Re: First time playing for an audience - help!
Hey, cody, I'm not sure what I can add, since our brother drummers gave you a lot of incredibly great advice--and it sounds like you did well on your very first live gig!
Let me share my "first time before strangers" story. I was playing percussion with my drum teacher's big-bandleader son at a political fundraising dinner and was as nervous as that cat on a hot tin roof. Before I joined the band for the Latin set, he had some fun with the audience and played "The Duck Dance" (also known as "The Chicken Dance" in some areas)--you know, the one where you flap your wings, shake your tail feathers, etc...
The girl singer for the band (who happens to be the teacher's wife) got up and began leading the dance. I thought, "oh what the heck! If she's gonna do it, I'll do it!" Let me put it this way: As a duck dancer, I'm a great bongo player! But I was laughing so hard at my own dancing, I was thoroughly relaxed by the time I joined the band...and the bongos and congas sounded great.
I know it won't work for everyone, but here's the pont: If you can laugh at yourself, you'll find yourself smiling all the way through the gig!
Keep rockin' those drums, man!
keep the beat goin' ... Don't keep it to yourself!
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." --Henry David Thoreau, "Walden," 1854
"There's a lot to be said for Time Honored tradition and value." --In memory of Frank "fiacovaz" Iacovazzi
"Maybe your drums can be beat, but you can't."--Jack Keck