How to Deal With Stage Fright for Guitarists

Author : RyanFeest
Publish Date : 2021-03-13


How to Deal With Stage Fright for Guitarists

An incredibly common problem for guitarists is playing in front of a crowd. Whether it may be playing on a stage in front of a large crowd, or just playing a couple of songs for your friends to sing along to, I've encountered dozens, if not hundreds, of guitarists who are absolutely terrified to face a room filled with people eager to hear good music. To be frank, though I say that playing for others is nothing to be afraid of, I too have been the scared little kid afraid to play a single chord.

What changed? I got realistic. When I first got together with my band, we recorded a song at the end of our practice. I was quite surprised when I heard the recording. It was then that I know that I could play and knew that I had no reason to be afraid. You don't need to go to a studio to know whether you can play well or not. Every guitarist can play well. I'm not just one of those guys trying to raise your hopes. What I mean is that if you can strum a few chords, you need not shy away from playing for someone. The reason that I say this is because to an average person who doesn't play guitar, a few chords could sound better than a tough solo. So if you can play a few chords or a mind-blowing solo, you have no reason to fear playing for anyone.

Other than that, here are some important tips that helped me deal with my fear of playing for others, which I think will help you deal with yours.

Practice Makes Perfect

The main reason that induces stage fright is that prior to playing, you think of all the worst-case scenarios. This creates a false sense of fear. What you need to do to avoid it is to practice your material in and out. Then when fear begins to creep in, you know that you have practiced well and you know that you will conquer this.

Don't make it Obvious That You Messed Up

Whenever you play guitar, you are bound to miss a note or mess up slightly once in a while. When this happens on stage or in front of a crowd, don't make it obvious that you messed up by putting on a sour face. Most non-musicians won't notice the mistake, but whatever doubt they had will be confirmed by your reaction. So don't worry about your mistake, keep playing positively.

When you mess up improvising a solo on stage, what you have to do is to stop playing for a bit, groove to the music and when you feel confident again, step right back in to the solo and it's like you never messed up at all.

How to Handle the Crowd

Honestly, what scared me the most about playing on stage was facing a crowd full of eager people waiting to hear good music. The minute I got on stage and made eye contact with anyone was the moment where I usually freaked.

How to tackle this is to is to not make eye contact with anyone in the crowd the second I stepped up. What you must do is to settle in and build confidence. Till you do, focus at a point, like the back of the crowd until you get the confidence to make eye contact and involve the crowd in the music. Remember not to take too long to settle in.

Involving the crowd in the music by making eye contact is an important thing in playing for a crowd.

Just Have Fun

Even so, the MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember is to just HAVE FUN. Don't just stand scared onstage. Enjoy it. This will help you the most in dealing with your stage fright.

Key points to remember,

- Enjoy your performance.
- Settle in and build confidence prior to making eye contact.
- Don't make it obvious that you messed up.
- Practice well before you play.

An incredibly common problem for guitarists is playing in front of a crowd. Whether it may be playing on a stage in front of a large crowd, or just playing a couple of songs for your friends to sing along to, I've encountered dozens, if not hundreds, of guitarists who are absolutely terrified to face a room filled with people eager to hear good music. To be frank, though I say that playing for others is nothing to be afraid of, I too have been the scared little kid afraid to play a single chord.

What changed? I got realistic. When I first got together with my band, we recorded a song at the end of our practice. I was quite surprised when I heard the recording. It was then that I know that I could play and knew that I had no reason to be afraid. You don't need to go to a studio to know whether you can play well or not. Every guitarist can play well. I'm not just one of those guys trying to raise your hopes. What I mean is that if you can strum a few chords, you need not shy away from playing for someone. The reason that I say this is because to an average person who doesn't play guitar, a few chords could sound better than a tough solo. So if you can play a few chords or a mind-blowing solo, you have no reason to fear playing for anyone.

Other than that, here are some important tips that helped me deal with my fear of playing for others, which I think will help you deal with yours.

Practice Makes Perfect

The main reason that induces stage fright is that prior to playing, you think of all the worst-case scenarios. This creates a false sense of fear. What you need to do to avoid it is to practice your material in and out. Then when fear begins to creep in, you know that you have practiced well and you know that you will conquer this.

Don't make it Obvious That You Messed Up

Whenever you play guitar, you are bound to miss a note or mess up slightly once in a while. When this happens on stage or in front of a crowd, don't make it obvious that you messed up by putting on a sour face. Most non-musicians won't notice the mistake, but whatever doubt they had will be confirmed by your reaction. So don't worry about your mistake, keep playing positively.

When you mess up improvising a solo on stage, what you have to do is to stop playing for a bit, groove to the music and when you feel confident again, step right back in to the solo and it's like you never messed up at all.

How to Handle the Crowd

Honestly, what scared me the most about playing on stage was facing a crowd full of eager people waiting to hear good music. The minute I got on stage and made eye contact with anyone was the moment where I usually freaked.

How to tackle this is to is to not make eye contact with anyone in the crowd the second I stepped up. What you must do is to settle in and build confidence. Till you do, focus at a point, like the back of the crowd until you get the confidence to make eye contact and involve the crowd in the music. Remember not to take too long to settle in.

Involving the crowd in the music by making eye contact is an important thing in playing for a crowd.

Just Have Fun

Even so, the MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember is to just HAVE FUN. Don't just stand scared onstage. Enjoy it. This will help you the most in dealing with your stage fright.

Key points to remember,

- Enjoy your performance.
- Settle in and build confidence prior to making eye contact.
- Don't make it obvious that you messed up.
- Practice well before you play.

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