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Stage fright

Posted by u k sandra on Thursday, July 3, 2008

Does anybody else suffer from stage fright?. I`m in a mixed band class and we meet every Tuesday night at `The Sage Gateshead` not far from where I live. We have an hour and a half lesson, then sit in the cafe for another hour and a half just playing amongst ourselves.  For a long time I couldn`t play in front of anybody but the more you do it , the easier it gets and now I don`t mind at all. If there is also a concert on in one of  the main halls, we can have hundreds of people listening to us during the break and we don`t mind in the least. However, at the end of every term we have a concert where every class ( about 20 classes ) play two tunes in front of everybody else. Its a nightmare. Our class plays mainly Northumbrian tunes and they don`t fit in very well with a five string banjo so I usually play melody but one of the tunes this term was an Orkney tune called Flett From Flotta and I managed to do a frailing version. I can play that tune no bother. I could play it hanging upside down from the light shade so why is it that as soon as the teacher said that myself and the only guitar player had to do the first part of the tune at the concert, I went all to pot. I spent the week before worrying, I felt sick, it was the last thing I thought of before I went to sleep and the first thing I thought of when I woke up. By Tuesday I was no good for anything. I thought I`d make a right mess of it and let the rest of the class down. Somehow I got through it and it wasn`t too bad. I didn`t mess it up too much but when it was done, it was like a big weight off my sholders. I think its the thought of playing in front of all those musicians who will know if you play a wrong note. I can`t tell you how pleased I am that its all over until the next time, when I`ll worry myself sick all over again. If anybody want`s to hear `Flett From Flotta` played by ( would you believe ) five fiddles, five concertinas, four whistles and flutes, one Northumbrian pipes, one mandolin, one guitar, one dulcimer and a five string banjo, i`ll put it in my music. Its not a very good recording but the best I have.


13 comments on “Stage fright”

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Thursday, July 3, 2008 @10:47:04 PM

We all have some degree of stage fright.  The more comfortable you are playing a piece, the more comfortable you will be playing for others.

Get as much playing time in front of others as possible.  Whenever my church has a social, I bring my fiddle to play (I can't play the banjo worth squat yet), which I mercifully mute appropriately.  Folks hear me play whilst I essentially practice.  It gets me comfortable playing in front of (or at least amidst) a crowd.

I have a few tunes that I can play well, and I have no compunction about playing them before others.  It's the ones that I'm so-so at that make me nervous.  New (to me) pieces too, for the same reason.

Go ahead and post the tune.  It will be fun to hear it.

PruchaLegend Says:
Thursday, July 3, 2008 @11:42:09 PM

Among other things, a big part of the reason people have stage fright is that they want to do a good job. Now it seems obvious that anyone would want to do a good job but that just isn't so. Some people don't care what they sound like and they don't get  nervous. So...give yourself some credit for wanting to do a good job. I suspect that you sounded a lot better than you thought you did. And, just remember that even other players (even the really good ones) don't know your arrangement so they won't know if you played what you wanted to play or not. The big trick is to keep going.

gkuchan Says:
Friday, July 4, 2008 @5:03:48 AM

There is no one in the audience, any or a paying one, who is not rooting for you. No one sits down at a performance and hopes to be bored or disappointed. So recognize that everyone will be pulling for you. Oh and also remember there are no wrong notes, just notes you decided no to play this time.

gkuchan Says:
Friday, July 4, 2008 @5:04:42 AM

Oh and hurry up and upload the tune, please.

twayneking Says:
Friday, July 4, 2008 @9:09:27 AM

If you don't have a little stage fright at first, you probably have something seriously wrong with your brain!!!

Work through it.  It sometimes gets easier over time.  If not, there are medications for performance anxiety that work pretty well if you only take them when you're performing.

Later, kid!

Kester71 Says:
Friday, July 4, 2008 @9:21:06 AM

First of all don't you say your good for nothing (you great to look at) your in Gateshead (I love Newcastle) and those Northumbrian tunes are great and even greater when your the person to keep them alive with the banjo!  You got stage fright because all that great energy can't wait to shine! 

u k sandra Says:
Friday, July 4, 2008 @12:38:12 PM

Thanks, all of you. Kester, are you sure you`re from over here? I think you`re one of those Southern charmers I`ve heard about.

Kester71 Says:
Friday, July 4, 2008 @12:45:36 PM

Heh heh heh, I am just an innocent really.  Like a little boy that never grew up.  Your right about one thing.  I am from the South.  Here listen and I will prove it, "I am from the Saaaaarrffff innit? " What more proof could you ask for? 

u k sandra Says:
Saturday, July 5, 2008 @2:39:22 AM

Kester, you should come up here to live. We`re all mad as hatters too. You`d fit right in. I`ve never heard of the place you live ( I never said I was brainy ) but if its south of Durham, you are a southerner. Take care.

Kester71 Says:
Saturday, July 5, 2008 @5:36:21 AM

I did live in Benwell until 5 years ago and I may head back up there soon to live.  I loved the people because they would do anything to help a stranger or friend.

John Henry Wright Says:
Monday, July 7, 2008 @3:27:10 AM

Hi, Sandra. Stage fright? ..... try mind-altering drugs ..... works for me:-) Seriously ..... you're lucky to have folks to play with ..... I've been playing on my own since I got back to the banjo last October. I need to get out more and meet a few more folks, I reckon. If you're looking for some Tyneside music to play on the banjo have a look at the old music hall tradition ..... songs like 'Keep your feet still Geordie hinny' and 'Wor Nanny's a Mazor' adapt pretty well to frailing style. Regards, JHW

u k sandra Says:
Monday, July 7, 2008 @6:26:13 AM

John, why don`t you join us at The Sage next term?. We`re doing Folk Band taught by Carly Blain. Shes a fantastic fiddler and a great teacher. I know so far there are two banjos, a tenor guitar, a fidle and a dulcimer and thats just amongst my friends. We meet inthe cafe anything after 6 and the class starts at 7. After the class, we all get together in the cafe and play. It would be lovely to have another banjo player.

flowerofthewest Says:
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 @9:59:02 AM

Wow, Sandra - I am impressed!  Good for you!  ... not the stage fright...  getting up there and playin'!

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