Lila Karash Musician and Teacher at Twin Town Guitars

By Lila Karash, Local Musician and Teacher at Twin Town Guitars

Winter is here, and so are online group classes! Check the Twin Town Guitars Class web page for details about my beginner group guitar and advanced-beginner/intermediate play-along classes. A lot of people like the play-along class because everyone mutes themselves, so nobody else can hear them. That takes the pressure off if you have performance nerves. Speaking of performance nerves...

Performance Nerves are Normal
Here's a thing that I hear about a lot: A student practices a song and plays it perfectly when they're at home and nobody else is listening. But as soon as they play it in front of the teacher or someone else, they choke and mess it all up. If this happens to you, it's perfectly normal! Even playing  in the comfort of your own home in front of somebody on the other end of the internet can be nerve wracking, and guess what? It also happens to me! In fact you've probably heard me mess up lots of times during a lesson. 

Back in my band playing days, it would take me at least two times playing a new song in front of a live audience before I wouldn't mess it up, even if I played it perfectly during practice. Playing in front of someone is a shift in perspective, especially if you're in a public place where there can be many distractions and acoustical variations from what you're used to at home. It takes a while to adapt. Even famous people get nervous before a performance.

One thing that can help: Don't go in cold! Warm up a little bit before your performance or lesson. Each time you pick up your guitar, your brain needs to adjust its spacial relationship to the instrument. Warming up before a performance can help you feel like you're not flying blind when the nerves start setting in. At the very least, you'll feel like you did your best to be prepared. If there's nowhere to warm up before a live performance, practice earlier in the day before you head out to the show (when there is a live show again, of course). 

Remember, above all, nerves are normal, and you are making people feel happy just by playing for them. 

December 13, 2020 — Carrie Bell

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