through.
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

Almost never anymore.

An exception did happen last fall, though. I took a gig with a touring musician from Australia who was a finalist on a TV show called Australia's Got Talent. We played two shows on back-to-back nights; one near Chicago and another in rural Michigan. We had about a week to learn a set list and then one rehearsal and that was it. I wrote charts for all the songs he had online, so I at least felt prepared. A friend who plays bass, me and the artist loaded our stuff into a van and spent a weekend on the road.

The artist was the headliner for the Michigan show, but the first night we opened for BoDeans. The thing that got in my head was when he told me he was looking forward to reconnecting with the BoDeans' drummer, whom he had worked with in the past: Kenny Aronoff.

Once I found out I'd be sharing a stage with Kenny, I got a little freaked. Got to meet him and he's a super-nice guy. INCREDIBLE energy. I can't even describe it. But when I was tuning my drums and he was behind me tuning his... for a guy like me, that was kind of surreal and I was starstruck. Then, during soundcheck, the artist wanted to change a bunch of parts. He's listing them off faster than I can write them down.

Long story short, we did it. Got through the set and the audience seemed to love it. But I was gritting my teeth the whole time. Just relying on muscle memory and my charts to survive it. It was a bit overwhelming, especially hanging with Kenny and BoDeans in the green room trying to eat (no appetite, afraid of throwing up). It wasn't my best playing, and I'd go back and change a lot. But we found a way.

The next night in Michigan, the nerves were gone. But that night, it felt like the first time I got on a stage and played drums for an audience all over again.
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I never had it, part of which I attribute to my parents encouraging me into public speaking as a kid. Now I teach it at college.

Stage fright, or performance anxiety, is one of the most common phobias known, especially when applied to public speaking. I think that musical performance can be fairly equated with public speaking because of the emotional content and the feeling of vulnerability.

One of my class texts is Speak With Courage by Martin McDermott (ISBN 978-1-4576-3834-3). It is chock full of strategies and thinking points meant to reduce performance anxiety. I found myself on the initial readthrough to find many of them applicable to musical performance as well.

One of the most important points I go through with my students is that although a large component of stage fright is fear of failing or making mistakes, you can easily overcome that fear with practicing, and by remembering that nobody came to your speech (or performance) wanting you to fail or do a bad job.

Obviously bashing bands and musicians is pretty common ("That drummer really sucked, man"), but nobody comes out to the show with a predetermined attitude to dislike you or be on your case. We've had several threads here about the gigs we thought we did horribly at, only to get some of our most effusive praise. That in itself should be a clue as to how overly self-critical we can be, which feeds into stage fright.
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:49 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I think a healthy bit of nervousness is good, it keeps us on edge and focused………

That being said, when I have felt nervous or had anything close to stage fright was when I wasn’t really comfortable with the parts or the songs etc, like Bermuda mentioned.

Breathing is huge……when I am uptight about a section or song, that is the first sign I’m tightening up……I need a relaxed body to be in the “groove” and being all stiff etc. sucks

I used to feel a lot of pressure when I was in wedding bands during the key songs…..first dance, father daughter etc. as you don’t want to be the guy that effs that moment up right? Plus you know it would be relived for eternity on video etc. Now that I think about it, those were the times I was most at risk to turd myself…….after we got through those, we just jammed loosely
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

Knock on imitation simulated wood paneling, I've never had it playing drums, whether in front of 5 or 25000 people.

Now on guitar, it's a total different story. I went to a guitar gathering a couple of times where players gathered from all around the country. There were beginning hacks like me up to touring professionals. In the song circles, I was fine. I could watch many of these guys and keep up. When it came my turn for a solo performance on stage, I thought I was ready. I started off well, then missed a string, and totally froze. My mind went totally blank. Embarassed as #@!!, I slinked off stage and looked for a place to hide. All of these guys were really supportive, and I've learned a lot since then, but I still can't get up on stage with a guitar in my hand.

