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Musicians.....share your "live playing" experiences and advice.

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CX

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 05:15 PM
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Hi all


I know there are many musicians here on ATS, so i thought i'd ask some advice, and maybe pick up some tips from your experience if i may?

My music background is minimal to say the least, but i love it. Enjoy singing, i'm ok i guess, can hold a tune, and last year i started learning the acoustic guitar. So thats me sorted for entertaining myself.


However i seem to have hit an obstacle. Playing to an audience. I try and encourage my kids to have the confidence to play in front of people when they can, and they have done this. However i get this kind of mental block when i even think about it. I have been asked to play at a local cafe in the past, just very informal stuff in a relaxed atmosphere, but i made excuses every time.

The furthest i've got is playing quietly in the background, just the guitar, no singing.


At first i thought it was the fact that i was making a few mistakes with the music, but whether it was remembering the chords or lyrics, i discovered that this is easily remedied by lots of practice until you know your material without thinking.

Part of me is very conscious that others are far better than me on guitar, so i think theres no point in me bothering to play in front of other musicians. Now i know in my head that is silly, theres always someone out there better than you eh?

Anything else in life doesn't phase me, but sitting in front of a few people with a guitar and a song....petrifies me lol.
I know i don't have to play for anyone, but i think i really would like to give it a go. I'm not one of these musicians with a huge ego, in fact i'm totally the opposite, but i do like the idea of sharing what i've learnt.

So fellow musicians......any advice for someone who wants to give this a go? How did you start? Is nerves something that is still a factor for you?

Thanks for any advice.

CX.




posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 05:28 PM
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Hey, glad to hear you are enjoying the world of music.

My advice for playing in front of people, comes from my own personal experience.

I learned guitar on the street, over the span of five years. I played for change and of course because I loved it. But almost all of my learning process occurred in front of other people.

My suggestion for you, take your guitar and some lyrics of choice, and go find yourself a nice coffee shop with some good outdoor seating. Just set up shop and start practicing in front of other people. (Practice is performance, there is no difference. Even if you are on stage, you're learning from your instrument)

I saw little difference to jumping up on stage to jamming out in front of a square full of people. But wouldn't have if I had started out playing on stage.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 05:30 PM
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Originally posted by CX
Hi all


I know there are many musicians here on ATS, so i thought i'd ask some advice, and maybe pick up some tips from your experience if i may?

My music background is minimal to say the least, but i love it. Enjoy singing, i'm ok i guess, can hold a tune, and last year i started learning the acoustic guitar. So thats me sorted for entertaining myself.


However i seem to have hit an obstacle. Playing to an audience. I try and encourage my kids to have the confidence to play in front of people when they can, and they have done this. However i get this kind of mental block when i even think about it. I have been asked to play at a local cafe in the past, just very informal stuff in a relaxed atmosphere, but i made excuses every time.

The furthest i've got is playing quietly in the background, just the guitar, no singing.


At first i thought it was the fact that i was making a few mistakes with the music, but whether it was remembering the chords or lyrics, i discovered that this is easily remedied by lots of practice until you know your material without thinking.

Part of me is very conscious that others are far better than me on guitar, so i think theres no point in me bothering to play in front of other musicians. Now i know in my head that is silly, theres always someone out there better than you eh?

Anything else in life doesn't phase me, but sitting in front of a few people with a guitar and a song....petrifies me lol.
I know i don't have to play for anyone, but i think i really would like to give it a go. I'm not one of these musicians with a huge ego, in fact i'm totally the opposite, but i do like the idea of sharing what i've learnt.

So fellow musicians......any advice for someone who wants to give this a go? How did you start? Is nerves something that is still a factor for you?

Thanks for any advice.

CX.


Been there for sure. My only advice is to get on stage. It will suck for awhile, and you might be really awkward, but you will get more comfortable with the idea of just getting on stage. Once you do that, you can find little tricks to relax yourself so you can just focus on enjoying the experience of playing the music itself. Some people are born entertainers, and it's entertaining people that gets them off. Others are more pure musicians, and it's more about enjoying the music than anything else (you sound like the latter, as I was). For the latter, it's more difficult to be comfortable on stage for sure.

