Last week I talked about one of my most embarrassing moments playing guitar.
If you’ve ever played in front of others and it didn’t go so well, you might wonder why it’s so hard.
One reason is because of nerves.
This can cause adrenaline to race through your body.
Adrenaline can make your palms sweaty, your throat tight, and your heart beat out of its chest.
Just the mere thought of others being in your presence as you play can be scary as hell.
Over the years, a lot of students would ask me questions like this:
“Why can I play so much better at home, but when someone is listening, it all falls apart?”
Well, getting get good at the guitar requires many fine motor movements.
We need to become “unconsciously competent” as many teachers say.
…Because when nerves and adrenaline kick in, the first thing to fall apart are these fine motor movements.
That is, unless you have the movements so refined, you can do them in your sleep.
Even then, it’s not a given, as performance anxiety can be horrible.
…But refining the fine movements is key.
To get good at them requires lots of repetition in a controlled environment.
The good thing is though, we all have the ability to improve these skills.
Yes, it takes lots of practice and focus.
…But I’ve never met a student who didn’t get better at fine-tuning their playing and confidence over time – as long as they put the work in.
So, if you want to perform in front of others one day, work on your technique every single day.
Then, it’s all about taking small steps to reduce performance anxiety and build confidence.
Maybe start off by playing to a young grandchild OR leaving your practice room door ajar so your other half can hear just a smidge of your playing.
Baby steps is what it’s all about.
If you’ve ever performed for others at home, church, or an open mic but had a bad experience, it’s a good idea to see if you can learn from it too.
Some of my best breakthroughs (and the same in my students’ experiences) have come from these negative moments.
Keep that in mind – even if you only ever want to play for yourself.
I say that because in all likelihood at some point someone else will want to hear you play, and it’s good to be ready for that moment.
It’s nice to share the love of music after all.
Anyway, to improve the essentials that will give you the skills and confidence to one day play in front of others, you might want to check this out.
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.