Helpful Tips and Inspiration for Guitar Performance Anxiety

I always have a heaving postbag, with people eager to ask me questions to help them overcome their guitar-related problems. If you have a question yourself, feel free to ask me anything you like via the contact form on this page.

Whilst I can’t promise to answer every question that is asked individually, I do try to address them in my upcoming blog posts.

 

Performance Anxiety

The first thing to bear in mind about performance anxiety is that you are not alone – everyone has suffered from it to some extent. I don’t care if your name is Steve Vai, John Williams or Paul McCartney, at some point in your past (or maybe in the present day on an ongoing basis) you will have suffered from some level of performance anxiety.

Now you know that you’re in good company, hopefully, that will take some of the pressure off you, which should help you feel a bit more relaxed.
Rest well and eat properly

One thing that I always make sure of is that I am not buzzing from a high-caffeine energy drink or espresso. It may sound obvious, but stimulants can exacerbate feelings of anxiety. This is something that I used to overlook because for some time when I was still a student I used to, shall we say, burn the candle at both ends, which resulted in me feeling drained and worried that I wouldn’t have the energy to give a good performance. What I failed to realize was that a good night’s sleep is far better for topping up energy levels than artificial stimulants.

I’m older and wiser now, so I always make sure I get a good night’s sleep before a gig, and I steer well clear of the energy drinks. In fact, I take this a step further and avoid sugary snacks as well. These offer the promise of an energy boost but in my experience, this is short-lived and can also give me the jitters if I’ve popped a few too many smarties.

Deep breathing and meditation

Another technique that works well for me is concentrating on slowing down my breathing if I start to feel nervous. This is a good way to relax and has a calming effect on the body, making me ready to deliver a top-notch performance. While I’m doing this, I also find it helps to visualize the performance I am about to give. A bit like an athlete visualizing scoring the touchdown or winning the race, picturing myself in my mind’s eye giving a solid, confident performance in front of an appreciative audience really boosts my confidence and allows me to relax.

Motivation and Inspiration

A lot of guitarists find it difficult to motivate themselves to practice from time to time. Whether it’s because they are in a rut and are playing the same old things over and over again, or whether they have hit a wall that they just can’t get pass with technique, we’ve all face it at one time.

I find that the best way to motivate myself to practice is to listen to the songs that I love to play, then I can’t help but pick up my guitar and strum along. Once I’ve got the ball rolling in that way, I find it much easier to practice my scales, or whatever was causing me to lose my enthusiasm.

Incorporating scales practice into my warmup also helps a lot. Viewing scales as a means to an end and keeping my eyes on the end goal helps me to grit my teeth and knuckle down to business. Scales are very important because they are the building blocks that allow us to write our own songs, improvise and they also improve the accuracy and confidence of our playing. Always remember why you are practicing. Partly for fun (I hope), but also to improve your playing and make sure that the next time you are performing, your audience will go wild.

Tell me what works for you!

These are some of the things that help me in my performance and practice. I hope they help some of you guys out. And I hope they help Amanda to overcome her performance anxiety and help her to remain motivated when she’s struggling to put in the hours of practice that are needed to succeed.

What works for you? Leave a comment below and let me know what techniques you have used to overcome anxiety when on stage, and how you keep motivated to practice when there’s something else you’d rather be doing. Let’s have a conversation about this and help each other out. Just type a few lines in the box below, now!

Online Guitar Lessons – The Way to Learn the Guitar

adult online guitar lessonsThere are many different ways to go about learning the guitar, more so today than ever before. The advent of new technologies such as the internet has brought a tidal wave of new learning methods within reach of anybody wanting to learn to play the guitar. These include websites, downloadable guitar courses, interactive software, and video guitar lessons, alongside more traditional books and magazines. In this article, I’ll focus on online guitar lessons, and try to explain why they’re one of the most effective methods of learning the guitar available today, as well as tell you what makes a good video guitar lesson, and where to find them. If you’re looking for a great way to learn the guitar we recommend Jamorama.

