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So you’ve practiced and practiced and can finally play all or most of your favourite songs while sitting in your bedroom or practice space, so, now what? You didn’t learn those songs just to play them in front of the mirror or just to jam with the song on YouTube, right? As fun as those things are, you know there is more to playing music than doing it by yourself.
This means: playing for an audience! It doesn’t matter who that audience is or how big it is, everyone wants to play for someone someday.
You may be thinking that this isn’t true for you, so let me posit a scenario:
If you were the last person on earth on a desert island with no one around to ever hear you play, would you still practice and play at the extent you do now? Sure, you may play every once in a while but all need or want to practice and practice and write and play would be gone, what would be the point if only you would ever hear your music being played?
The answer is there would be no point, none.
What is making you resist to wanting to play is your own self-confidence; you are just being shy! That’s the good news! It means that you can indeed overcome that stage fight and actually play for some people you may or may not know.
In this article I am going to outline some crucial ways in which you can not only eliminate that stage fright, but also be prepared to absolutely kill it when you are playing – whether that is in how you play or the performance you give to your audience.
So, how can a musician practice to play in front of other people? The most obvious answer is just to play in front of others and get over it. But, if you’re like me, you may need a bit of coaxing and training to get out of that bubble so let’s go over that now
Here are some of the different ways to practice playing in front of an audience to gain the courage, self-confidence, and skills to kill it when you do play:
Jumping around – pracitcing playing while jumping around helps you get comfortable with your playing so that moving around on a stage or the ground does not mess up your playing.
Practicing crazy stage moves – this goes under the same category as above, but it is helpful to practice stage moves (even if you never use them) so that when you either want to bust them out, or something bad happens like when you trip, you will be prepared for the scenario
Record yourself playing – If you do this and listen back when you are not playing you will get to see very clearly where you can improve your stage performance. Since it is most likely your first time playing in front of anything just pick one small thing to improve – like actually moving or taking a few steps instead of looking down for the whole time
Play with your eyes closed – this helps you get the feel for your instrument so you don’t always have to be looking down at your instrument to play it. You want to engage your audience and appear to be as smooth as possible. Being stuck in one position while never looking up from your instrument is one way to bore your audience, so just practicing so that you can look up and out will have a tremendous confidence boosting effect for you.
Play with a strobe – This is great for practicing distracted and under a certain kind of extreme condition. Strobe lights mess with your visual perception and will throw off your playing game big time if you’re not used to the it. Even if you never play on stage with a strobe going, the practice time is immensely worth it.
Play with your ears plugged – this helps you feel your instrument much more intuitively. You need to feel if the note you played rang out well or if you stuffed the execution.
Practice either in front of a close friend or total stranger – pick one which you are more comfortable with, busking is helpful with the latter plus you can make a bit of cash. This will be your first little step out into the wonderful world of playing for an audience now!
About The Author:
Bryce Gorman runs a guitar school in Lethbridge Alberta, with a passion for helping his students become the best players they can be! If you are interested in taking Guitar Lessons In Lethbridge, Alberta, then be sure to contact Bryce!