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1st Public Performance. WOW! How did you feel after your first time?

Well, I just tried to play for the first time in front of a real crowd (a little more than 60 folks at my college). Fortunately, I was mostly there to talk about blues music, but I wanted to demonstrate some stuff, which didn't go so well. Fortunately, I had another player who demonstrated what I said.


I opened for two great professionals (Mark Galup and Governor Davis & the Blues Ambassadors). Anyway, the talk part went great, while my playing stank, but I still feel good because I did something that scared me and survived. The pros really like what I said, and told me to keep working on the playing but they were extremely positive and supportive.


Now I know what to work on. I would have liked to play and sing better, but I think that I had to go through this to get to the next level. The feelings during performance were so much different than the what I feel while preparing.


What was your first time like? How did you feel afterwards?

Tags: first, performance

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Hi Jason, and congrats on breaking out into public. I do remember the first time I played in public, and for sure I was nervous. In fact, I occasionally get that same feeling still (30 years and 900+ shows later) when I play for the first time with a new group or act, or even playing a new song for the first time. I kind of like that nervous energy, in fact. But most shows I'm very comfortable and just enjoy making music, no matter how large or small the audience. What I do to ensure that the nervous energy never becomes outright fear, is to ALWAYS be prepared. I always make sure that I know the material inside and out - that way I can just enjoy the experience without any worries. A great way to know if you are prepared is to record yourself. Then you can objectively listen and decide what needs work. Best of luck to you, and go on and get right back out there!
Thanks Greg. I will record myself beforehand next time. I also think I tried to do too much. My playing was OK, until I tried singing. Next time, I'll stick to playing and keep my mouth shut.

However, a couple of the pros invited me to sit-in with them the next time they play at a local blues club. I declined cause I'm not ready, but I'm gonna practice even harder so I can take them up on their offer.

Geez, 900+ shows sounds like you are living the life. Thanks again for the advice.
Yea congratulations for sure. I think it was Bob Dylan who wrote "But I'll know my songs well before I start singing". That's something of a creed that's been stuck in my head for years.
Congrats on playing in public! I think just having the courage to do it is the first step. I will have my first performance on June 5th....Everytime I think about it I feel my heart jump out of my chest! I am glad that you did it and your story encourages me!
Good Luck! The best advice that I got beforehand, was from my singing teacher. She said, "Have fun." When I started to tense up or worry during the performance, I remembered her words, which helped me relax. I also think the joy of trying and enjoying what I did correctly kept the audience on my side.
Thats good advice I will keep that in mind. Thanks!
Yeah I remember my first time playing in public. It was a church I was going to at the time. I took my banjo, and had a flawless pre-church warm up. When it was time to play for the folks, everything went wrong-hands got so sweaty that the thumb and fingerpicks came off and flew across the room, which then caused my timing to be off. Then a string broke. I finally gave up. Some asked me afterwards "what happened, you were great before church". Others just gave me a hug. did not help that my spouse was with me and Geni could play (guitar)and the folks just expected that I would be as flawless as Geni.
And yet you lived to play another day. :)
No, actually it killed my confidence for playing in public for years. I finally got up enough nerve a few years later (at a different church) and had a blast. the bluegrass gospel that I knew how to play on banjo the guitarists at that church did not know, so we just kind of "open jammed it" and it was fun.
Janice! Your story has me so scared now!! lol My church would like me to perform a song soon for them. I was pretty ready to go but now...I may wait a few more weeks. My hands do the same thing.. They get sweaty and my fingers start shaking and go numb! It's like the worst feeling ever!
My first time playing in front of a crowd was just two weeks ago. I was at a prayer group with some of my church friends and they saw that I had my guitar from an earlier guitar class. One of the guys asked me to play, so of course I didn't want to let them down. The next thing I know is that they are inviting me to lead the praise and worship at their next church service. Talk about nerves! I almost bailed on them, but found the courage twenty minutes before the service.
They gave me the control of the mike and all the song choices for the first hour of playing. We ended up playing for three hours straight, with the last two hours playing whatever came out of our hearts. Wow was it awesome! I think that I floated home.
I got invited back to play this weekend for another special service that they are having. I can't wait! Oh and did I mention that I started playing guitar a little less than two years ago. I know that my playing isn't the greatest, but boy do I ever have fun!
Awesome story. Congratulations!


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