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  1. #1

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    hi guys, i have been invited to play with best jazz musicians in my town at local club and thats great, last monday i was there and they ask me to come on stage and play couple tunes man i was like paralized i couldnt name one standard my mind was empty.I didnt play that night but i want next monday and when i practise at home nothing sounds like it should be i mean like how i know to play, total blackout.I dont drink, dont use drugs to calm me down nothing like that ,so please any advice or expiriences on this subject are welcome ( sorry for my bad english)

    all the best Kerim

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  3. #2
    Baltar Hornbeek Guest
    you must go up on stage, completely bomb, and face utter humiliation .

    ....and then you'll either run for the hills , or realize you've survived the trial by fire.

  4. #3

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    The best thing I can suggest - I also am paralysed with stage fright - is don't try too hard. We are extremely harsh critics of our own performance. We forget that most of the people in tha audience aren't professional musicians or academics or music critics. They just want to hear some nice music.

    I've listened to a couple of the tracks on your MySpace page and you are plenty good enough to play in bars. You could play material that you consider "very basic" and you will still sound good.

    Tell yourself, "I'm not going up there to cure cancer and split the atom, I'm just gonna play a couple of tunes."

  5. #4

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    Here's a little trick that may help you: anxiety & excitement are very similar. Just try telling yourself that you are excited about playing, very excited. As you play more often, you'll be better able to deal with your emotions. To feel better playing in front of people you need to play in front of more people. Try playing for friends or at small gatherings of friends.

    Also, prepare yourself. Pick a standard or two (and practice it like crazy) and mentally picture the gig -- you getting up on stage, you calling the tune, you playing the tune, etc.

  6. #5

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    Stage fright is too much adrenalin in the blood .... thats all
    Use the extra energy to practice some tunes now so you'll
    know them r e a l l y well ...........
    know them really well and you'll be fine

    If you're calling the tunes , you set the tempos and Keys
    write the names of the tunes down
    make sure your gear is functioning properly
    make everything easy for yourself on the night

    It was scarey for everyone the first time
    maybe every time ! but it gets better every time too

  7. #6

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    I can tell you something that will help a lot. I learned this when I had to do a lot of public speaking. It's a mantra I read about in a book by stage actress Dorothy Sarnoff.
    The mantra is four sentences that you say in order, over and over. They aren't magic. They aren't meant to be magic. They're meant to focus the energy underlying your anxiety on something else. Something that will help. You can practice this all the time but especially do it when you get to the gig. Look around. Say these four sentences to yourself (silently) over and over.
    1) I'm glad I'm here. 2) I'm glad you're here. 3) I care about you. 4) I know that I know.
    Repeating this will relax you. Also, when you do this, you stop seeing the audience as critics looking to find fault and realize they are people like you hoping to enjoy the evening. You feel more benevolent toward them. They register to you as individuals and seem much less frightening.
    The "I know that I know" line is especially good for speakers, who are prone to anxiously think just before being introduced that the crackpot idea that just popped into their head is better than what they prepared. It's not. That's just anxiety talking. You don't want to listen to it. To keep from hearing it, you have to give yourself something *else* to listen too.
    By the way, don't just start this the night of the gig. Do it today and tonight and tomorrow morning, all by yourself, or while walking around the block. If it helps--and this often helps with musicians--you can trace a circle in one palm with the index finger of the opposite hand. Any regular, rhythmic motion should help still the nerves. But it isn't just about stilling nerves; you need to realize that you *are* prepared for this gig, and that your playing is worth hearing. You may not be (-insert idol's name here) but you're good enough to be invited up onstage by good players who know you belong there. Accept it--you do.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banksia View Post
    The best thing I can suggest - I also am paralysed with stage fright - is don't try too hard. We are extremely harsh critics of our own performance. We forget that most of the people in tha audience aren't professional musicians or academics or music critics. They just want to hear some nice music.

    I've listened to a couple of the tracks on your MySpace page and you are plenty good enough to play in bars. You could play material that you consider "very basic" and you will still sound good.

    Tell yourself, "I'm not going up there to cure cancer and split the atom, I'm just gonna play a couple of tunes."
    Absolutely. I listened to some also and you can absolutely cut it. Just relax.

    We've all been there. When I first started playing out I had a gig with a piano player; one night as we were preparing to hit someone in the club said "That's a nice tune you're playing." I was tuning my instrument. I never had the same fear of the audience again.

