Your first time playing a show


Hi everyone! I would like to hear about your first time playing a show. Where was it? Were you nervous? Did everything go smoothly? How did you feel afterward? I'm playing my first show next month, so I don't have a story... at least not yet. = )


Pioneer Member
My first show, I was scared to death and played very mechanical. I made a few mistakes and dropped a stick or two. I had only been playing 4 or 5 months. And the drummer at my church quit, and I was suddenly the new drummer. I was 15, and had been jamming with my mom for 4 or 5 months and was used to playing with someone, (She played piano) but afterwards I was relieved and almost passed out from But I was there every week (3 times a week) for the next 6 years.


Gold Member
Well, can't say I really remember my first "show". I've been playing in Church most of my life. The biggest "show" or Gospel Singspiration was in Phonix AZ, over 16,000 in attendance. Yes, I was nervous but it went very well with no problems.

Here are my tips on shows:

Expect the worst as far as monitors and sound mix. KNOW YOUR MUSIC.

There is nothing more frustrating to be on a stage and not hear your lead instrument(s) and have a poor mix. Don't hesitate to kick the sound engineer until you have an acceptable mix in your monitors!

Be as confident in your abilities understanding your set.

Never stop playing, if your bass or guitar player gets lost, just keep the heartbeat, they will catch up. (hopefully).

I get nervous when I don't know the song(s) well enough to play them with confidence.

Yes, it is very typical to be nervous. But, knowing your music 100% from first note to last will help your confidence level.

Have fun and let us know how it all went down... :)


Senior Member
My first show was at a Japanese festival called Akimatsuri.

I wasn't on my kit either, I had to play on some crummy Vex kit that another band was using, and the foot pedal was so loose you would've thought I couldn't do double-bass work on it (it was a single pedal too). But fortunately I was the better one off in the group due to our guitarist's amp not being nearly big enough for the distortion.


Senior Member
First show was with the elementary school concert band... I don't remember it. Heh.

First show behind a kit was in 7th grade with the school jazz band. I forget what the actual event was, I think it might've just been an assembly during school? Anyway, I played, no memorable mistakes or anything, and it went good I think.

First show with a band outside of school was AWESOME. I don't know how we did it, but we had a huge turn out. It was a small basement (literally) that basically served as a "bar" for people under (and over) 21, and where local bands could play. Well, people were standing outside because there wasn't enough room inside.The show went... mediocre, but it was our first show as a band so whatever. At the time, we all loved it and thought we did fantastic, and that's all that matters anyway.

metal overlord

Gold Member
My first show was at a school telent show in 2nd grade.
I was on drums, and for some reason I had no fright at all. I felt overjoyed to go on stage and play for 600+ people, we did the song "Sin City" by AC/DC.
For a bunch of 2nd graders, we kicked ass. I knew what I was doing, and I felt confident. That just drove me to play.

And I still play gigs, and I love playing for people. I just love the feeling of running out on stage, it's just an incredible feeling to play for all those people, the anxiety, the adreliline, just feels so damn good.

I don't know why, but I just love it. I have/had no stage fright, if anything I overpower my band in presence. Me bouncing around behind the drums and getting the crowd pumped.

Its just so much fun.

Trust me, just know your stuff, if you mess up, don't try to play it again, keep going. If the guitar and peeps get lost, keep playing.
And just enjoy it.


After reading everyones postings, I remembered that I have played before... just not behind a kit. The first time was actually my kindergarten graduation. I played a solo of yankee doodle and some other song I can't think of on the piano. I actually messed up halfway through the song, but I just took a couple seconds, and kept right on playing. That moment is so clear in mind though, the whole place was completely silent. I think I heard crickets chirping, and I got really hot and flushed. Then later I played violin in the orchestra at school and sometimes at church. I think those were a little eaiser though because I was with so many other instruments. I know that I'm going to be sooo nervous before our first show, so I just keep trying to practice the songs over and over so that I don't even have to think about it. Hopefully all will go well and there won't be any akward silences. = )


Platinum Member
Your first time playing will be cake, but let me share why we need to heed the words of nodiggie...

I was 17, and a guitarist and bassist asked me to play drums for the talent show. I agreed and asked for a copy of the song, but they didn't have one picked out yet. They ended up picking it out at the last minute..."All Along the Watchtower". That wouldn't be bad at all, but I was a very green player (less than 6 months) and I'd never given Jimi Hendrix a listen. I played the gig with only two run-throughs of the song under my belt. I thought I did a great job...we didn't crash and burn, and I held a beat the whole time. Success!

Fast forward about 3 months...this girl that I was interested in introduces me to her father before we go out for the first time. He says that I look familiar, "Were you at the talent show?" I said that I was, proudly, and that I played drums on the Hendrix tune. His brows furrow as he looks at me in disbelief and shock. Evidently, he was a HUGE Hendrix fan, and had a disgust for "that drummer who butchered the song" brewing in the depths of his very soul for months now. She assured me that her dad had nothing to do with us not dating a second time, but I have my conspiracy theories...


