In the recent survey there were two related questions: “How to control stage fright?” and “Tips on playing in front of an audience.”
In looking at the questions it occurred to me a better question is “How to play with confidence.”
Years ago I learned that even when the poles are far apart, there were a lot of people hitting telephone or electrical poles in accidents. Before the accident, turns out their predominant thought was ‘I can’t hit that pole!’ You naturally head towards what you’re focused on.
“How to control stage fright” presupposes you will have stage fright. When I first started playing the guitar, I was very nervous playing in front of people, so I’m not saying it doesn’t exist. I does. You can experience stage fright, but you don’t have to stay there. Stage fright can become a distant memory. Yes, every one of you can learn to play with full confidence.
Here are my suggestions for playing with full confidence:
1. Pick a song that is easy for you to play.
Only play songs that you’ve been playing for a while and that are easy for you to play. If you are learning a new song, wait until it’s easy before using it in public settings.
2. Focus on the Music.
Musicians are artists. Some artists paint with brushes, but we paint on the canvas of sound. I remember playing in a Master’s Class and was so into the magic of the music I forgot there was an audience watching. The applause startled me.
3. Focus on the Creator of Music.
As a Christian, I view life as a gift from our Creator. Regardless of the genre of music, I like playing for Him even when there are lots of other ears listening.
If the music is worship music and it’s in a worship setting, God is the Audience. It’s not about you.
4. Perform often.
Play in front of groups often and you’ll gain confidence through your experience.
This is the most important. Ask your friend to pray for you too. Pray that God would bless and use your music to touch others.
I know that Billy Graham Crusades were always so successful because they got Churches praying together months before each event. You can tell the difference when there has been a lot of prayer.
God has given you wonderful gifts. Go play and create beautiful music with His confidence!