How I Got Over Stage Fright by Accident
Author: Curt Moye
I’ve played in front of small crowds of people for few years. I remember t the first time that I did. I was so nervous. My hands were shaking, I couldn’t think, shoot I couldn’t even remember the old 1-4-5.
I was on stage with Glenn Alexander and Mark Pender at an open jam during the Jazz and Blues Fest here in town. It’s funny I really had absolutely no intention of getting up in front of the 200 or so people packed into the building for the afternoon. We were raffling off a guitar and amp to raise money for music instruction in our community. I got up on the stage to talk to Bill Dye, who is an incredible guitarist for The Hatchlings. I asked if he would play the guitar and show it off in an effort to help sell some more tickets. Bill was more than happy to help out. When he was done Mark Pender told me to come up on stage to talk about the guitar. We started a conversation about it and as we were talking Bill puts the strap around my neck, looks at me and says, “I’m gonna take a break, you play for a while.” Then, he walks off the stage.
Standing there dumbfounded, I leaned over to Glenn Alexander and nervously asked what they were going to play. He asked what I knew. I said I should be able to do a 12 bar blues progression. “Cool” he said, then he looked at everyone else on stage and said the name of a song (that I don’t remember the name of) and everyone started playing. It took about half of the song before I started to get settled in. Man, my hands were shaking so bad I could even hardly move them between chords. But, before I knew it was over. As I came to my senses I noticed that the crowd there was clapping, hooting and hollering.
Relieved, I started taking the guitar off. A friend of mine Mike Hoover got on stage and wanted to know where I was going. I said with a smile “I’m done.” Mike persuaded me to stay and play another song. The second was much easier to play than the first. I don’t mean as far as chords but as far as standing in front of people and performing. We played a third song. At this point I knew the crowd was there but I wasn’t concerned about them anymore. They showed appreciation for what was being performed. I started looking at the crown and playing to them. Recognizing faces and friends and that were watching and having a blast.
Since that time I try and jam whenever I can. There are usually 12 – 15 musicians. Crowds vary in size but a crowd is a crowd. Playing to strangers is much easier today than it was a few years ago and the only advice I can give you when it comes to stage fright is to just get up on stage and do it. It does get easier the more you perform.