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Four Errors Guitarists Make While Getting Ready For Live Performance & How To Avoid Them Before You
By Tom Hess - 01/05/2016 - 09:50 AM EST

Does playing live on stage make you feel anxious? Almost everyone feels this exact way! But it doesn't have to be this way. Whenever you begin to understand how to best prepare for live guitar performing situations, you will enjoy playing live much more.

There are two fundamental aspects of preparing yourself for playing live:

1. Understanding how to practice guitar to make your playing totally reliable, precise and consistent regardless of the situation. (To get a better understanding of how to practice guitar effectively, get this free course on how to double your guitar speed.)

2. Eliminating the common errors guitarists commit when getting ready to play guitar live that hurt your performance.

The following are four of the most common errors guitarists commit while preparing to perform live and how you can avoid each one:

Mistake #1: Not Effectively Managing Tension

Having a lot of tension in your body makes it difficult to play guitar well and nearly impossible to perform live without messing up. It normally develops in two ways:

1. By continually thinking about all the things you don't want to occur as you are playing live (creating tension).

2. By building poor playing habits through improper guitar practice.

If you are unable to eliminate this extra tension, performing guitar live will always be stressful for you.

Solution:Cutting down on extra tension in your playing/performing must be done using these actions:

1. Developing clear and effective strategies for playing guitar without excess tension. This no-cost online course about how to become a much faster guitarist will help you with this.

2. Putting together a mental routine to go through before every playing performance that will eliminate anxiety and stress from your body. One effective approach to use for doing this is to think about all the reasons why you are performing in front of others. You are not trying to “be perfect”, impress anyone or to be judged by others. You do it because you have a strong passion for music and are enthusiastic to share your passion with everyone in the crowd. This mindset change will soothe your anxiety during your performance.

Mistake #2: Paying Attention To The Wrong Things

A lot of musicians let self-destructive thoughts take over their mind. This eventually leads them to commit more mistakes. That said, I’m going to share something with you that the majority of musicians don’t know: your brain cannot tell the difference between the things you want and the things you don’t want. Your brain really only does whatever you tell it to do most often. So if you frequently focus on the fear of not messing up on stage, your brain will increase the chances that you will feel that fear. Then you will become more and more likely to experience it.

Solution: To perform better on stage, think of yourself playing at your very BEST in the last few days before your performance. Focus on visualizing yourself playing without mistakes and enjoying every single moment. Whenever you can do this consistently, your fears will be replaced with excitement and confidence.

Notice: Understand that this positive thinking style will not be a substitute for actually learning how to play with speed and accuracy on guitar, develop flawless technique, etc. That said, it certainly will give you a great advantage whenever you play in front of others.

Mistake #3: Not Rehearsing For The Actual Performance

If you play guitar live with other musicians, you’ll have to work on your individual playing. However, you and your band also need to rehearse not only the music you’ll play, but the stage performance itself. If you don’t do this, it’ll be a major source of mistakes, fear and frustrations. To make things worse, your band will end up looking totally amateur.

Solution: Use some of your band’s practice time to prepare for the “performance” aspects of your live show. Here is a short list of the most critical things to focus on:

-The logistics for how you will alter amplifier settings.

-The logistics for how you will alter your pedal settings or synths.

-The logistics for how you will tune your instruments away from the stage.

-Going over the locations on the stage where every band member stands during specific times of each song.

-Knowing the positions where everyone needs to be at during every moment in the show.

-Your group stage presence during the performance.

-What each band member has to do between each song.

-How the band needs to engage with the audience.

-Communication between all band members during the show.

The more specific you can be, the better. Create your own list of things to prepare for relative to your unique needs and then rehearse the actual show to develop excellent guitar performing skills.

Mistake #4: Not Practicing For When Things Go Wrong

Even if you feel totally ready for a great live guitar performance, mistakes will always happen in one way or another. No one plays guitar perfectly all the time (especially in live performances). Instead, you need to prepare for how you will react if and when you make mistakes on stage. If you don’t do this, ANY mistake might cause an awkward moment and throw your whole performance off.

Solution: Go over the music you will be playing and complete these steps:

1. Find the most difficult parts in the music.

2. Pick out the specific mistakes that might happen during those difficult parts.

3a. Practice diligently to ensure that these mistakes do not come up while playing live.

3b. Make a specific plan for what you will do to avoid distractions if you make a mistake. By anticipating what you will do during the mistake before it actually happens, you will guarantee that it will not throw your entire performance off and make it to where most people will not even notice if you mess up.

Once you combine great guitar practice with a “fail-safe” preemptive strategy for eliminating mistakes, you will remove any fears of performing guitar live and will free yourself to enjoying the show.

Now that you are more familiar with the most common errors guitar players commit while getting ready to perform in front of other people, integrate the tips for solving each one to improve your ability to put on great live performances. Prepare yourself for playing a mistake-free live show by downloading this course on becoming a faster guitar player.

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