…sucks. In fact, let’s not even give it the dignity of calling it anxiety. Let’s call it what it is: stage fright. We go to play in front of a crowd and we get terrified. Hands shake – the confidence we had in the practice room disappears, and our hands go on autopilot while our brain observer and laughs at us making mistakes we’ve never made before.
Performance anxiety sucks.
Where I’m at school we have a performance class every Monday afternoon. This gives all of the guitarists (about 15 of us) an opportunity to perform in front of people every week. It’s really an outstanding resource, but it certainly doesn’t make performing any easier. In fact, a room full of guitarists is one of the most intimidating situations we can play in!
Here’s my trick: acknowledge the nervousness. Accept it. Move on. And as mistakes happen acknowledge them and let them pass by. It doesn’t matter anymore.
Then be extremely gracious and say, “thanks!” enthusiastically to everyone who says the performance was awesome (even though you disagree with them). This might be the hardest part.