    Jams can be tough because of the cutting session aspect and the vibing that goes on. Some guys think they're Lester Young and it's 1945 at Mintons instead of the back of the pizzeria with five other musicians listening. Learn not to give a f--k. Just get up and do it to the best of your ability. The fact that you've been invited to play is a definite plus; at least you're not going in cold.

    Most people think that Bird is something that sings in their backyard, Miles is what they drove to get to the club, Monk is a show on USA with Tony Shaloub and Coltrane is a big boxcar that runs alongside the Erie Canal.

    And like Banksia says, it isn't rocket science (though you wouldn't know from some of the posts on this forum), just music.

    Good luck!!
    Last edited by paynow; 02-04-2011 at 03:21 PM.
    Barney Kessel was asked, “What’s the hardest thing about studio work?” He replied, “Finding a parking place.”
    "I don't know what other people are doing - I just know about me."- Thelonious Monk

  9. #8

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    Remember that people WANT you to do well, and generally they don't care if you are not perfect. It really is only experience that will get you over it. So-if you're a religious person, a quick prayer will help. If not-do what I do and call on the energy of the universe and take big, deep breaths for 2 minutes before going on. Try and look at a point in the crowd-or a point on the wall behind them. Keep your eyes open. Remember to breathe!

    A little trick I learned from a well known singer is to go on stage with a sort of expressionless face until you actually face the audience, then flash a huge beaming smile. When you smile, people smile back-it's a psychological thing, and they can't help themselves. That automatically leads to them being open to you.

    p.s.-that trick works well in a bar picking up the ladies as well-we tested it and it works every time as an "opener". Read this, and when you re-enter the real world try it on your partner, kids or parents-just keep your face neutral, then all of a sudden flash a big grin-I bet you they smile back!!! "They usually go "What?. What's so funny? Tell Me!!"

  10. #9

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    picture the audience naked, and wearing black socks.

    I'm only partially kidding...it's an old "public speaking" trick.

    Other than that, remember, there's no crime in "laying out." Go in with a few tunes in mind that you know you can nail. Hopefully one will get called or you'll get a chance to call a tune.

    As for drinking and drugs, all those do is cloud perception. You'll still suck, you just won't notice as much. People forget that...I say "Good on you" for not partaking.

    I'll be the first to admit I'll sip a scotch as I play, or in-between sets, but I'll never play on stage while intoxicated...and I expect the same from the people I play with.

  11. #10

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    Just get up and do it, as soon as the downbeat hits it all goes away. If you need to make a note of a couple tunes to call and put it in your pocket. But the only way to get over it is to just do it.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  12. #11

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    thanks so much for quick responses, really appreciate it, it makes me feel better already

    Baltar
    i will go definitely, have to because i love to play jazz its now or never

    Banksia
    agree with you totally, audience here dont know s..t abot jazz and im not going to split atoms lol, but Ill stick to basics, thanks a lot man

    Stackabones
    thats a really helpfull thing, anxiety & excitement similar stuff, that could help also ill try that for sure, thank you man

    Pingu
    Yes man im pratcising as hell these days, there is so much thing i want to show but i have to keep it simple for this time anyvay thanks a lot

    Markerhodes
    im alredy saing it I'm glad I'm here, I'm glad you're here, I care about you, I know that I know,this could help, thanks so much

    Paynow
    talking about some audiences lol, you were tunning guitar heheheheeh
    thanks for cheering me up

    Billkath
    just did that trick to my brother and it works, ill smile keep up the positive energy thanks so much
    Last edited by abdke99; 02-04-2011 at 04:22 PM.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    picture the audience naked, and wearing black socks.

    I'm only partially kidding...it's an old "public speaking" trick.

    Other than that, remember, there's no crime in "laying out." Go in with a few tunes in mind that you know you can nail. Hopefully one will get called or you'll get a chance to call a tune.

    As for drinking and drugs, all those do is cloud perception. You'll still suck, you just won't notice as much. People forget that...I say "Good on you" for not partaking.