I'm not sure what kind of venues you play, or if you play live a lot, but one thing that I found that worked for me was bright stage lights. If I couldn't see the audience I'd just pretend they weren't there and try and think of it as just another jam. Doesn't work so well if you are playing a festival during the day or something.

Could also try to have a drink or two to take the edge off (and not over do it), but that's not really a long term solution. Try and find something you can focus on completely to the point where you can convince your mind the crowd isn't even there. Be it your musical relationship with another musician, a particular person in the crowd you are comfortable playing in front of (pretend they are the only one there), etc.

I don't have a ton of experience playing live, but what experiences I did have were terrifying and I had to find ways to convince myself the crowd wasn't there and I'd calm down. Can definitely relate!
edit on 11-1-2013 by DeadSeraph because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 05:30 PM
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reply to post by CX
 


Practice practice practice! I know what you mean when you say "Why should I bother when theres so many others that are better out there?" Well the fact of the matter is they practiced alot! And age doesnt matter, sure some guys start at a young age, some in late teens, some in their 40s+, age is only a limitation people put on themselves as many great musicians have started from all sorts of ages. The real key is the passion and dedication to see it through.

Im no singer, but I play guitar and bass and have played live before. I would recommend buying a cheap mic, or even a webcam, and just recording yourself. Listen back, figure out what sounds off or could be improved, and work at it! If youre covering a song and its just not working out, pick a different one. Or perhaps, if you are musically capable, change the song to a different key so that your voice sounds better if the song is too high or low for you personally. Playing a song exactly as its written is way overrated, even the pros switch it up all the time.

Lastly, as im in a hurry but as a musician I wanted to talk a few minutes to post this, remember to stretch before you play as it does help alot to loosen up, breathing is very important whether you are soloing guitar or singing. Learn to sing guitar melodies and learn to play voice melodies. And once again, dont give up! I have SEVERAL friends who started singing 5-10 years ago and they were okay at best. But they kept going, they changed styles over time, and now, especially my one buddy Chris who is a guitar player/singer, sounds great! He plays at open mics and everytime he plays new song when he comes over im blown away! Just dont get discouraged by your performance or those around, if you want to do it, especially with music, practice will pay off.
Goodluck!
edit on 11-1-2013 by tehdouglas because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 05:34 PM
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Hey! So I had similar issues when I started learning to play the drums at 15, it seems a long time ago now lol. Anyway, I found that playing to family and friends helps and ask for their thoughts, a little encouragement goes a long way and once you gain confidence then it's easier to lose yourself in the music.

What you said here stuck ou though...



Part of me is very conscious that others are far better than me on guitar, so i think theres no point in me bothering to play in front of other musicians.


You know, if said musicians are really interested in music then they will want to listen to someone else play at anytime of the day, and hey, they may just learn something from you, music isn't all about technique you know



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 05:43 PM
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Back in the late 80's and through the 90's I used to play bass in a punk band.
We were so bad that during one of our first pub gigs the bar staff threw ice cubes at us.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 05:51 PM
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I've had the same kind of stage fright, when I first started busking it was deliberately to try and overcome social phobias and nerves. For a really long time I didn't have confidence in my voice and was so terrified that I too, could only play quietly without singing. Doing it every day for a while and getting constant compliments from the public (as well as a small financial reward for doing guitar practice) was freat for my self esteem. Over time I started singing and the more I sang -the better my singing was - the more confidence, I still have nerves when I sing but I feel rewarded by peoples responses to my music. I really recomend busking and/or open mic nites at your local. Playing around other musician can be incredibly intimidating but it's these kinds of crowds that are the most supportive and have the best advice. They might have that one piece of advice that dramatically ups your game. Don't be afraid of failure either, some of my best songs have come out of botched chords
edit on 11-1-2013 by twisted-timothy because: Raised as a carney, have terrible spelling



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 07:11 PM
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The best advice I can give is to have a few Pints to relax, and a few energy drinks to keep your wits about you and to give you a little confidence. My pre-gig ritual, always, is 2 pints of Ale and 2 cans of Monster. Works like a treat.

