Man vs. Stage

April 21, 2008

Dear Dude,

I love your music and have followed you for a long time. My question is related to performing: Any tips on overcoming stage fright?

Man Vs. Stage

Dear Man Vs. Stage,

I get asked about stage fright all the time. It’s not that uncommon, doing anything in front of a lot of people is hard. Now some of us are natural at it and others need to work through it. History has proven that there have been plenty rockers of both types. Of course, I don’t hold the magic cure for stage fright but, I can give you a few good tips based on my many embarrassing experiences.

The biggest step in stage fright prevention, for me, is practice. Before every tour I play along to my own CD to be prepared. I also rehearse with a band (that helps builds collective confidence which is very important). Not to mention you’re going to be jamming live so you want to be tight and all on the same page. But what really helps me, personally, is that alone time before. To know I have spent the time to make sure I know what I am playing and how to play it on stage, is a big confidence builder. It’s through practice that the confidence to know you are able and ready to rock is born.

My second tip is simple, don’t self medicate. A tip, which is as unpopular as it is true. Drinking a beer, taking a shot, smoking a joint… it all sounds like something you might do if you want to calm your nerves but, the truth is rocking is hard, and when your wasted its not any easier. So heed this advice, don’t get wasted to try and keep yourself from not getting nervous. Sure, I know tons of dudes who jam wasted, and to each their own. Everyone is entitled to his or her own thing, but if nerves are your problem error on the side of caution and don’t mix drugs or alcohol with them. Save the party for after the concert.

Lastly, don’t be your own worst enemy. Being on stage in front of people is hard and puts yourself up for both praise and criticism. Be aware of this. Watch videos; listen to recordings of yourself live and face it head on. It’s by really watching what you’re doing or how you appear that you can see how your art is seen and presented to others. Take that fear and learn from it. Use it to grow as an artist and a person. If you soldier on it won’t be long till you feel comfortable up there and you will have the confidence to know you pushed yourself in a way that only a true artist can.

The Dude