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Thread: Nerves !!!

  1. #1

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    Help!!! Im at my wits end!!

    Ive only been playing 3 years, and im SO keen!! Im 43 and I have regular lessons but I have never played infront of anyone or with other musicians.
    It seems im se worried about making mistakes that I just freeze and get a mental block.
    I cant even perform infront of my drum teacher properly!!

    I know the next step is for me to get up at a Jam-night or similar, but I just cant make myself do it. If I do, I will so stiff and self-conscious that I wont be able to play.

    Anyone got any advice?? This is gonna be the end of my drumming if I cant get over this

  2. #2

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    Start small and keep it simple. Do you know anyone that plays guitar? Invite that one musician over and ask him to play a simple straight forward riff. Then jump in with the same approach. A simple straight forward rock beat. You'll be surprised at how much fun it is and how much more enjoyable drums are, playing live with other musicians.

    Also, your nerves are perfectly normal. All of us have them and depending on the situation, they probably still show up from time to time. And if I could give one peice of advice...don't put yourself on some deadline to perform. Everyone learns at a different pace. Give yourself time and don't put pressure on yourself.

    Good luck and STICK WITH IT.

    Tex

  3. #3

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    good advice^^^^^^

    stick to what you know, don't try new things in public until you have them down in practice, you'll always know what your going to do then, the nerves will go trust me, if you mess up so what just carry on, no one will batter an eyelid.

    playing with other musicians will bring you on a lot more than just playing at home.

    you'll miss the nerves when you don't get them, i wish i got nerves as you feel all excited with it, now it's just get up and play, now the buzz comes from seeing the crowd dancing and singing.

    go for it.

    Mark
    Have you got you're ticket for the rock train? You gotta earn that Ticket!!

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  4. #4

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    I agree with Tex and Mark. Find other musicians that are just starting off like you and you will be comfortable playing with them cause they are in the same booths as you sort of speaking. Once you start it will get easier for you to get over that stage fright or whatever you want to call it. Good luck

  5. #5

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    You learn a lot by jamming with other people. It may be stressful at first. Exciting might be a better word. After you do it a few hundred times it gets easier. You might even enjoy the rush.

  6. #6

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    I know a great local drummer who has been drumming for 40+ yrs and still rocks. He always plays with Sunglasses on whether it's night or day indoors or outdoors. I asked him about it and he said he gets stage fright so bad that he cannot play without his glasses on. Even to this day after all these years and no matter the venue. You just need to find something you can look at or wear, or think about that helps you through it. We all have it to different degrees. Every time you play in front of people it will get a little easier.
    Last edited by MDK; 10-14-2014 at 09:36 AM.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by MDK View Post
    I know a great local drummer who has been drumming for 40+ yrs and still rocks. He always plays with Sunglasses on whether it's night or day indoors or outdoors. I asked him about it and he said he gets stage fright so bad that he cannot play without his glasses on. Even to this day after all these years and no matter the venue. You just need to find something you can look at or wear, or think about that helps you through it. We all have it to different degrees. Every time you play in front of people it will get a little easier.
    Funny you should mention that! I know of such a drummer here on DC who also wears shades whether the sun shines or not. Late8 is the man lol. Maybe he does it for the same reason, not sure or it is awful sunny in California.

  8. #8

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    Relax. It's only music. Start by playing on your practice pad in front of wife, brother, sister..........whatever family member you want. Take it from there. Do same in front of a few friends. Keep it simple and easy. Most people listening/watching don't even know when there is a mistake. Make it fun. If it's not fun, why do it?

  9. #9

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^

    All good advice.

    I have never understood "stage fright" although I've seen it to various degrees with a lot of people over the years.

    They can't shoot you, cook you, or eat you, so play like you've done it a thousand times before.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickthedrummer View Post
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^

    All good advice.

    I have never understood "stage fright" although I've seen it to various degrees with a lot of people over the years.