Are you playing Solo? I personally hate playing guitar in front of people if its just myself on my own, but I'm completely different when playing with the band, I guess its because there's a few other people to focus on. saying that, I move about a lot on stage!


edit on 11-1-2013 by nostromo85 because: (no reason given)


CX

posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 04:53 AM
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Thanks so much for the great replies, nice to see i'm not the only one that felt nervous about it.


Yes i guess the only option is to just do it. I am going to a music venue today to practice, so i think i'll stick to one song all day and maybe try it out at the open mic tonight.....might.


Think i'll try the "couple of drinks" for dutch courage too....that usualy loosens me up a bit, either that or i'll just laugh all the way through my song and then fall asleep on the guitar at the end.


Yeah i'll be on my own rather than with a band, and it's a small lit up cafe so you can see everyone, but they are very friendly and i know there are people there who are in the same boat. It's just that they have the confidence to get up there no matter what.

Silly isn't it, i spent 9 years in the army as an MP dealing with the crappier sides of life at times, no problems. Put me in front of a few people with a guitar, end of the world!


Thanks again everyone, you've been a great help. I will report back if anything materializes.

CX.



posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 09:04 AM
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reply to post by CX
 


I've performed at a bunch of places in Michigan. Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Ann Arbor, etc. Also outside of Chicago. My advice would be to enjoy it. Do what you do and immerse yourself in it. Do it for YOU and live for it.

You can listen and download my music in this thread.
Free Shneal Music

Here are some vids of my live performances.







posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 12:57 PM
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First of all, I'll introduce myself as a musician.
I play drums mainly (keyboards as well) and have been playing shows with several bands for 10 years.
I have mostly played local shows (in Uruguay) but I've also toured through Brazil and Argentina.
Plus, I've recorded 7 albums (and I'm proud of most of them).
For reference, you can download one of my band's (Genuflexos) latest album (which was released on Christmas 2012) from HERE. And you can check the Bandcamp of one of my other bands (Uoh!) HERE.

Facing an audience is hard at first, then you get used to it, however you still get a weird feeling right in the guts before going on stage (at least I do and so do fellow band members). I don't think it's a bad feeling at all, I would get worried if I didn't had it and it seems to me that it means that you care for your own show. So according to my books, it's completely healthy to be nervous.
Advice on how to get on stage calmly when it seems that your tummy went for a ride on an amusement park? I don't know... Man up, don't panic and go for it. Alcohol helps.

Further advice (though not the one you are asking for): DO IT YOURSELF. Biggest cliche ever, but it stands true. No major label is going to come knocking on your door, if you want to release an album, grab the phone and call studios until you find one that fits you. If you want to go on tour, make some research on the local bands, find the ones you like and mail them asking to play with them. Most people (who like your band) will be happy to organize a show with you and even let you crash on their couch.

Blood and sweat will be shred, maybe tears as well, but the joy is priceless.



posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 01:53 PM
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reply to post by CX
 


Ok, I have a similar problem. I tend to wear costumes, nothing outlandish, but defiantly not what I wear on the street. This has ranged from duct tape on my chest to glow in the dark tron style clothing. (not for classical work but when I did my rock band stuff) This is probably not what you would do, maybe you could try a suit or something odd that makes you feel unlike yourself.

The other thing to do might be something people laugh at, but it's always helped me: Just pretend you do it on a daily basis. When you are alone in your home (if you ever are, i know that's rough with kids) just imagine yourself there and do it in your room like you would if you were really confident onstage. It seems stupid, but it helps me. I sing classical so I often imagine I'm onstage singing an opera.
edit on 14-1-2013 by antonia because: added a thought


I should add that I don't think I'm very good and I do get nervous all the time. The first jury I ever had I got so nervous I couldn't hit the G#5 (6 depending on how you notate, high G#) the song called for even though it's just laughably easy for me most days. I know how it goes, but that nervous feeling...It never leaves it just gets easier to deal with. If it ever left me I'd be worried.
edit on 14-1-2013 by antonia because: added a thought






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