I am having problems playing in front of people got any tips to help

MntnMan62

Junior Member
Take a few tokes of the real thing, not vapes. Just kidding. You obviously suffer from acute anxiety when performing in public. One way to get over it is to just play more in public with the idea that you will eventually realize that there is nothing to worry about. Although that may not work. Another approach is to get some counseling for your anxiety. I too suffer from pretty severe anxiety when performing in public. My hands would shake and I was tense instead of being loose as you need to be when playing the drums. I just did it and worked through it. Everything worked out fine. You need to realize that anyone listening to you would likely have no idea if you screwed up anyway. Only you would know. Therefore there is nothing to be anxious about. I just kept telling myself that.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Some questions:

Do you have anxiety or anything like that?

Are you in school still or is this for your own enjoyment?

Are you playing something rehearsed or off the top of your head?

Are you solo or with others?

Not trying to pry. Just looking for more info so maybe others with relatable experiences can help you work through this.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
When I used to rehearse in a garage, the back of the garage door had the Wembley-Live-Aid crowd postered on the back of it. Like rehearsing in front of 90,000 people when the door went down.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
The big change for me occurred when I finally realized that audiences are not there to judge us. In fact, except for the rare sociopath, audiences are pulling for us if they see us struggling. That alone is a real revelation to any of us who are shy at heart.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
A few things that help me. It's not something I experience anymore but I remember the early days.

1) Chew gum!
Quite a few big name artists like to chew gum on stage... It's especially easy for drummers like us, we don't have to sing and nobody is looking at our manners so closely. There's some mechanism from our evolution that essentially our brain thinks, hey, I'm eating/chewing stuff right now so I don't really need to be stressed out.

2) Be ready.
This, for me, was the big one. While gum or a beer can take a little edge off, I have the most nerves when I'm playing things I'm unsure about or where I think I might screw up and everyone there will see. When I'm dialed the hell in, been practicing every day and nailing my parts I'm about to play, the pressure is so much more inconsequential. I can go on auto-pilot once we kick off the first number and feel confident.

3) Meditate or focus.
This falls under that gray area category where it's possible I'm just convincing myself it has an effect. If I'm feeling anxious the day of a show, I take some time to sit by myself and focus on clearing my mind and not thinking of ANYTHING. Sometimes not easy, but I notice that afterwards, I'm more calm and less stressed.

4) Play "out" more.
One thing I started doing like 8 years ago was consistently attending a open-mic/open Jam at a local bar that happens each week. It's a relatively low-stress environment where you aren't judged as a "pro" or anything other than someone there to make music and have fun. Getting up there at least once a week keeps me in fighting shape and keeps me from getting too used to my own setup at home.
 

Derekq

Member
I tense up and cant move it is hard to breathe to I am playing snare
Hi m8 look some people just feel like that I have played small gigs and up to Marion square no different you will only see the first 1or 2 rows look you love playing drums just listen and look at your drums and the members of ya band trust me the people are looking at the guys at the front m8 just enjoy ya self it all comes together in time good luck m8 I know you will be fantastic Derek
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Oh boy this hits a nerve-for someone who blathers on and on like an idiot I'm actually pretty shy-least around people I don't know. I had been playing in my closet for about ten years when the opportunity arose at church to play. Now when asked I initially refused-heck no I'm not getting up in front of a thousand people and play. But once I started reflecting on it-while I had been playing for an audience of one in my closet why not play for an audience of one in front of a whole church. I did which opened the door for the orchestra, big band and jazz group which were all awesome experiences. Now sure I still get nervous before I play still but once I get on kit and the music starts it all melts away. Playing weekly at church really helped me to overcome those fears.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The hardest problems to solve are the ones we create all on our own, because we have to face all our crap..

No advice will take away the feelings you get. You are in sole control. So your personal solution must come from inside of you..

First realize that you alone...is the only thing standing in your way. Stop hamstringing yourself and get out of your own way. You need to realize what you're doing when you're doing it. It's kind of like stopping yourself from hitting your head with a hammer. Why would you want to hammer your head? The same no good reason that you are making yourself scared. It's all coming from your own fears, which you need to conquer to solve this issue. Nothing else will do. Stop being scared of self manufactured phantoms, stop being scared of anything. Fear is the enemy, destroy it quickly and completely with zero mercy. Reclaim your power. Fear...which is purely manufactured by you...took it. You took your own power with bad mental choices. You can give it back to yourself when you are ready to handle it. I hate to say it like this because it sounds insensitive...but it's time to man up in that area. Are you going to let a THOUGHT beat you? Sounds rediculous right? It is.

It's you and you alone who has the power to reverse this. You said you tense up. What is the opposite of tensing up? Maybe practice doing that when you are tense. You need a mental procedure to follow when this happens that will make you cease and desist in that area. You've GOT to stop yourself from harming yourself. That's what you're doing, self harm. Stop the self harm. Make a procedure to follow that will steer yourself away from going down that road.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
You said "I am playing snare". . . .is this even a gig situation? It sounds like a school thing? Man, when I was young and starting out, I would do the state music contests where you hauled your snare drum to a local high school, and then, you would perform in front of a table of JUDGES! They just stare at you like you're standing there naked. I hated it.

More and more and more time in the situation will make it easier. When you practice, have some friends and family, just stand in front of you and watch. It's simply something you have to get used to and work through.

Gigs or "band shows" are easier. The drummer is nearly ALWAYS behind everyone else. You can set up your equipment to hide behind if you feel the need to do so.

And Ghostin' one made a great point, be prepared! If you don't have a complete grasp on what you're playing, that alone will elevate the anxiety.

Hang in there!
 
You can devise a short routine to loose tension (deep breathing, lowering your shoulders and so on) and you can also play very quietly on your thighs or knees to get a good initial posture of the hands. That way you don't need to adjust your technique as much in the beginning of the piece when you don't want to be concerned with technical issues.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
Know the part inside and out and in your sleep.
Video yourself playing it and also play in front of a mirror.
At night before sleep imagine yourself playing the part in front of the audience as vividly as you can.
If a performance doesn’t go as well as you like, don’t sweat it but do take the time to mentally replay the performance the way you wanted it to go.
In your mental preparation take note of the feeling you want inside you when playing and interject that into your performance meditations.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Thank you I am in high school i have to play a solo
Commit that solo to memory. Practice it so much you are sick of it, you could do it in your sleep. You don't want to have to think about. It will make your life easier.

I have the same issue. If I'm just flying off the top of my head, I can't play anything in front of anyone, including my wife. But if it's a rehearsed piece it's totally different. It just comes out and happens because I'm not thinking, just doing.

Public speaking and performance isn't hard if you are prepared. If you aren't prepared, it can be incredibly scary and humiliating. Just be prepared and STOP THINKING. You will be fine.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Be ready. Know the material you're performing as best as you can.
Commit that solo to memory. Practice it so much you are sick of it, you could do it in your sleep. You don't want to have to think about. It will make your life easier.
...
Public speaking and performance isn't hard if you are prepared.
Exactly on both. Lack of confidence about parts & solos is the biggest factor in nerves and stagefright for musicians. I have no problem in front of crowds, except when I'm not confident about something. A part, the arrangement, nailing some 16th note kicks, or maybe a jam situation where I have to play a song I don't know, or play a song that I know I won't play like the original.

The key is, practice and prepare until you feel confident. Then, performing in front of an audience won't be so anxiety-provoking.

Bermuda
 
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