Platinum Member
I participated in a pop/jazz music retreat in 2004. It was a week-long stretch of intense studying and practicing (eight hours a day behind a kit... for a week...). I had played the drums for a bit over a year at that point and had very little band experience, so that was a huge kick in the derriere for me.

The retreat culminated in a big show. The participants were divided into smaller bands at the beginning of the week, and each band rehearsed a song -- ours was 'Long Train Running' by the Doobie Brothers. The venue was an old barn, updated with a nice stage with a good PA, monitors, lights, smoke and the whole shebang.

So, we walked the plank, one band after another, and while I was anxious to get on stage, I wasn't one bit nervous. Despite my lack of experience I knew we had the song down, and afterwards I knew I had to have more of the same...

The retreat was a huge turning point in my life. I had studied Finnish language and literature at a university for two years before realising my true love for music. Breathing, eating and living music 24/7 was very tough but at the same time very gratifying. It felt right, so I kept going with it.

And it still feels right.


Pioneer Member
I was 14 and in a band with some older kids. Somehow we got booked to open on the main stage of a festival in Perry Michigan. Looking back on this now it’s hilarious but at the time I was sure that I was going to die. We spent the early part of the afternoon walking around, skateboarding, smoking cigarettes and generally being mischievous kids. The rest of the band was 16-17 years old, so I was kind of like the little brother of the group. When it was time for us to get on stage I was nervous. There were maybe a hundred people milling around. We were playing on one end of the main street which had been blocked off. I was less nervous about playing than I was about the behavior of my bandmates. They were smoking on stage. I clearly remember the bass player saying “hey kids smoke, its good for you”. Again, this is hilarious now, but at the time it was just blatantly antagonistic and did nothing to endear us to the townsfolk. We played probably five to eight songs. By the end, our on stage antics had drawn the ire of most of the audience. We were roundly booed, and as we left the stage a small crowd had gathered to “meet” us at the bottom. Again, I was fourteen and though I still didn’t know what it meant, I was a pacifist. My bandmates were not. To make a long story short, we were followed to our car and it became clear that someone was going to pay for our blatant irreverence. Finally, by some act of god, the police came and escorted us out of town. We were not invited back…

I’m 28 and happy to say I’ve still never been in a real fight.


Platinum Member
I was 14 and in a band with some older kids. Somehow we got booked to open on the main stage of a festival in Perry Michigan.
Garvin, I grew up in a town just minutes away from Perry, MI -- small world sometimes, eh?



Senior Member
My first show was 2 years ago, I was 13 or 14 and I had been playing drums for like 6 months.
I was really nervous before we played. I was not playing on my own kit but it was the same type (Pearl Forum). We played three songs and afterwards I wanted to just get back on stage and bang those drum some more! I always get a good feeling after a show.

Class A Drummer

Pioneer Member
First time was in 4th grade for our schools band performance. Pretty boring stuff. I dont remember it too cleary, but it was... basic.


Platinum Member
First time jammin was when I set in with my dad's band at the Sailmaker lounge in Pontiac I was 7 years old at the time we did "Johnny B Goode" and "Tulsa Time" i'll never forget it and I remember my left leg shakin' so much my hi-hat was opening when I didn't. want it too LOL.that's one thing about dad he got me over my stagefright at a young age.thanks for bringing back a good memory.

Keep Swattin'


Junior Member
First gig I ever played I think was at a block party sort of thing. I'd only been playing like 3 or 4 months and I was 13 I think. I didn't do much of anything other than a couple simple rock beats and we only played a 5 song set because there were so many other bands there too, but I do remember that I was singing while playing which was really cool even if it did take away from my playing itself. It was awesome because we were basically right out on the street in front of store and it was pretty busy. It was a pretty great experience for a first gig even if I was freaking out before we went on.


My first time playing in front of real people was not on drums. I played trumpet in the 4th grade band and we played at a local high school football game as part of the pregame show they had. I was too young to know to be nervous. I stayed in band through my junior year in high school and played many more times. I played guitar in a couple small time garage bands and we had played at parties and such but that's about it. I always had a blast playing for people. I am currently playing drums in a band with my brother and hopefully soon we will be playing tight enough together to try to entertain some people!

My advice: HAVE FUN with it!


Let me ask you guys this question... Would you be more nervous while playing a show if you knew there was another drummer in the audience listening to you? I think there are going to be two at mine, and I'm afraid I might try too hard to play perfectly because I know that they will be able to tell if I mess up.


Senior Member
Let me ask you guys this question... Would you be more nervous while playing a show if you knew there was another drummer in the audience listening to you? I think there are going to be two at mine, and I'm afraid I might try too hard to play perfectly because I know that they will be able to tell if I mess up.
Aren't there always other drummers listening? That's what I plant in my mind whenever I play in front of people. Sounds strange but if I think that then I don't think about it so much. I also like to think that the other drummers out there would be someone I could relate to as well, not necessarily be in competition with. Everyone messes up sometimes right? Plus, they would be the only other person in the room who knows what it's like to sit where I'm sitting.