    They can't shoot you, cook you, or eat you, so play like you've done it a thousand times before.
    True, sometimes you've just got to bite the bullet and do it
    Have you got you're ticket for the rock train? You gotta earn that Ticket!!

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  11. #11

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    I played out for the first time in over two years on Friday night. Beforehand, somebody asked me if I was nervous. I told them that I really wasn't because I had screwed up on stage before and nobody really seemed to notice or care. It's not that I don't care about making mistakes, it's that I don't worry about making mistakes. I missed a cymbal twice and ran long on a fill at one point, but everyone I talked to said that we sounded good.

    Practice, jam with friends, and have fun. The nerves will go away.
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  12. #12

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    I'm always nervous but only for the first song of a gig. Usually lose stick during the song LOL! We all laugh it off!
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  13. #13

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    I love jam nights, and that's how I learned how to play on stage too. Here's my advice - find the organizer, normally someone in the house band that puts out the list for people to sign up to play and the one that calls people up to the stage. Tell him or her that it's your first time and you're nervous, and that you don't really know what to do.

    If it's a good jam night, the organizer will help you out! They'll make sure you don't go on stage with anyone that's a prima dona, and often when someone says it's their first time and they need help, they'll put you on stage with solid, patient musicians or even the house band. The other people on stage will help you out and won't add any stress to the night.

    Also, if you totally bomb, WHO CARES? That's what jam nights are for. Every other musician in the house at a jam night has bombed a few times. It's like falling off a bike once the training wheels come off. Don't worry about it.
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  14. #14

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    i would disagree with the people saying find someone at your level to play with. All current and former members of my band are waaaaaay better than me (but im catching up). You won't get good playing with crappy players, but good players will help you get better. Find someone willing to jam with you, preferably at your place (you got the drums, so that's a big reason) so you feel comfortable. And as has been suggested, find a jam night, you might be surprised to find worse drummers than you!

    I get mega-nervous before gigs, and even in front of my teacher. As far as the teacher goes, take that as a good way to not get over confident and they'll point out what needs improvement. In terms of gigs, we do a shot of sambucca right before we go on, and while i'm not keen on playing tipsy, it calms the nerves and makes me play better, which calms the nerves more.

    Final thought, almost NOBODY listens to the drummer, so nobody's going to notice minor mistakes. Jeez, I once finished a fill on 2 and only the bassist noticed. What one band member said to me was a professional knows how to make mistakes look intentional. In practice, that means to just keep playing, laugh/smile, even shake your head "no", as long as you don't stop, people will think you're just into it!
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  15. #15

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    Also a new drummer here. I noticed a long time ago that my playing mindset changed when I was at my lesson. I could for example practice a rudiment or beat all week between lessons and have it NAILED. I would get in front of my teacher and LTFU (lock the 'fun' up). He would laugh and ask if he could leave the room for a sec while I got "organized". He would leave the room, I would find it and open the door to yell at him to come back. Of course he was right outside the door - still chuckling. But it helped lighten me up. After a few more teacher walk outs I got comfortable being uncomfortable in front of him - if that makes sense. I just accepted the fact that I will not play at 100% skill level attained when I play at lessons.

    Around the same time I conquered my lesson fear I started to jam with a good friend of mine who plays all types of guitar. He would bring his guitar over and say "Just follow me". He would then proceed to play a bunch of power chords that screamed "basic rock beat" - and so I played a basic rock beat. Have not stopped playing that btw. Once I found the pocket or some semblance of one he would jazz something up - ok ok I feel that - beat, beat beat, CRASH. You get the idea. I was lucky in that my buddy is way more musically advanced than I and knew how to lead me through the jam. I will tell you by the end of the fourth measure of the basic rock beat, my anxiety was gone and I was playing drums.