Not so long ago, if you were trying to teach yourself to play the guitar, your only option was to rely on books. Books can be a great resource, and you can learn a lot from them, but they have many limitations. They can be expensive and hard to find, and it’s difficult to translate what’s written in a book into actually playing something on the guitar. Today, the internet and high-speed connections have changed all that. Thanks to modern technology such as digital video cameras and powerful computer software, anybody can create high-quality videos and post them to the internet, on sites such as YouTube, for all to see. There are millions of videos across the internet about almost any subject you can imagine. Learning guitar is one of them.

Guitar Solutions – Best Online Guitar Lessons

As there are literally thousands of video guitar lessons on the internet it can be hard to know where to begin looking for the ones you want. There are several different options available to you at this point. Your best bet is simply to type ‘video guitar lessons’ into Google or another search engine. Amongst the results, you are likely to see two or three different types of website. The first type is the generic video hosting site like YouTube. These sites can be a fantastic resource and are completely free, although the quality of some of the guitar lessons on offer is not always that great. The second type of website is a dedicated guitar lesson website. These tend to have better quality guitar lessons but some require a membership fee to access them. The third type, are sites that offer downloadable video course, such as the excellent Jamorama, which can be a fantastic way to learn, working through a complete and well-structured course.

But with so many videos available, how do you know which ones are good or bad? Well, what you’re looking for are videos which actually show, in detail, how to physically play something. A lot of videos, especially on YouTube, are just people showing off their skills. Whilst these videos may be entertaining to watch, they’re not particularly helpful for learning, so watch out for those. The best videos are the real instructional videos, with close-ups, and multi-angled cameras, showing both hands along with clear instructions from the player or teacher. These will be the most effective for learning from.

So, we’ve dealt with what to look for and where to find them, but now let’s look at some of the benefits and advantages of using video as a way of learning the guitar. Being able to see what somebody is doing, and copying them, is a far quicker way of learning something than having it explained to you. By being able to actually see where each finger goes, and what strings to play, you’ll be able to learn things on the guitar much quicker than you otherwise would. Particularly with more difficult techniques, such as hammer-ons and pull-offs, string bending, vibrato, and tapping, having the ability to see exactly what your hands should be doing not only makes it easier and quicker to learn them, but it also ensures you don’t learn improper technique, or develop bad habits that might hinder your playing later on. It really is almost as good as having a private tutor. Plus you’ve got the ability to pause, rewind, and replay the videos as many times as you need, until you’ve got it.

In my opinion, video guitar lessons are probably the best way to learn guitar if you can’t afford, or don’t want, private lessons.

Gibson Learn & Master Guitar Course Review

If you want to learn to play the guitar, Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar course is a great choice. With your dedication to practising for and learning to play the guitar, Gibson’s will guide you down the road to mastering your skills.

Unlike other guitar courses that might guarantee you will learn to play the guitar overnight, Gibson’s has a more realistic approach. They provide you with a group of guitar lessons that can start you from any skill level, even if you’re a complete amateur.

In their guitar lessons book, you will be presented with the songs and lessons in the video demonstrations and more so you have the advantage of practising and learning at your own pace to move on when you’re ready. The book follows the same guidelines the DVD does start at the beginning and ending in the master level.

Here’s an overview of some sessions in the lesson book to give you an idea of what the learning process will be like.

Session 1

-String names

-technique

-tuning

-finger exercises

-c & g7 chords

Session 2

-music reading

-1st and 2nd string notes and exercises

Session 3

-ties

-dots

-repeat signs

-eighth notes

-3rd and 4th string notes and exercises

Session 4

-5th and 6th string notes and exercises

-sharps

-flats

-natural signs

-Am & E chords

Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar dvds has a set of twenty dvds in HD made to guide you step by step to execute your guitar playing skills. The dvd lessons are the determining factor in developing your guitar playing expertise. Each part has detailed instructions where Steve Krenz teaches you the concepts of the day in total. Then there is a workshop where you get hands on practice with the instructor. The screen graphics help you follow along with a menu that normally gives you a one-click access to review any topic or exercise when needed. Gibson’s Learn and Master guitar is an incredible program that’s straight forward and concise with dvds that make you feel your own personal instructor is teaching you right in your home.