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Home Forums Performing Performance Anxiety and Nerves Feeling Anxious?

  • Feeling Anxious?

  • Cindy Chaco

    Member
    16 March, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    A little about my experience with live performances. I first started performing in a band in 2009 for a metal band (I was the singer, front and center) I was so anxious at times I would feel physically ill because of it. as time grew on I became more and more used to it, the compliments from onlookers really helped too. What I would do is just picture everyone as a close friend, even banter with them in between songs, it helped to break the ice and make me and them more comfortable. I started drumming for another band in 2010 and that was much easier. Do I make mistakes? OH YES, am I anxious? Before every show I still feel anxiety. but it does get better the more you do it, to start off slow, just play for a couple of family and friends, then you can start playing in the park, then at the playground for the kids, then take a step up and play on ever-increasing busier streets, then Celtic fairs etc. etc. until you can perform with minimal mistakes due to nerves, keep in mind, mistakes will happen, just embrace it, most people have no clue, and you can pull it off easier on a harp, harps can easily be improv’d. Good luck I hope this helps!

  • Victoria Johnson

    Member
    16 March, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, @cindy.chaco ! This same message keeps coming up in my Talking Harps interviews, and I definitely resonate with embracing the mistakes! The audience for the most part could not tell that you are making mistakes. Like Deborah Henson-Conant says, it is about connection not perfection. 🙂

    • Cindy Chaco

      Member
      19 March, 2021 at 2:57 pm

      100% I love that saying! I think of harp as an instrument that grabs the soul, if you can connect with the listener on that level, that’s what matters!

  • nightthunder Dupuis

    Member
    16 March, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    Note worthy hints @cindy.chaco! Due to covid19 distancing I would try to play something for my sister (over the phone, yuk sound tho!) and I would get so nervous I would get lost in a piece I knew from memory!! I am a beginner and would like to grow from a self nurturing harpists to one who CAN play for others.

    • Cindy Chaco

      Member
      19 March, 2021 at 2:59 pm

      I had a similar experience, My dad came over to my house, I started playing song I could play alone back to front 0 mistakes, but with him around I fumbled and said sorry a lot!! He did not care though and he said it was beautiful anyway. I still have issues, but the more you put yourself out there the more comfortable you will get and eventually the nerves will calm down 🙂

  • Claire Lécuyer

    Member
    17 March, 2021 at 10:35 am

    Hi Cindy, thank you for sharing your experience! I’m also really anxious when I have to sing alone (luckily I’m not a lead singer in any band haha, but do some solo singing sometimes), I feel I’m shaking, not breathing well, etc. I know that it’s something to get used to with practicing… But I note your tips! However, for the moment, listeners compliments still don’t help me ^^

    Something funny for me: I am much LESS nervous to play the harp with people nearby, though I’m a beginner, than I am when I sing; maybe I am far more tough on myself with singing because I’m more trained. And also because voice is something very personal. With the harp, yes I’m anxious too, but nothing similar, and I have a kind of ‘excuse’ to be a beginner haha. Did you feel the same?

    Also, nice to meet a fellow metalhead here 😉 (yeah I know, my profile pic doesn’t show that I’m listening to dark music, I made it for a specific video not yet posted here)

    • Cindy Chaco

      Member
      19 March, 2021 at 3:04 pm

      YES!!! singing was the most nerve wracking experience!! It is very personal and you have all the attention. I would get so nervous with people staring at me. But, you have to put your voice out there, it’s kind of a self-proclaiming experience to be out there exposing your voice to the masses. People will judge you no matter what, you would just have to embrace it. Some people will like it and some not 🙂 and that’s ok. As you defeat your fears you confidence levels go up and you transform into another person, it is quite amazing. People are far more supportive than we think in our own heads.

      • Claire Lécuyer

        Member
        21 March, 2021 at 3:17 pm

        That’s so true! Especially the fact that people are more supportive than we think 😉

  • Amanda Barnes

    Member
    18 March, 2021 at 5:26 am

    I get nervous too especially when I’m playing my violin. I’m still pretty rough with it and actually set it aside for a while so I can learn the harp. I’m much better on the harp! To help me get over nerves, I’ve been practicing in front of my sister. Luckily she’s been really encouraging!

    • Cindy Chaco

      Member
      19 March, 2021 at 3:05 pm

      surround yourself with cheerleaders! people who will be there for mistakes and all at first, violin is the hardest instrument to learn, and I commend you for it!

  • Ann-Marie Conner

    Member
    19 March, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    So this is weird, but eating a banana 30 minutes or so before I play in front of people really helps my nerves. Something about the potassium in them I think? And if it is placebo effect, that is okay too! I’ll take it if it helps!

    • Cindy Chaco

      Member
      19 March, 2021 at 9:24 pm

      very interesting!

  • Ann-Marie Conner

    Member
    19 March, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    I have battled anxiety in performances for decades (playing a flute) and I am really a lot better about it now! One thing that I noticed when I play the harp (and people have sent me photos) is that I look (my facial expression) so worried and tense. I started smiling or even making “goofy” faces when I play in church or anywhere else … and it relaxes ALL of me. I play the harp MUCH better and I am more relaxed if I smile or make weird faces… Try it.

    • Cindy Chaco

      Member
      19 March, 2021 at 9:25 pm

      this is so true!! wow awesome input!

    • nightthunder Dupuis

      Member
      21 March, 2021 at 8:24 pm

      I’m going to try that. Not that I’m on stage but for family and friends. I have been a professional actor & thrive in theater or behind the camera but as a beginner w/the harp and trying to play for just ONE person and “performance fright” gets me! If only the confidence from acting could translate to my harp. I’ll be happy to pass that hurdle!!! (Soon, please soon!)

  • Tanya Stephens

    Member
    30 March, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing your tips and experiences! This is something that has always affected me a lot, I think due to a memory of playing violin in school assembly when I was a child and not long been learning. I have done some public performances in care homes, community groups and church, and they have varied a lot in how they’ve gone. I think partly I am affected by who is in the audience, whether I know them and feel comfortable with them. A massive factor for me, though, is my mental health as I have generalised anxiety disorder and depression along with brain fog which makes it very hard to think clearly. When that all flares up, I may as well be playing blindfolded wearing earplugs and I get in a terrible anxious state!

    I have found that the odd mistake usually does go unnoticed – I used to make a big thing of it and apologise and put myself down and then realised nobody else had noticed. Now if I make an error I just continue playing. It’s definitely all about mindset. Interestingly I seemed to give up performing for people when I qualified as a harp therapist. In my mind I no longer had “student” status to hide behind and started to tell myself I wasn’t good enough because people would now expect more from me 🙄 One thing that has helped is letting people try my harpsicle (I know not everyone is happy to do this, and that’s fair enough) but it helped to realise that even total beginners sound lovely when they play it, and so I can’t possibly sound as bad as I think surely!? 😂

    • Cindy Chaco

      Member
      30 March, 2021 at 3:53 pm

      thank you for sharing and so true!

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