when i playing by myself i play perfectly fine, but when i play for someone or someone asks me to play, i get real nervous and i mess up real bad. i feel nervous when i try to videotape myself playing so i always mess up and forget when taping.  even if i memorized the song and can play it with my eyes closed i mess up when i perform it for an audience. my hands shake and i start to feel adrenaline and i kind of talk to myself like "i'm going to mess up pretty soon cuz i'm am really nervous and can't think straight and nervous." when i memrorize a song, i memorize from hand memory. my hands just go to where they need to go without thinking. i wouldn't be able to tell you what note i was playing or what chord/progression i was playing.  i guess i don't have the skills when it comes to performing for people.
There are 11 comments, leave a comment.
have you tried a touch of booze beforehand? i think in your case it would probably help you. i recommend champagne as it seems to give the best "buzz"!
i think you just need to do it more. i bet if you taped yourself all day playing that tune from beginning to end, it would stop making you nervous pretty quick.
it's like fear of speaking in public, or going to job interviews. the first time you're scared to hell. do it everyday and it becomes second nature. speaking in front of a mirror helps.  
for music, i would thing recording yourself and listening. that way you'll have an audience, you! (and it's usually a tough audience too :)
knotty is right.  

also, an occasional wrong notes in public is acceptable. few people are "perfect players". also, try playing background music gigs that should give you some experience and nobody listens in those situations.
how do you play background music?  i only play from sheet music which im not that good at. im not very good piano player. i taped myself playing music and i kept messing up. it took me like 10 trys to play it decent.
jazz+ when i say mess up, im mean that i completly forget how to play the song so i just have to stop playing during the middle of the song.
a few months ago i was learning a chacha tune along with my teacher. he said he had been working on it for 1 month. i can tell you he was sounding real good to me.  
but then he said "nah, i don't know this tune. it'll take me probably close to a year before i even attempt it on a gig"
the point being if you draw a complete blank, maybe you don't know that tune quite as well as you think.  
you sounding pretty good by the way :)

i also agree that if you play in a place where no-one really pays attention, the pressure will go away. head to guitar center (or similar), make yourself comfy and play. there's always someone there to show off their skills. keep playing even if someone else is in the room. if you don't care about sounding good, you'll sound better.

playing or speaking in front of hundreds of people, that's a different story. i believe some people never get over it.
it's not really pressure as much as it is "noise" cluttering your mind - usually thoughts that have nothing to do with the music - thoughts of criticisms and such.  those thoughts create the pressure.

to quote steve gadd:

"ya gotta stay outa your head...it's like going to a bad neighborhood"
#1.  you don't know the music well enough.  learn it inside out, backwards and forwards.  know every single note/chord so well you could recite it to me.  know what it looks like on the keyboard.  practice starting anywhere in the tune.  practice so slowly at first that you always know exactly what's coming next.  "finger memory" is not enough.  it's really dangerous to play on finger memory alone.  one little thing distracts you, and you're done.
#2.  practice your state of mind when you practice, not just the notes.  actually practice being calm and completely focused every time you play.  don't practice mistakes and don't practice unfocused or frantic or any way you don't want to perform.
#3.  what dr. whack said.  learn to quiet and focus your mind.  meditation helps.  it's a skill.  and read kenny werner's book "effortless mastery".

performance anxiety has been my biggest nemesis my whole life.  i am 47 years old, and i am finally starting to overcome it, so i know of what i speak.
andy laverne told our masterclass this past july, "your biggest weakness will become your greatest strength."  because you will work on it so hard and overcome it.  don't give up; it's a skill like everything else!
i agree with cynbad.  what she is describing is musicality.  that comes from what scott says i.e. "owning the song".  finger memory is only the first level.  can't stress enough listen to your favorite artists play the particular song you desire to perform.  eventually there will be songs that you can play in your sleep, and many other songs that require some "wood shedding".  drugs and alcohol work in front of some audiences, but again, that can be dangerous and physiologically does interfere with technique.  meditation can be your best friend because it won't come back to bite you.
breath in
breath out

do that before you start to perform
do it more while you are performing
give it priority over all else.

breath in
breath out.

make sure you are breathing in and breathing out
before you start to play and then
double check.
make as sure that you are breathing in and out while you
perform as you are makeing sure that you are playing correctly.
then double check that you are breathing in and breathing out.
if you do this honestly.  you can begin to overcome performance anxiety.  

breath in
breath out.
take a look in scot's studio at a file i wrote about performance anxiety.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

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