First gig= SCARED!

Discussion about guitar playing from a diverse group of people with different tastes and levels of experience.
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First gig= SCARED!

Post by Ande » November 23rd, 2010, 7:42 pm

I've posted here a few times about the guys I've been jamming with.

Somehow, and a little fast for my liking, we've gone from "guys who play rock music on quiet Sunday afternoons" to "a band" to....a gigging band. YIKES. We have a gig in a week and a half. And another a week after that.

Not "off night in a small bar" gigs, either. Playing Christmas parties for a couple of relatively big local organisations, looks like we'll have crowds of 100-150.

And I am SCARED. I have not played in front of audiences like this. Ever.

I guess I know what to do, musically. (Practice a LOT, until I'm able to play our set list in my sleep.)

Any suggestions about the nerves?


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Re: First gig= SCARED!

Post by Jim BoDean » November 23rd, 2010, 8:26 pm

The nerves will probably go away after a few songs. I had my first gig about 7 years ago and remember feeling the way you do. The other half of my duo (without whom I'd maybe never have done this) suggested we do our top three songs first -- the ones we felt the most confident about. Looking back, that was good advice that I still try to use.

Now I rarely feel that nervous; I've even done several solo gigs. I think I've come to realize that there's no point in being afraid I'll screw up; people probably aren't usually watching me that closely anyway. They want the performer to do well also.

I also try to maintain a positive attitude by thinking "I'm going to make these guys really like me." If I don't think I do a song very well, I don't do it. Stick with the ones you feel you do strongly.

Last year I did a solo gig at the local Lion's Club's Christmas dinner; I felt my performance wasn't as smooth as it should have been, mainly because I felt a bit intimidated by all those people sitting down and watching ME. As I sort of said earlier, usually I'm background music for events like Relay for Life, etc., where folks are just milling around doing other things. Well, I went home after that Christmas gig thinking, "I really embarrassed myself tonight," but a couple days ago I got a call saying they really liked what I did and wanted me again this year.

That just goes to show that we are our own worst critics.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes. My guess is that you'll be on such a high, you won't be able to wait for the next gig.

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Re: First gig= SCARED!

Post by Moonrider » November 23rd, 2010, 8:58 pm

Ande wrote: Not "off night in a small bar" gigs, either. Playing Christmas parties for a couple of relatively big local organisations, looks like we'll have crowds of 100-150.

And I am SCARED. I have not played in front of audiences like this. Ever.

Any suggestions about the nerves?
You'll be fine once you get through the first song or two. Minor mistakes won't be noticed by anyone but the band - if ya make a clam, grin and forge on. They'll think you're doing jazz runs ;)
Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

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Re: First gig= SCARED!

Post by kblake » November 24th, 2010, 12:45 am

Someone said here a while ago "If you mess up, just GLARE at the drummer" lol

Seriously though good luck and have a ball!
I know a little bit about a lot of things, but not a lot about anything...
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Re: First gig= SCARED!

Post by rparker » November 24th, 2010, 5:43 am

I'd be scared too. Maybe anxious would be the better word. Nerves? The old I get, the worse I get. By the time I do play in front of someone, I'll need, um adult under garments.

Anyhow, best of luck and let us know how they go.

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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Re: First gig= SCARED!

Post by Nuno » November 24th, 2010, 8:30 am

I never play to an audience... well, just once and it was many, many years ago...

When I have a "special" conference or lecture, I think on the next day or the moment after that event.

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Re: First gig= SCARED!

Post by notes_norton » November 24th, 2010, 8:47 am

I've never had enough sense to have stage fright, but I've seen others who have had it.

Really, there is nothing to be afraid of. Small mistakes will not be noticed by anyone but other band members, and hopefully they will pretend to not notice and after the gig laugh them off.

If you make a big mistake that isn't a train wreck, just smile and keep on going. If soloing and you play a wrong note, slide it up or down a half step to a good one - you are never more than a half step away from a good note, and then do it again so it seems like poor taste instead of a screw up. :wink:

Big train wrecks will happen eventually. If you say something silly like "Oops! I got my finger stuck under the g-string." you will endear the audience and they will laugh with you instead of at you.

My advice, relax, have fun, remember what you are there for, to play music. And take the word PLAY very seriously. The audiences is there to have fun too. As long as you enjoy the music, everything will be just fine.

Good luck, and have a ball!

Then once you pass your initiation, welcome to the club. GIgging is my second favorite thing to do (can't tell you what's first on a family forum <grin>)

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

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Re: First gig= SCARED!

Post by Sugar70 » November 24th, 2010, 8:44 pm

Thanks for sharing information here,

how to deal with depression

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Re: First gig= SCARED!

Post by geoo » November 28th, 2010, 4:18 pm

Mostly the same as others have said. After a short time, it will just feel like you are playing with your buds. I always feel most nervous when I am starting a song. We are way more critical of ourselves than the audience is.

Just dont do what I did when I first started playing my current gig.. I fell down the stairs LOL DOH

Have fun
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Re: First gig= SCARED!

Post by ph0nage » November 29th, 2010, 5:55 am

congrats. Do you have a setlist? :)

jason brann

Re: First gig= SCARED!

Post by jason brann » November 29th, 2010, 12:10 pm

don't drink a lot beforehand. one drink may or may not take the edge off, but a bunch of them will almost guarantee embarrassment.
if your hands feel cold or shaky beforehand, running them under some warm water can help, and it gets rid of any oil or sweat, too.
personally, i welcome stage fright. i've gotten used to it, and learned to separate myself from it in a way. sort of like the buddhist idea that you are not your thoughts or emotions, but the observer of them. also, and this is big: i've noticed the stronger it is, generally the better the audience response.

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Re: First gig= SCARED!

Post by Ande » December 4th, 2010, 6:18 pm

Thanks for all the support and advice, guys.

The gig has been gigged. And it was a BLAST.

Looking back, I'm not sure why I was so nervous. I've done a lot of kinds of public performance before, though this was the first time both playing and singing with a band.

So I'm just popping in to say THANKS. Good advice, and I appreciate the support.

Highlights from the gig-

Great audience. About 130-150 people, all told. It was music they aren't used to in Korea, which is where I am at the moment. ANd they ate it up. Dancing, screaming, clapping. I couldn't see most of the room, because in the front of the audience, they were just piled up!

Songs all stayed together. Sure, there was stuff that could have gone better, but that's for us to know, not the listeners. No visible disasters.

As Notes observed, all the wrong notes are REALLY close to all the right notes. As far as solos are concerned, if resolve to a "right" note, and don't spend too much time on anything wildly dissonant, and you keep the rhythm, it works.

And finally, thanks to David Hodge for the "From Scales to Solos" lessons, without which I would be unlikely to have had any solos to play. Thanks David- you're a real teacher.

Lowlights from the gig-

Electrics in the building weren't well grounded. Every time you touched a mike, you got a little jolt.. And if you touched one while grounded (holding a guitar, for example) then you got a BIG jolt. Some of the photos are funny- me standing next to the guitarist/vocalist- both of us singing and playing our hearts out, but VERY careful not to let our lips hit the mikes....or (really funny pic) when not playing, I'd lean into the mike to sing....with my hands in the air, not touching anything metal on my guitar. Looks like a bizarre dance move. Someone also got a photo of the other guy at the moment his lips hit the mike- head jerking back, and a look of murder on his face. Didn't miss a note or a word, though- good man.

for the first time in my life, I couldn't keep track of my pick! Must have dropped it three time in a 40 minute set. Luckily, had a pile of them on top of my amp...

All in all, it was a lot of fun- thanks again, guys, and I'll get any sound clips I can find up one of these days...


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