Shook me up so bad, the next day I wrote my first song about it.
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  #10  
Old 03-17-2017, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

https://youtu.be/ZIfKkV77lqM
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  #11  
Old 03-17-2017, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I used to compete at dressage, and nothing compares to the terrifyingness of that. It's just you, sitting on half a tonne of potential death or serious injury, being judged both officially and unofficially, against criteria that are both technical and subjective, with absolutely nobody to bail you out and nobody else to blame. On the plus side, you get one hell of an adrenaline rush!

I rarely get stage fright when I play drums, but when I do I have two strategies, both of which involve self-deception. In the first place I make myself smile (the last time, a few weeks ago at my most important gig to date, one of my chickens had just laid her first-ever egg, greeny-blue in colour, and I was so chuffed to bits I couldn't help grinning every time I thought about it); in the second place, I make myself play with conviction. This then gives me genuine confidence, which makes me play better, which makes me smile, which makes me play with more confidence ... it's all good. And of course I have the safety net of my bandmates, which is a great feeling.
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I used to have major stage fright issues. Mostly came from lack of self confidence and having been bullied a lot when I was younger. I had a bad stutter and was rather short, one of the worst combinations.

Back in high school I was in concert and pep band, was nervous and scared, but I did like playing.

As an adult I started a band and a lot of those insecurities resurfaced. My solution, get lost in the music. Practice until you know the music in your sleep. If I get nervous I usually avoid eye contact with the crowd and it passes pretty quickly. Stage lighting also helps as it obscures your view of the audience. After 100+ shows with two bands (mostly bar shows) It rarely bothers. In fact I have played in front of 500+ people with no issues, but in a smaller setting with people I know I'll get nervous.
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  #13  
Old 03-17-2017, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I don't get stage fright, never have. On the contrary, I feel more at home there than anywhere else. But I try to avoid looking into people's eyes while I play because it robs from my flow. If I know someone is checking me out, it stirs my ego, and I lose the flow in my head for 1 second because my brainpower got diverted to my ego instead of sticking to the music.. I hate that! I purposely look above everyone and try to not pay attention to anyone staring at me. It works most of the time.
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Old 03-17-2017, 09:30 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

Try not to think too much. Just feel the music, pretend youre at a practice session and let it flow thru you
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  #15  
Old 03-17-2017, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I don'r have Stage Fright, but you know what gets me a little nervous is when the guitar player or bass player walks really close to me, looks straight at me and wants to jam with me during a song. It make me feel like I need to do something extra that I'm not doing at the time, so I might try something extra and then flub it. So, after flubbing it a few times, now it makes me nervous. I just keep it steady now, and in the pocket.
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Old 03-17-2017, 09:54 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

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Originally Posted by Judge View Post
...let it flow thru you
I like that metaphor, like just make yourself available to the energy/groove that's there for the taking. Find a point of entry and then just let it happen. And though it gets said a lot, "let the music play itself" is another idea I find useful.
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  #17  
Old 03-17-2017, 09:55 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

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Originally Posted by Midnite Zephyr View Post
I don'r have Stage Fright, but you know what gets me a little nervous is when the guitar player or bass player walks really close to me, looks straight at me and wants to jam with me during a song. It make me feel like I need to do something extra that I'm not doing at the time, so I might try something extra and then flub it. So, after flubbing it a few times, now it makes me nervous. I just keep it steady now, and in the pocket.
I totally relate to this. You don't have to do anything extra, maybe just smile.

BTW, just last night I had a dream and you were in it, playing drums. Not sure where.
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Old 03-17-2017, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I don't get stage fright, never have. On the contrary, I feel more at home there than anywhere else.
I've seen you write this kind of thing before Larry so I was surprised to see you start this thread. So now I'm curious, what gotcha thinkin' bout this?
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Old 03-17-2017, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

Quote:
Originally Posted by spleeeeen View Post
I've seen you write this kind of thing before Larry so I was surprised to see you start this thread. So now I'm curious, what gotcha thinkin' bout this?
A Dave Weckyl interview where he talks about stage fright happening to him....before he goes onstage. Once he's there, everything is fine.

