I am looking for comments, advise, or just general discussion on this (maybe support..haha).
I have been playing for about 8 years - and I feel like I have pretty good general technique (posture, hand position, picking, etc...) - Once I warm up I feel I can pull pretty good triplets or trems without tripping up most of the time, my picking is light and feels good....all while I am at home by myself.
So here is the kicker... When I'm playing on stage or in some performance environment, it's like my basics go out the window - my pick slides around, my triplets get caught on the strings, my left/right hand sync feels off... I just generally play worse.
I play in a band - have been for many years - so I don't really have issues with stage fright..(not consciously anyway)
I can only surmise that this is due to not relaxing - or that "something" is different when I play out vs. at home practicing... something mental?
It's really starting to wear me down mentally - and I feel like it's a wall I need to get over before I can get any better. I've gone back to 'the basics' - doing scales, playing slowly, working up to speed with a metronome.... and I feel I'm improving actually - but only in the privacy of my home...
Anyone else run into this? Any ideas, words of wisdom, jibes, or anything? Love to hear :)
In my experience you only need a slight adrenalin surge to lose fine co-ordination. As well as this, there are lots of distractions on stage, even if it is a good gig and everything is flowing.
I think all you can do is to try and visualise yourself doing well before going on stage and just relax into the music as much as you can when you are up there. Don't think about where you are - just enjoy playing the tunes.Most of the small mistakes we players notice are not picked up by the audience, so don't think about them. For big mistakes, always blame the accordian player!
I am much better at public playing than I used to be, but that is mainly because my doctor has me on beta blockers. They are fantastic for helping find the space in the music!
Good luck on your quest!
Thank you Grey! Agree with everything - just need to learn to put it into practice :)
I guess blaming the accordian player might also make more sense then glaring at the bodhran player... :)
HI, Your experience sounds similar to my own, though I am still a beginner, only playing a couple of years. I can play ok most of the time alone, but as soon as I have a audiance my triplets, and timing go out the window. Sometimes I play in a band and I dont do too bad, but if I have to do a solo piece, then something will go wrong. I agree, relaxing more has helped a bit. I seem to hold tension in my shoulders, and it makes it's way down to my hands. I hold the plectrum too tight and instead of movement coming from my relaxed wrist, it moves to my tense fingers. Result,= Shame and embrassment.
Relaxing has helped a great deal, I have tried the old Public Speaking trick of picturing the audiance with no clothes on, but that just led to more distraction, and jamming triplets.
The only cure for me I fear is just more practice, and challenge myself to move out of my comfort zone.
Best of luck
This is my first post here, so apologies if I am breaking rank or the like! Just to add my two cents
I have experienced the exact same thing, I believe it is down to tension, the greatest enemy of relaxed playing. Slow practice, with a concious effort to relax definitely helps.
I found this book very helpful: http://www.amazon.com/Effortless-Mastery-Liberating-Master-Musician...
I surf quite a bit, and there it is all about the speed of response, ie everything sub-concious in terms of economy of movement. I started to think about this in terms of banjo. I developed a relaxation reflex if you like, and then practiced it.
When I sat down to practice I would take a really easy tune and try to get into an almost meditative state, by really focusing on breathing, slow deep breaths,
followed by rolling my shoulders and dropping them,
then letting my elbow go,
then being concious of my fingers being very light on fretboard,
then my wrist and finally that my pick hold was very light.
I found old time tunes excellent for practising this. Eventually the concious breathing triggered the other responses without thought. Now when I play live, as soon as I notice tension I focus on breathing and all the other parts of the routine happen, allowing me to play 'through' the tension.
I still get tense playing from nerves, but this 'reflex' action has helped enormously!
I'm really interested to hear other ideas! best of luck with it