I've come across several students who have an obvious ability and love of playing music. Their technique and timing was good and they practiced often. Like so many others they ran into trouble as soon as somebody else noticed their playing. It mattered little who the person was. A stranger or family member would trigger the same crippling respone. Stage Fright. Music that would flow freely would suddenly be hobbled by a hyper sensitive ego more worried about messing up than becoming musical.
I know this state well. For years my playing would suffer from a nervous ego. It would happen just as quickly picking with friends as it would in a live performance situation. But why? Where does this anxiety come from? ("Tell me about your fahzer...") Clearly that answer is subjective and each person brings their own baggage, but if I might boil it down a bit I'd say that most folks want to feel special. They want to feel like what they are doing is great and they don't want to mess up and that fear becomes the focus of the performance instead of the music.
An oversimplification? Perhaps. I'm sure there are several books on the subject but whatever the reasons stage fright can quickly wreck your playing. Its not to hard to overcome it if you're motivated enough. If you find you're having trouble with stage fright/performance anxiety try this...
- Realize most people want you to do well.
- Even more folks DON'T CARE either way
- Perform more often
- "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice."
- If all else fails slam a few shots of whiskey
I hope it helps...