    I'll be the first to admit I'll sip a scotch as I play, or in-between sets, but I'll never play on stage while intoxicated...and I expect the same from the people I play with.
    lol just saw that trick on TV minute ago some program about great public speakers, politicians etc. Ill picture gilrs that wont be the problem lol
    thanks mr.beaumont

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop View Post
    Just get up and do it, as soon as the downbeat hits it all goes away. If you need to make a note of a couple tunes to call and put it in your pocket. But the only way to get over it is to just do it.
    thats so true, last time it was about year and half ago i played with same people, same thing happened to make things worse they caled my name on microfone so i had to go, but when it all started it was just me and music.
    thats right, only way is just to do it
    thanks man

  15. #14

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    I look at this way: when you stand up there on stage, you know that you have been playing guitar for enough years to doing what you're doing. You've held that same guitar in your hand many, many times and you're comfortable with it. You've been playng the same chords for a long time. So don't worry about the audience. They are there to enjoying your talents.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by abdke99 View Post
    ...when i practise at home nothing sounds like it should be i mean like how i know to play, total blackout...
    Good evening, abdke99...
    A familiar story; we all recognise this, and it's normal...
    My tuppence worth... If you're to play Monday, don't practice this week-end the stuff you'll be playing. Instead, dig out Volume I of whatever method you prefer, or your 1st year notes from your teacher, and go over from the beginning the whole rudiments thing. Don't dwell on anything (unless inspired to...), just refresh your subconscious of all the things you've acquired, and that you've forgotten that you've acquired. Do this diligently, but lightly (this is not intense study, just a refresher course...). If you get through Vol I, continue through Vol II, and so on. Take pauses/breaks, go outside and walk about (chat to passing pretty girls...), and enjoy the week-end.
    You may want to go once or twice over your repertoire; it's not forbidden, but don't 'work' on it. You don't need to, now.
    Most importantly... Enjoy Monday evening (and any chatting to pretty girls that you meet there...).
    Hope this helps...
    Have a nice day

    Dad3353 (Douglas...)

  17. #16

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    Some good advice.

    I would give my screed, but I got tired of writing it all out so I just wrote it out in an essay on my web site. You can check it out if you'd like:

    http://www.kevinsmithguitar.com/sub/ts_sf.html

    Peace,
    Kevin
    1963 Guild AS-500 with a floating Benedetto pickup voiced for bronze strings.
    http://www.kevinsmithguitar.com
    http://www.youtube.com/ksjazzguitar

  18. #17

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    Great article Kevin! Thanx for sharing.

    Of course, there's always Kenny Werner's book "Effortless Mastery" also.

    One thing from Kenny got stuck in my mind - and it helps - and that's him saying that making music is all about having fun. What fun is it if you fear playing in front of an audience (or more so: playing in front of musicians who will judge your playing) so much that it becomes a heavy burden? You better stop performing in public then.....

    That's what helped me, I made myself a deal: I was going to have fun on that stage or I would stop performing...... well, I'm still performing AND I'm having fun doing so! It's a mind trick, the second you feel the fear coming up an anti-reaction in my brain says "Stop, go away, I want to have fun".

    And I have a little - a bit embarrassing, but I'll share it - ritual: I 'invite' Wes, Grant, Miles, Charlie, (well, their spirits) to come and play thru me. I don't believe in the supernatural and I am not religious, but it helps. I guess it's kind of similar to Kevin's imagining you're someone else.

    Oh, and I can recognise stage-fright in fellow musicians too, so I try to help them relax. Usually giving them a compliment on their playing relaxes them enough to realy make them play better!

    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group ::
    ::::::: Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! :::::::
    :: Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva & The Tracies :::

  19. #18

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    You have gotten alot of different approaches to the same underlying experience. Soemthing I have found useful recently is a meditation technic called Mindfulness, easily accessable on the net. It is comprised of several exercises designed at learning how be aware in the here and now and thus how to avoid getting caught in all the head thoughts that keep us from being here and now. If this serves any help, Im happy.

  20. #19

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    thanks for all the help, Caravan, Douglas, Kevin(thanks for essay, great site), Little Jay, Ozoro really helpful advice, bottom line is for me whats the point of all practice if we are not going to play on stage,

    my english is limitating me to expres lots of things so dont mind me for short replies

    just to say one more time really appreciate all the help

    Kerim
    Last edited by abdke99; 02-05-2011 at 09:38 AM.

  21. #20

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    I found for me nothing fixes Stage fright better then a few things.

    First, not caring. Yeah, not caring if you make a Mistake. First thing most people fear is creating some colossal error that train wrecks everything and looking like an utter ass. But guess what, the chance of you making a mistake is probably %95. The chance of someone noticing that mistake is maybe %10 and the chance that it has any insanely adverse effect on the performance is %5. You're going to screw up on stage, everyone does even the legends make little mistakes and it just blows off of them like dust because it doesn't matter.

