My palms were sweating and my heart was beating so fast only to be matched by my breathing. It was just a small gathering with about 40 or 50 people but I had only played my guitar by myself and for my kids up to this point. Yep, this was my very first guitar performance. You see I thought everything had to be perfect before I could show off some of my new guitar skills for others. I had to be able to play every note flawlessly, choose the right songs, and find a way to engage the crowd. I was also so nervous about my appearance. I’m not the youngest or best looking guy out there and I’ve always been shy about the way my teeth looked. It turned out that none of these things matter though. Here are a few tips that I took away from my first experience playing guitar in front of other people.
1. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Make friends with other musicians first and ask if you can practice with them. Then see if they will join you for your first performance. Also, if you sing have someone sing with you or if you don’t sing then have someone there that can unless you are planning on playing instrumental pieces of course.
2. Everything does not have to be perfect. Even professional musicians never get it absolutely flawless. When they mess up they just keep going. Just try to relax and not look so flustered if you miss a few notes. Chances are that your audience won’t even notice.
3. Put in extra practice time. Practice makes perfect and the more rehearsed the music is the less you will have to think about it and the more confident you will be. The more confident you are, the more relaxed. And this all starts with a little extra practice that was well worth it.
4. You look fine. Really you do… Just take a look at some of the popular singers and musicians out there. They come in all shapes and sizes. You can get dressed up or get a haircut, whatever makes you feel more confident but in the end people are a lot more accepting than you may think.
Now here comes the hard part of my story. I messed up a bunch of times, got nervous and totally made a fool of myself at my first performance. The same may or may not happen to you. The key is I didn’t give up and the next performance went better. On down the road I eventually increased my confidence and was able to better my appearance (at least in my minds eye) by getting a new smile. The other thing that increased my confidence was simply experience. The more I played guitar in front of others the more I became at ease with it and you will too. Don’t let the nervous energy or the inexperience stop you from embarking on the journey of a lifetime.