It struck me how a drummer of his level still has to deal with it.

I'm curious as to how pervasive it is.
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Old 03-17-2017, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I do remember having stage fright or nervousness before orchestra performances as a kid. I don't get it at all anymore. I have nervous energy the day of a gig but I forget about it completely and when we start to play it feels so natural. Now for tryouts, ya big time, maybe that is just nervousness, not sure. I have only ever had one tryout that I feel I played to my ability. Every other one I feel like I just didn't do my best because of nerves.

I do all that need to be done to play drums in a band in order to get to the live performance. See my signature below.
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Old 03-17-2017, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I totally relate to this. You don't have to do anything extra, maybe just smile.

BTW, just last night I had a dream and you were in it, playing drums. Not sure where.
Lol. I'm just glad I was playing drums. :)
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Old 03-18-2017, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

8mile - The Kenny Aranoff story is a great example, and I can relate. The only gigs where I feel uncomfortable at are the ones where I know professional drummers are watching.
Drums are my second instrument, my uni degree is in trombone. I've played thousands of gigs on drums over the years. Everything's great until I see a muso in the audience who knows me as a trombonist. Then I feel like a fraud and like I have to prove myself.
Just a little, just enough to make me overplay a bit, or try too hard instead of relaxing.

Young tennis players must get this feeling when they have to play against one of their idols.
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Old 03-18-2017, 02:25 AM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I stopped getting it in high school around my senior year.

Just went away when my confidence level sky rocketed. Funny how that works.
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Old 03-18-2017, 05:40 AM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

Nope. I have developed an anxiety disorder over the past two years, though, so THAT'S something I'm learning to manage. But, nervous about playing or being in front of an audience? Nah...
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Old 03-18-2017, 10:10 AM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

Quote:
Originally Posted by uhtrinity View Post
I usually avoid eye contact with the crowd
Me too, I take my glasses off so I can't see anybody. Not sure I'd ever use the word "crowd" in my situation though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by uhtrinity View Post
in a smaller setting with people I know I'll get nervous.
I hate playing in front of people I know, especially if they're musicians.
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Old 03-18-2017, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I did used to get nervous before a gig years back but someone told me the story about nervous energy and excited energy being the same thing but interpreted differently by the brain.

Don't know how true that is but after I would tell myself to be excited rather than nervous. After all what's the worst that can happen if you/the band makes mistakes.

Most the audience never realise anyway so I don't feel affected by nerves a great deal anymore. It's still there sometimes depending on the gig/how well I know the material but I try not to focus on it and turn any negative energy into a positive.
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Old 03-19-2017, 03:41 AM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I don't get stage fright, even when filling in, but I do have a weird nervousness prior to me leaving the house. Once on the road, I'm good. It's odd.

Probably coincides with my occasional strange dreams about missing a gig or some strange calamity prior to the gig. Like not being able to find the bathroom hahah But that could be another issue.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

Its good to be nervous, it sharpens you up and makes you play better.
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  #29  
Old 03-20-2017, 12:50 AM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

beer....is there anything it can't do??
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:01 AM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

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beer....is there anything it can't do??
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

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  #31  
Old 03-20-2017, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I have been to one of Marks clinics and listened to him discuss this very topic. If it really is an issue you may want to check out his book. The guy is for real.

http://markschulman.com/the-author/
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

The only time I get really nervous is when I'm not familiar with the material.

To avoid this, I always make sure and know my stuff.
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:54 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

Here's the thing, if I make a mistake, it makes me laugh. There is no reason to hang my head in shame, or make any of those detrimental reactions. It's music! No one gets hurt. Stage fright is an obstacle we manufacture. If you think everyone is looking at you, and watching every move...that's a little narcissistic. Stop that and get outside of your own thoughts. Focus on a different person. Exhibiting stage fright...the audience doesn't want to see that.