    Preperation, self preperation is the best medicine. That might be practice, having a drink or a kiss from your significant other. Who knows what it is. One must find it for themselves. It's something that puts you in a place where you are ready to play. Most people who panic or lock up on stage do so because mentally/emotionally at that moment they're not ready to play. Doesn't mean that they won't be in 2 minutes but that moment of indecision can feel like an eternity if they don't have the ability to cope with the fear.

    Here's a personal story for you.


    When I was young and in Highschool I had a rock band that played 90's grunge music (cuz it was the 90s) and when we got our first gig I was excited to get to play my guitar loudly and for all my peers. I had been playing Music of some sorts all my life so this was not my first rodeo but this was the one that I actually got to do music i was into, and I was nervous. When we got on stage little to my knowledge by the bassplayer, new to the band was High on whatever (don't know) and when we started playing our first song he played it at a tempo half of what we all were playing at. We stopped on stage and went to start again. I was mortified as you could imagine. We restarted (valiantly) and he still had not clued into the tempo, still playing his own stoned tempo. Then, we stopped again and my Amp blew a fuse.

    I was dumbstruck really and we walked off stage to a smattering of applause. I went to the mic and hollared "don't clap, we SUCK".

    I knew at that point backstage that nothing could have possibly gone any worse and from that point on... smooth sailing.

    So the idea that going up there, failing so that you know that in the end it means nothing really helps too
    Jake Hanlon - Jazz Guitarist, Composer and Educator
    Website - Buy Music - Youtube - STFXU

  22. #21

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    thanks Jake for sharing story had some similar experiences in my highschool days.

    take care Kerim

  23. #22

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    I was speaking to one of my old Theory teachers about stage fright and this is what he basically had to say:

    Stage fright being a form of panic, will kick in your "Fight or Flight" responses. He said that one of the reasons you sweat is so that you have a better chance of slipping out of some sort of body lock/hold, and something about your veins contracting so you don't lose as much blood if you have a limb severed.

    I know I haven't explained it nearly as well, but after conceptualizing why I was reacting the way I was, playing out is not nearly as bad.

    Another thing that I found helpful was something I read out of Mark Levine's Jazz Theory book:

    "No one knows what you are going to play next!"

  24. #23

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    As far as my personal experience goes with gigging out and whatnot, I find that I get most nervous when I think about it. I'm up there thinking about this or that, or the how-to's and do-not's. I actually recall being up on stage nervous as all hell, and realizing that it was precisely because I was thinking too much.I let my heart do the playing and everything went well.


    Don't get me wrong though, you WILL crash and burn. Maybe not next time or the time after that, but it's going to happen eventually. And that's alright, there's good days and bad days, stale and exciting ones too. Laugh it off, learn from it, and come back harder next time.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay View Post
    ...Of course, there's always Kenny Werner's book "Effortless Mastery" also....
    Yes. Also The Inner Game of Music is a classic. Also The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart has some good stuff in it.

    Peace,
    Kevin
    1963 Guild AS-500 with a floating Benedetto pickup voiced for bronze strings.
    http://www.kevinsmithguitar.com
    http://www.youtube.com/ksjazzguitar

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silence View Post

    "No one knows what you are going to play next!"
    thats great man

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by ksjazzguitar View Post

    ...essay on my web site. You can check it out if you'd like:
    great site and playing also, lots of useful material, good to have guys like you here
    take care
    Kerim

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by musicjohnny View Post
    I let my heart do the playing and everything went well.
    i like that

  29. #28

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    Read Kenny Werner's Effortless Mastery.

    This is a long term "problem" that involves ones feelings about him/herself, preparedness, confidence, personality type, perceived threat, ability to stay centered, ability to practice relaxation, ability to remain inner-directed under fire. People deal in different ways with this, but I know many friends, and myself, have benefitted from Kenny's book as a starting point.

  30. #29

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    Very good topic...I was reminded that I have not read "The Inner Game of Music" so I just went to ebay and bought it.

    I also found "The Art of Practicing" to be helpful, as someone mentioned above. Great post! thanks!

