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Author Topic: Panic, choke, fear, freeze, blank....  (Read 961 times)
broKen
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« on: July 22, 2017, 05:31:00 PM »

Whatever you call it, it is debilitating. I'd rather have a kidney stone (well, maybe not).
A friend of mine died a few weeks ago and his wife asked me to play something at the graveside service . If he were not a good friend I would have excused myself. I just don't do that sort of thing. Well, I picked a tune and played, and played, and...got it memorized. I thought. My wife said it wasn't bad, but I lost my place in the first verse, but only for one measure. I can't believe I picked it right back up and finished the tune. I felt stupid and foolish and beat myself up for two days for losing my mental composure. I have a lot of admiration for you people that play and perform publicly.
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Strings4Him
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2017, 07:28:46 PM »

I am sure your friend would be proud of you.
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broKen
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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2017, 08:16:26 PM »

Thanks Steve. I'm sure it may have been comical to some, but at the time...well I'm just glad I didn't spill anything 
I could just hear some woman in the crowd say, "that poor man". 
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A Hebrew, under the Spell
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2017, 11:12:35 PM »

Performance takes as much if not more practice than playing. It doesn't come naturally to most people. Don't beat yourself up, I'm betting those who even noticed were in a forgiving mood. 
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mike in lytle
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2017, 11:33:00 PM »

 
Well, Patti Smith forgot the words to Dylan's Hard Rains Gonna Fall singing to the Nobel prize people.... and the Swedish royals were there.
And she was singing with an orchestra. She recovered, but it was difficult to watch.
So you are in good company! The honor you did your good friend outweighs all.
Mike
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2017, 11:58:32 PM »


Well, Patti Smith forgot the words to Dylan's Hard Rains Gonna Fall singing to the Nobel prize people.... and the Swedish royals were there.
And she was singing with an orchestra. She recovered, but it was difficult to watch.
So you are in good company! The honor you did your good friend outweighs all.
Mike

Certainly. Jimi Hendrix totally screwed up the lyrics in the first verse of All Along the Watchtower, didn't bother retaking it and getting it right and no one hardly notices but me. 
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jpmist
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2017, 01:31:26 AM »

I can relate to that. I see so many people play on stage and I marvel that outwardly they actually seem to enjoy it.

I'm only a life long couch player having done only a handful of open mics. Recently a friend asked me to play for her wedding and so I cobbled together something fingerstyle as backdrop to her procession. Practiced one song endlessly for 2 months and was so terrified at the thought of screwing up. The only part of it I actually enjoyed was having gotten to the last note without a noticeable mistake.

I've heard it said, and I think it's true, that an audience isn't nearly as focused on every single note and word as much as the performer is, and considering the context I'm sure everyone appreciated your playing. So try to forgive yourself, I can't imagine a more difficult setting for a performance.

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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2017, 12:32:19 PM »

I started out in my teens, way back when, playing in garage and basement bands mostly as a second guitarist and some time singer. Safety in numbers and all that. In the early 70's, like a lot of folks, I put down the electric guitar and tried to become a singer songwriter. I've been doing this, as well as I can, for almost 50 years. I feel like I've finally become totally comfortable with it, and not to blow my own horn, pretty good at it in the last few years. However, I'm 66 and it's likely too late. Heh.

Last weekend, after my return to my home and native land, I found myself on the shores of Gitchee Goomee, around a campfire with a dozen people and only me able to play a guitar. I managed to entertain the crowd for three hours without a break and my wife's nephew's girlfriend paid me an ultimate complement when she asked, "How come you're not famous?"  Long, long story.   
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broKen
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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2017, 04:16:46 PM »

What little she knows,,,besides, fame is overrated, and way too demanding.    here's to you sir. 
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Danny
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2017, 10:57:04 PM »

My take is its only other musicians who pick up on my mistakes. And most of them are supporting anyway.
   My close friends will point out things, but only later on. They know that I appreciate it as well.

