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Discussion Starter #1
I've been trying to do an open mic night once a week for the past 4 weeks. Prior to that I've been onstage 3 other times in the last year. I'm just an OK guitarist at best but at home or among friends I can strum along and even play different rythmns/parts for the verse and chorus while singing. But get me on stage, well my fingers turn to Pb (lead).

I know it's probably just reps; getting up there and doing it. Any other suggestions?

On the plus side I did 4 original songs last night that were well received.

Thanks,

Jeff
 

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I have been recording one take videos I would send to friends or relatives to underline their birthday for years now : it is weird to see I almost never succeeded in only one take !!! As many as ten trials !!! And I still encounter that nightmare every time !

More curious is that I played quite well (basic arpeggios, no strumming) accompanying "singers" as a kind of karaoke night party with coworkers !

I guess practice is the key...
 
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Hey, if you are playing (even occasionally) in front of people, it puts you in the top 1% for sure. Keep at it and it will get better. The problem with open mics, is that you bring your guitar down, sit in the crowd, wait for your turn, get up, unpack, your fingers are beer bottle cold and there is no warmup time. But the crowd understands that, so just go do it. Again and Again.

Keep up the good work!
C
 

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just record yourself (audio only to begin with ... later add video )

playback will show up weak points to work on

when you feel ready , perform in front of a mirror while you watch yourself ... more will be revealed

when you feel comfortable with your complete performance, you are ready for the stage ( cause you know what you project and what the music sounds like )
confidence will come with practice.

and for those cold beer fingers ... order a homer's "flaming moe" before hitting the stage .
 

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The eureka moment for me was when I realized that 90% of the audience were drunken buffoons who had zero clue that you made a mistake, or you sang the first verse twice, or you’re playing in a different key...and they were still having a great time. When I realized that NOBODY in the audience cared even half as much as I did about what/how I was playing it completely freed me from any feelings of nervousness or jitters.

That combined with being adequately prepared and you should be fine.
 

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Noodle around a bit before launching into the song. Vague strumming, bit of a scale, anything. Don't be afraid to fake some kind of intro for a while. If its in the right key the audience will lap it up.

This kind of behaviour puts me in a more casual mode. And it makes it even better when you start to get serious about the song.
 

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Once you realize 99% of the audience won’t know you’ve made a mistake it gets a lot easier. I don’t think I’ve ever had a perfect performance. The worst thing about performing is when you have a really off night and people come up afterwards and tell you how good it was.
 

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Open mics are harder than real gigs. You're tossed in whenever and you have four songs (or three) to establish your persona and begin interacting with the audience. Half the audience is other musicians who will jabber like assholes no matter what. You usually get one song of relative quiet and then, unless you're exceptional, they'll turn their attention back to each other. The sound will be bad to marginal. There's one going on at my favourite pub as I type this, but I won't go unless I'm selling myself. When I lived in Ottawa there was a "hootenany" at the Jack Purcell Centre. It was alcohol-free and promoted a real sense of community. But any others in my experience? Bah, humbug.
 

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Keep doing what you're already doing going up more often. In time that nervousness (? unsure) will stay but it'll turn into into a positive energy. Positive feedback from the crowd always helps. Positive feedback from yourself, to yourself, on the POSITIVES of the performance will go even further.

And take this right out of your vocabulary:
I'm just an OK guitarist
You're doing something that not a lot of people can do up there in front of others, so you aren't just OK. Your fucking killer!

Attitude wins.
 

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As my son says:"The only thing that is embarrassing is if the performer is embarrassed." We have all seen the pro's capitalize on their blunders and turn them into entertainment.
 

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Lots of good advice here. Preparation is the best defense. Visualizing an audience when rehearsing can help. Everyone at an open mic knows what it takes to get up there and do your thing. Keep at it. A few years ago I was in your shoes - now I have a weekly paying gig as an open mic host. Once you get a bit more comfortable, check out some other open mics - they all have a different vibe, and different challenges (and different networking opportunities, if that's your thing).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Had another go at it last night. Ordered a coffee to keep my hands warm. Kept telling myself I'm fucking killer (thanks @Dorian2 ). I felt a lot more solid up there. The host commented saying I sounded really good. Lots of crowd feedback; and someone knew who Townes Van Zandt was!

Thanks all. If you're up near the Cooper Kettle in Waterdown on the 1st or 3rd Wednesday of the month, stop in. I'll likely be there.

Jeff
 
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