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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Grist for the Mill » Stage Fright?

   
Author Topic: Stage Fright?
Crystal Stevens
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I'm starting to get really frustrated. Let's face it, I AM frustrated. I've been trying to find a way to record my Native American flute playing for my friends online. So I went and bought my very first camcorder. No problem there, and using it is a breeze. Unfortunately when I get in front of that camera I worry about getting the song right, and I botch it all up every time. Just this morning I tried 3 or 4 times to record my playing and screwed up every single time. I deleted everything I recorded and quit for now.

I play very well. I've been told this by people who know music. People who get paid for personal appearances. I want so much to share my music online with others, but at this point I wonder if I'll ever get past this stumbling block.

I know this isn't about writing, but I felt a huge need to get this off my chest. Thanks for listening.

Thought I'd add: I've been invited by a lady to play locally for seniors and school children off and on throughout the year. Like I said; I know I can play and quite well. Now if I can just do it in front of that #*^! camera!

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genevive42
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I've done the music thing, as well as public speaking and I understand nerves. Maybe instead of trying to record what you want to put online, you should record a few sessions just for yourself. Practice, as it were. Then you can critique your own performance and just keep trying. That's the nice thing about a recorded performance, you have as many tries as you want. But don't put so much pressure on yourself that the one recording you're doing has to be perfect. It doesn't, and it will never be. I had a band director that didn't want us to come in timid. He said that even you you come in at the wrong time, come in like you mean it because even if it is a mistake, most of the audience won't know.

I can also liken it to the drawing student who draws brilliantly on newsprint, or other cheap paper, but the minute you put a piece of ten dollar paper in front of them, they tighten up and their drawing doesn't come out so good. They're putting too much importance on this single act. They're worried about wasting this brilliant piece of paper rather than just drawing.

With that in mind, I will say that this does relate to writing. If you sit down at the keyboard and say, okay, this story has to be great/perfect/my best, you're going to get so locked up in stress and worry your words either won't come, or they won't be as good because your mind isn't really working on the story itself, but how to create the story. I think that's partly why writers often write crap right after attending workshops. I know the first story I wrote after Boot Camp was horrible. I was thinking about how I should be a better writer now, rather than just focusing on what would make a good story.

These are all forms of stage fright.

And for the live performance, the best I can say is know that your performance isn't going to be perfect and accept that. If you're going to make a mistake, make it big and most people won't even know it's a mistake. Don't be afraid to stand confidently and know you're good at something.

One more thought. Consider the worst case scenario, what would happen and how you'd respond. Let's says you're in the middle of a song and you flub it so bad that you have to stop and pick up a few measures back, or even restart. What do you do? If you have a mic, you say, 'let's try that again' with a smile, or you just smile, then you start over and go on. People will cheer you for overcoming the problem rather than caving into it.

Timidity and fear don't get audience support, boldness and confidence do.

Those are my thoughts. Hope they help.

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EVOC
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I do a lot of public speaking, or did. So stage fright never bothered me.

I did once find myself tongue tied on a live webcam presentation. I used a bit of humor and got past it.

Another friend of mine does great in person, but whenever he needs to record something he messes up. One trick he did was he would turn the camera on, leave the room, and work on something else for a while. Then he would come back in the room after a while, usually an hour. Then he'd sit down and say what he needed to say. He said he would forget the camera was there. The camera was no longer the first thing on his mind like it is when you turn it on and sit down.

And with the digital media it is easy to edit out all that "dead air".

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rcmann
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Try giving the camera to someone else, and ignoring it. Then practice as you normally would. have the person sneak around and take random clips of you practicing, at random times, without telling you about it. Then view the clips and see how well you did. Maybe that will help.
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MattLeo
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Well, I've done a little bit of public speaking. It's rare that I get stage fright, but I've found it's OK if I do. Often those are the times I've done my best work.

For you I think you just need to shoot a lot of footage of yourself playing. I'll give you three good reasons:

(1) You won't feel like you have to nail every performance.

(2) You'll quickly get used to the camera being on.

(3) Sooner or later, just by sheer luck, you'll capture a clean performance.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I'm with rcmann, except that I'd recommend that you have someone do that when you do the performance for the seniors and school children. If you can focus on them and just play for them, you may forget the camera is there and do fine.
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Crystal Stevens
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You folks are all terrific, and I thank you for all the tips and help. Honestly, it's just a matter of me not thinking about the camera and who may be watching it. After all, I don't get bothered stopping in a convenient place in public and playing. I love seeing the reactions of people passing by. Some even throw me a kind word once in a while.

One time when I was at the Shipshewana Flea Market, which is a huge flea market in a tourist town, I sat at one of the food places scattered through the market and played "Londonderry Air". I was all wrapped up in the song and not paying any attention to those sitting at the outdoor dining tables. Actually, I had my back to them, watching the shopping walking about the market. I finished the song and then almost jumped out of my skin when I received a pleasant applause from the diners. It was wonderful.

Anyway, I recorded a song this morning that I felt very positive about, and it came off great. Would you folks like to hear it? I'll be posting it later today for my flute forum and could post it here too. At last something that came out rather well [Smile] .

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Could you post a link, Crystal? I don't know if this forum can support something like music.
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Crystal Stevens
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
Could you post a link, Crystal? I don't know if this forum can support something like music.

That's exactly what I had in mind, Kathleen.
So here's the link:

http://smg.photobucket.com/user/GKredhawk/media/Happiness.mp4.html?sort=3&o=0

Enjoy [Smile] !

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Thank you, Crystal!
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LDWriter2
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Another thread I've meant to add to.

I didn't say anything at the beginning because I didn't have much to add that would be helpful but I'm glad it worked out for you.

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