    I've played at a few funerals and think most folks are thankful for the personal touch it adds. Played a song I wrote at a friend's wedding once. The only criticism came from the Grandma. She said it was not long enough 
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2017, 11:36:11 PM »

One bad experience with a crowd can end your performing in front of people though....  Things like that can stick...
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George
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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2017, 01:53:58 PM »

What little she knows,,,besides, fame is overrated, and way too demanding.    here's to you sir. 

It can be deadly, as well. I realized early that playing in bars every night was no life for me. Unless, the 27 club was my goal. As for fame, you really, really have to want it and you have to be in the right spot at the right time? I guesss I didn't and I know I wasn't. My musical and romantic partner in the 70's went on to some fame (but no fortune) winning three Juno Awards (Canada's Grammys) and ending up so disillusioned she pretty much quit music entirely. At least, I still write and play. So it goes. 

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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2017, 12:17:39 AM »

All of the responses to the above are interesting and varied.

The main thing to ask yourself is "why am I playing in public?"  I play in front of about 350 every two weeks on Sunday AM at church. The point is to assist others on worship. Normally I'm not too self conscious about it except when it's a riff based song and I have to hold down the riff. Then it feels naked.

However that does fade a bit over time. I always have music on a stand and the worship leader is a great musician. Besides the spiritual side of it that's what keeps me doing it. He is constantly pushing me to try harder and harder things. I'm growing as a musician as a result. You can too, but it takes regular practice at performing and regular screw ups.
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« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2017, 06:02:41 AM »

I don't think there is anything easy or natural about getting up on a stage.  I've had to deal with it since I was about 7 and playing violin recitals.  Eventually you either learn to tune out the idea of an audience or feed off the energy of live performance.  Some things I've learned about live performance: it's not a recording where people have the chance to replay it over and over and critique, most people don't even notice the occasional clam, it's fellow musicians who would actually take notice, fellow musicians can relate and empathize, people react more to your personal reaction of a goof up than they would to the actual goof.  I'm onstage at my church every Sunday.  I screw something up every week.  We are all just human, and only studio recordings are perfect (after a gazillion takes and extensive editing).

Honestly, it sounds like you did just fine...you honored your friend, you kept going despite the moment of confusion.  Don't beat yourself up for that.  It's normal.   
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SMan
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2017, 11:03:00 AM »

You did a great thing honoring your friend.  May he rest in peace.
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broKen
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« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2017, 02:10:35 PM »

Thanks everyone, you have helped me get over it. Some day I want to enjoy singing/playing for others.
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markj
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« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2017, 06:13:36 PM »

Been there, as far as Panic, choke, fear, freeze, blank is concerned. Even just hitting a wrong note or missing one can be enough to make us head down that path. The path pretty much follows the sequence you describe too. It usually starts out as shaking leg syndrome with me. I have learned that as soon as my legs start to shake that I have to stop the cascading effect. Calm myself down and continue on. It can happen multiple times but usually once I stop it, it goes away for rest of the performance.

Good for you for playing for your friend. I am sure the other people in attendance appreciated it and were certainly not concerned with any mistakes or memory lapses.
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Queequeg
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« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2017, 06:53:31 PM »

One bad experience with a crowd can end your performing in front of people though....  Things like that can stick...
As someone who occasionally/fairly regularly panics on stage playing solo instrumental guitar, I have read a lot about stage fright, including this recent New York Times piece.

A Musical Life Interrupted
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George
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« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2017, 08:23:47 PM »

As someone who occasionally/fairly regularly panics on stage playing solo instrumental guitar, I have read a lot about stage fright, including this recent New York Times piece.

A Musical Life Interrupted


Thanks for that link, sounds like a familiar story for some folks...
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George
mike in lytle
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« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2017, 02:50:48 AM »

As someone who occasionally/fairly regularly panics on stage playing solo instrumental guitar, I have read a lot about stage fright, including this recent New York Times piece.
A Musical Life Interrupted
So I found the whole Richard Twice album is on you tube, and it is really good music.
And Richard Atkins has some you tubes going back 4 years and he is a really good picker/lyricist/singer.
Thanks so much for the link! This is really worthwhile! Wow.
Mike
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