    Nobody wants to be embarrassed in front of others. The open jam ideas are good ones, but I would encourage you to find someone like I had to come over and ease you into it. If you don't know anyone how about posting an ad on your local CL - you will likely be surprised at what you find. And if you end up with guys who are also new to their guitar journey's hang in there with them and see what you can find. Just be 100% honest in the ad.

    Good luck!

    Mike

  16. #16

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    Not that it helps, but I think that is worse with age. I don't remember having any nerves when I was young but I do a little bit now in my 50's.

    My son was about 5 when he was going to play in his first piano recital, mostly parents and other students, but there were about 150 people in the crowd. He was about to go on and I whispered to him "are you nervous?" He said "about what?" I said "never mind".

  17. #17

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    Thanks for all the tips, guys :-)

  18. #18

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    My advice is this, play simple, play through your mistakes, and have fun.

    Playing with worries is tough... playing and stopping at every mistake is annoying to others in a band. They most of the time don't even realize we've made a mistake as long as we don't show/tell them. Play through it and learn what to do to fix it for next time.

  19. #19

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    "almost NOBODY listens to the drummer, so nobody's going to notice minor mistakes."

    Wrong!

  20. #20

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    I agree with Rick, everyone listens and stares at the drummer. I know I did before I started drumming and to think of it that was the reason why I started drumming lol

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by "almost NOBODY listens to the drummer, so nobody's going to notice minor mistakes."

    Wrong!

    Pearl MCX Man;613352
    I agree with Rick, everyone listens and stares at the drummer. I know I did before I started drumming and to think of it that was the reason why I started drumming lol
    i'm not so sure about that, if your a drummer or interested in drumming you watch the drummer, general public i'd say watch the front man or lead guitarist.
    no one has ever came up to me and said i noticed that mistake you made, and i've made loads but i just carry on like nothings happened.

    the only time i think mistakes get noticed is if you stop playing or the whole band turn around and look at you.

    cheers
    Have you got you're ticket for the rock train? You gotta earn that Ticket!!

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  22. #22

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    The only thing that got me over "stage fright" was how much time I put into practicing my chops. The more I practiced and built up my confidence, the less I felt nervous on stage. One of the more stressful situations I've often come under during a performance is playing to an audience of one. This typically happens when some "outsider" drops by the practice studio for a listen. There's no escaping the glare of one person and it's easier to "hide" in front of hundreds. It's been said that the drummer is the easiest person to watch on stage and I find that very true when you play to a small venue.


  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by markthechuck View Post
    i'm not so sure about that, if your a drummer or interested in drumming you watch the drummer, general public i'd say watch the front man or lead guitarist.
    no one has ever came up to me and said i noticed that mistake you made, and i've made loads but i just carry on like nothings happened.

    the only time i think mistakes get noticed is if you stop playing or the whole band turn around and look at you.

    cheers
    A good band with a bad drummer = a bad band. They may not know if you make a mistake now and then and they may not be able to identify specific technique or style issues, but if you suck, they will know the band is not good. It may not be as blatant as an out of tune singer but it can be just as critical.

  24. #24

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    Just keep moving forward. No one notices mistakes unless you just stop playing. When I played out, the first song was always a little shakey, but we'd find our groove by the second song. Unless you are auditioning, everyone is gonna be there to have a good time, not write a detailed analysis of technique and playstyle .
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  25. #25

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    Essexboy71, I have been where you are - on 2 instruments. I began playing guitar, and the first time I played in front of others, my knees and hand shook. The hands shook so much, I was having to focus hard just to keep making the cords happen. The truth is that I missed a couple, but nobody noticed.

    The first time I played drums in front of others, I was in a band that had been formed by some pastors for a youth night. We played from 2 a.m.-4 a.m., and although I had never dropped a stick in practice, I did manage to drop a stick 3 times. I did exactly what I heard hear at Drum Chat, and simply grabbed another stick and kept going. Afterwards, I was complimented on my drumming.

    Now, I play guitar and drums without dealing with the nerves. When you realize that you can survive the nerves, they'll get better.
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