I say lighten up Francis and treat any mishaps with a smile. It's bad enough that the mistake happened. Let's not make it worse by acknowledging it negatively. Laugh it off. We are lucky we get to do that. I can't laugh off any electrical mistakes, they're not funny. Viewed from that perspective, stage fright is pretty benign. But still it is a real thing. It's one of those things where a drummer can mentally hamstring themselves if they allow stage fright to overtake them. I see it as an obstacle to be overcome.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

Fright, never.

But I've felt some degree of nervous energy every single time I've ever got up to play. It's gone by the 3 bar of the first song, but I've always felt them nonetheless. I'm assuming I always will.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

Larry Ace :

If you think everyone is looking at you, and watching every move...that's a little narcissistic.

Funny you mention this. One of the things Mark Schulman said during his talk was that stage fright is a selfish thing. You worrying about you and not the group. Very insightful Uncle.
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Here's the thing, if I make a mistake, it makes me laugh. There is no reason to hang my head in shame, or make any of those detrimental reactions. It's music! No one gets hurt.
About 3 weeks ago, I was playing with some new guys. During one song, I dropped a drumstick...twice! I just grabbed another and kept going. Nobody else noticed until I bent to recover my sticks after the song was over. I didn't laugh, but I didn't get flustered by it either.

It's kinda like the 3 rules in a chemistry lab:

1) Don't Panic!
2) DON'T Panic!!
3) DON'T PANIC!!!
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:57 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I've been a banker for 25 years and I still get anxiety something awful when I have to do (internal) presentations, I'm fine leading client calls but for some reason the meetings with the other bankers eat me up, I guess cuz I know how ruthless they are ha ha, they ARE looking for any failure, weakness, lack of insight....

But, get me on a set of drums and not a whisper of nervousness, doesn't matter how many people are watching. I guess that tells me where my heart is huh,
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

I don't. I'm a little nervous before gigs. Especially when I see other bands and musicians and worry about how good they sound when they're messing individually on their instruments and occasionally when they play (although there is a lot of dross out there).

I believe I'm a good drummer. I never used to. But I'm becoming fairly accustomed to being told this by other musos, sound engineers, and audience members. Which is nice. And it's given me confidence to know, these days, that I can hold my own.

But more importantly, we're a damn tight band as well which always seem to be well received. So even when I'm nervous I internally kick myself and say to myself "stop being an idiot...why's this gig gonna be any different than the last few....knob".

I'm very in tune with Larry below. When I make an error (I make lots) I can easily sit heaving in laughter whilst playing. We're a nice band to be in in this regard. We just chuckle at each other's ineptitude. It's pretty cool.
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:18 AM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Larry Ace :

If you think everyone is looking at you, and watching every move...that's a little narcissistic.

Funny you mention this. One of the things Mark Schulman said during his talk was that stage fright is a selfish thing. You worrying about you and not the group. Very insightful Uncle.
Marc's book is a terrific read n the topic of stage fright. I have suffered from panic attacks - usually with a small crowd where I feel like everyone is focusing on every thing we are playing. Marc's book has been helpful in deal Not with this issue. It definitely helped me.
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Old 03-21-2017, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: Stage Fright

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
A Dave Weckyl interview where he talks about stage fright happening to him....before he goes onstage. Once he's there, everything is fine.

It struck me how a drummer of his level still has to deal with it.

I'm curious as to how pervasive it is.
Ah, thanks for thickening the storyline a bit. Seems I remember reading something similar, maybe in a Drumhead magazine interview?

I don't know that I experience what I would call "stage fright" but unfortunately, pervasive anxiety has been a lifelong companion for me. Likely genetic to some degree and definitely exacerbated by trauma as a kid. HUGE issue for me as it can (and has) interfere(d) significantly with time, feel, groove, flow, all the things that are most important with this instrument.

I had a particularly devastating experience with it on the bandstand my first semester of college. Big name players, last-minute scramble to pull together a kit when the drums and cymbals that were supposed to be available to me weren't, 18-year-old me with no skills for coping = disaster = reputation around school as someone to avoid playing with. Ugh. Still feel sick thinking about it.
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