It is very easy to get nervous about going up in front of people, and even more frustrating when you see someone else seemingly do that like no problem, doing stuff you never thought of. So what to do?
Have I been nervous in performance recently? Yes of course! Do I compare myself? Oh probably that too, but that’s just natural. You see someone doing what you never thought of and well, now it is thought of and you can choose to slueth it out later. Truth is we all have such different tastes, approaches and physicality so naturally that other guy (or girl) is going to do things you’re not. Like if I see someone who is slapping and popping all over the place or playing complex Bebop patterns on their bass…on one hand it’s like “I can’t do that” but on the other hand, would I actually want to study that music for hours on end? With what I listen to…is that stuff present? No? Well that explains that…
Not to be flippant but it kind of goes into the heart of the other bugaboo of stage fright.
You don’t have to explain anything, feel bad or apologize for anything. What you do (which could be musical or not) comes from your soul, your heart, your study, your world and it’s you. That isn’t going to change so why be nervous. You are doing your work up there so it’s better to be the most relaxed you that you can be.
How do you get there? Practice is the obvious one, but then there’s how to do that. I have lots of different things to work on so I like zeroing in on certain rough parts daily and repeatedly working them until I’m satisfied. I never practice the day of a show on the instrument I’m playing (got that from, of all places…Anne of Green Gables)
So instead of playing my bass, or opening any textbooks respectively, I’ll go for a walk, play piano which I actually started really getting into between sets at a big Christmas gig last year, or even meditation. For the latter…yeah, yeah, get the Calm app. I have the subscription to that one and it’s totally worth it. Going for walks is my magic cure all. I take, oh lots of anxiety in my tummy and so walking is just the best for settling that and if you feel bloated or what-have-you it’s really calming. And for weight loss it’s great as your target range isn’t very high so you can keep healthy while you get centered. Walking to music has been my thing since decades ago. Find music that puts you in a calm (not pump fist in air) state. Or go the other way with it. Before a show, like on the way there, I listen to stuff that’s fun.
Do the practice. Be slightly early. Now just have fun with it.
Just having fun with it 😂