How To Play Guitar On Stage

Published: 11th August 2009
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Playing the guitar in front of people may seem easy when it's just a few friends or family, but when it's a crowded room full of strangers waiting to be entertained it's a different story. Standing in front of a large and live audience can be a scary experience, especially if you are a performer.

In this article we will show you some of the tips and techniques to make sure that you perform at the very best of your ability every time you go on stage. These tips have been taken from the experts - those who get up and perform with stability and amazing talent every week. It doesn't matter if you are completely new to performing on stage or you are a seasoned performer, there are a number of things you can do to make the very best of your performance.

1) Ignore the self-doubt. Almost every single musician in the world will hear a little voice somewhere in the back of his mind just before he goes on stage that will say something along the lines of "what are you doing? You can't do this!" Remember that you have worked hard to practice your guitar, and that you know exactly what you are going to play. Have the courage to share your talent with others.

2)Know your repertoire. Once you have a repertoire of songs, it only has to be ten or twelve songs that you play well and enjoy playing, memorize them.

3)Mix it up a bit. Of the ten or twelve songs that you have chosen, make sure that they will please the audience. By this I mean make sure there is a good mix of rhythms and tempos - an audience is more likely to want to listen to a variation of music than a number of songs based around the same chord. Also, the songs that you choose should vary in difficulty as well. This doesn't mean that if it's your first time on stage you should play Flight of The Wounded Bumblebee at full pace. You know what you are capable of, and try and push yourself a little bit. By challenging yourself you will develop you stage skills quicker and more effectively.

4)Distract yourself. Playing in front of an audience means there are going to be distractions. The best thing that you can do is to be ready for it - when you practice at home leave the TV or the radio on - turn the volume up and practice with the distraction. I remember an outdoor concert I attended where a famous band had to put up with the next band in line warming up directly behind them - these things happen when you go on stage.

5)Play easy to start. When you have your mix of songs that vary in rhythm and tempo, make sure you play them in the order that puts the easiest to play first. Many seasoned performers like to begin with a strong upbeat song with a medium tempo - this will get the audience on your side as well as warming you up for the more technically difficult songs later. This way, when it comes to the more difficult songs, your fingers will be nicely warmed up.

6)Sleep! Whenever possible, make sure you get a good night's sleep before any important gig. Sleep naturally lowers your levels of anxiety and increases your concentration, eliminating mistakes.

7) No Alcohol! Alcohol and caffeine can be gig-busters. Caffeine can heighten your awareness, increasing your nerves and making you more prone to mistakes and the inability to put them right. Similarly, alcohol will slow down your reaction time, as well as your awareness. You might think you are playing exceptionally well despite the fact that the audience got bored a long time ago.

8)Be prepared! As much as you can, make sure that all your clothes and equipment are ready the night before the gig, thus cutting down on any extra anxiety on the day. Make sure you have the directions to the gig as well - the last thing you want to be doing is having an argument about where the venue is half hour before you go on stage!

9)Be equipped. If you leave nothing to chance, then you diminish the possibility of anything going wrong that can't be fixed. Stock your gig bag with extra strings and plectrums in your gig bag, as well as extra batteries and leads

10) Relax. What's the worst that can happen? Whatever it is, always tell yourself that you will never play your last gig. Enjoy it. Remember, playing in front of an audience is all part of the creative process. The more you do it, the better at it you will get.

Liam Gibson of LearnGuitar-User-Reviews.com, specializes in helping aspiring guitarists get the info that they need to make the right choices. Liam, a stage guitarist himself, leads his team of guitar experts to constantly review new courses and products in the market and make sure you get the best value products that work for you. Check out actual user reviews and feedback of the most popular guitar courses at LearnGuitar-User-Reviews.


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