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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody,

I'm a musician.... but I have such a hard time playing in front of people. I would like nothing more than to one day be able to play live for people. I get so anxious!! I forget words, my fingers tremble when I try and play guitar. And, the anticipatory anxiety is awful. I'm a wreck for days before performances. The automatic negative thoughts never stop and it just leads me to feeling depressed and hopeless. It sucks!! Any help or leads would be greatly appreciated.

thanks
 

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First gotta say I love your user name, Born To Run is one of my favorite albums of all time. The Boss rocks!

My suggestion might sound weird suggestion but you should go to a karaoke bar, drink a couple of beers and sing born to run in front of drunk people. I say this to make you realize unless you terribly suck, it isn't so bad! Plus Born To Run is a surefire song to get a few drunk people clapping!

Then start playing guitar for a few people in intimate settings to build your confidence up. There's nothing more beautiful to gather around someone playing a guitar and hearing what comes from their soul. Gotta crawl before you can walk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks scaredtolive... I've had a little success with beta blockers... as far as playing, but mentally the negative thoughts still exist and makes me depressed and upset. The anticipatory anxiety is just as bad... if not worse.. than the actual anxiety during a performance.
 

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thanks scaredtolive... I've had a little success with beta blockers... as far as playing, but mentally the negative thoughts still exist and makes me depressed and upset. The anticipatory anxiety is just as bad... if not worse.. than the actual anxiety during a performance.
yeah beta blockers is what I was thinking of. You could try Benzo's too. That reminds me of that Will Farrell movie where he starts to play but can't get it out so he breaks out a recording of him playing. Cognitive therapy might help too. Their called ANTS. Automatic Negative Thoughts and it's supposed to help you recognize them, replace them and eventually rid yourself of them. It takes time though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
not a bad idea. and yes.. born2run is a great tune. always makes me happy. good for the soul.

i try to play on benches around town from time to time... but it's like as soon as people "pay attention to me" i freeze up. It's like i want to be heard, but i'm so fearful that they may reject my stuff. which really is ridiculous because as a musician i'm the most forgiving person there is. even if i don't like a person's stuff, i don't dislike them. i guess i have trouble separating the 2. if somebody doesn't like my voice or my song, i automatically think they don't like me.
 

· She-Wolf
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i can relate. i'm def not a "musician" anymore but i was always involved in the musical ensembles in school. i played flute and was pretty good but i always bombed any solo tests or exams because my anxiety was absolutely horrible. i would get a panic attack and since my breathing would be so important in playing well, that would be messed up, as well as playing the correct notes at the right times since my hands would shake. i would do so much better if i had the right meds i have now that would help.


a benzo might be good to try, but i would just be careful not to take a high dose (which is sometimes easy to do if you take them for the first few times) since that might just mess up your thought process and you may be forgetful, but not everyone is like that when on benzos.


it's also good to just take baby steps when playing in front of people. start with a few people like your family (not even just an "official" performance in front of them, even just casually playing when they are in the room would help) then move up from there until you can play in front of a lot of people. another good way is to play with one or more other people, you may feel less pressure if you aren't the centre of attention.

good luck! make sure not to get discouraged if you don't do well initially. things can't change instantly, if you just be patient and really stick it out, since it will be hard at first, then you'll eventually get some good results. =)

i always think i should start trying to play my own stuff since music is basically my main obsession and hobby and listening to/reading about/going to concerts takes up most of my time and money. never really sure where to start though and like you i would have anxiety playing.
 

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I have the same problem. I can play piano in front of people if they're talking or whatever, or if I think they're not paying attention, but as soon as someone says "play for me", it's completely different.

I have a vocal audition for the all-state women's choir in two weeks and I'm absolutely freaking out.
 

· Born Of Blotmonað
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The easiest way to train yourself to relax while playing in front of others is to learn cover tunes as it will make them sing along & transfer the performance to the group rather than just you. Then you start to add original tunes one by one & soon you'll have more originals than covers.

I've played a few shows in bars & although I had my nerves about me I managed
 

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Could you 'block' the audience by keeping your gaze averted from them, keep your eyes focused on your guitar and your thoughts on the music?
Try to put yourself in a place where only the music is there and the audience is incidental?
Yesterday I walked past a man who was busking and he was staring into the middle distance, without acknowledging the passersby and those who stopped to listen, he sounded great and I am wondering now if he was nervous too or just lost in the music he was playing.
 
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