  31. #30

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    I just come back from club and for me it was good because i enjoyed it, played mr. pc and billys bounce my legs got little bit shakey in begining but after it was ok, i dont know how but i didnt have that paralizing fear like before, atmosphere was diferent somehow i get over it as soon as first drum beat was played.This one i owe to you guys, you helped me. Got invited to play next monday

    All the best
    Kerim

  32. #31

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    I just come back from club and for me it was good because i enjoyed it, played mr. pc and billys bounce my legs got little bit shakey in begining but after it was ok, i dont know how but i didnt have that paralizing fear like before, atmosphere was diferent somehow i get over it as soon as first drum beat was played.This one i owe to you guys, you helped me. Got invited to play next monday

    All the best
    Kerim

  33. #32

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    outstanding thread

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by abdke99 View Post
    I just come back from club and for me it was good because i enjoyed it, played mr. pc and billys bounce my legs got little bit shakey in begining but after it was ok, i dont know how but i didnt have that paralizing fear like before, atmosphere was diferent somehow i get over it as soon as first drum beat was played.This one i owe to you guys, you helped me. Got invited to play next monday

    All the best
    Kerim
    For me Mr. Pc is magic. A couple times that I played on live gigs, I was kinda nervious, but we started with that song and I just started to have fun and get relaxed, don't know why, but that song releases the tension very good.
    Excuse my bad English!

  35. #34

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    Great! Really happy to hear that Kerim. All the best 0zoro

  36. #35

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    That great to hear, I love the adrenaline rush after a good gig.

  37. #36

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    Congrats, Kerim! Cool that you've been asked back, too.

  38. #37

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    That is so awesome. I'm going to go to bed with a smile on my face just hearing about it. I'm so happy for you.

    Peace,
    Kevin
    1963 Guild AS-500 with a floating Benedetto pickup voiced for bronze strings.
    http://www.kevinsmithguitar.com
    http://www.youtube.com/ksjazzguitar

  39. #38

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    Congratulations!!!

    Now-watch out for that adrenaline in the future gigs. After the rush comes the down-realize it's just the adrenaline. After most gigs these days I just go and get a cigarette on my own somewhere quiet, just to let it flush from my system.

  40. #39

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    Glad it worked out! All you needed was that confidence. "Mr. PC" and "Billie's Bounce" are great choices; two of my favorites to play on a job. In most of the places I play they think "Mr. PC" is the name of the local computer repair company.
    Barney Kessel was asked, “What’s the hardest thing about studio work?” He replied, “Finding a parking place.”
    "I don't know what other people are doing - I just know about me."- Thelonious Monk

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by paynow View Post
    "Mr. PC" is the name of the local computer repair company.
    lol

  42. #41

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    thanks everybody for support really means a lot to me

  43. #42

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    I have a follow-up for this post. Having now read both of the Inner Game of Music books, I can say without reservation that I do not recommend them for dealing with performance anxiety issues. They struck me as fadish pop psychology books with their own language and a system for basically ignoring important parts of onesself. In a nut shell, I found Kenny Werner's Effortless Mastery book to be much more in line with depth psychologists who aim to integrate all aspects of onesself, "warts and all". That level of integration and honesty - I think - is more in keeping with the making of real music. I think Bruser's "The Art of Practicing" is a helpful book too, very honest. The Inner Game books just felt too much like a corporate seminar to me, and also very dated, like 70s and 80s pop pyschology.

    I put both Inner game books in the recycling bin...I did not want to pass them on.

  44. #43

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    I have a follow-up for this post. Having now read both of the Inner Game of Music books, I can say without reservation that I do not recommend them for dealing with performance anxiety issues. They struck me as fadish pop psychology books with their own language and a system for basically ignoring important parts of onesself. In a nut shell, I found Kenny Werner's Effortless Mastery book to be much more in line with depth psychologists who aim to integrate all aspects of onesself, "warts and all". That level of integration and honesty - I think - is more in keeping with the making of real music. I think Bruser's "The Art of Practicing" is a helpful book too, very honest. The Inner Game books just felt too much like a corporate seminar to me, and also very dated, like 70s and 80s pop pyschology.

    I put both Inner game books in the recycling bin...I did not want to pass them on.

  45. #44

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    Do what you need to do to get up there but don't look the people in the eye. Eye contact makes it all so personal between you and the audience. Act like you are looking at them but don't. Look above there heads and smile.

  46. #45

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    I figure the audience should be the one that is afraid of me....