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Musicians and performers of all types: How do you feel on stage? are you afraid, confident, fearless or something inbetween?

I wanted to ask this question since being the absolute center of attention is probably the last thing that an introvert wants. It's always been my biggest fear being infront of a crowd, but it's also my biggest dream to be infront of a crowd. I'm a guitarist, singer, pianist and drummer and I've always had huge butterflies before I'm about to play. I get super nervous and can usually barely sit still, constantly going over what I'm about to do. Next thing I know once I have my instrument in hand and I'm walking on stage it all disappears. It's like a switch gets flipped and I feel like I belong up there when moments ago it was the last thing I wanted to do. I lose my self in the music and the atmosphere while I play but when it's over the switch flips back, usually as I walk off the stage. The result is I'm bombarded with people thanking me and it's usually overwhelming since I'm back to introverted me.

How about everyone else?

Please share your experiences about being infront of a crowd and how it effects you.
 

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I used to feel terrible and did fold once which was excruciating in front of a full hall. But I went on a course run by an INFJ (we perform together now in an ensemble) and it really helped.
I was thinking too much about it in advance and letting my nerves become uncontrollable so now I don't think about it all until I'm about to play. Then I'm just thrust into the music and that's all I need to focus on.

Luckily a harp is big enough to hide behind which is one reason I was attracted to it I think!
 

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When I'm performing with other musicians, like when I was playing guitar in a band, it wasn't so bad. I also wasn't the lead singer or anything (lead singer was an ISFP, btw).

When I had to sing the National Anthem at my high school graduation...acapella...I choked.
 

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I usually only feel nervous and anxious before I start, then once I start (if I know what I'm playing/saying) I usually do well. When you're with people especially it becomes easier to close everyone watching out.
 

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I'm nervous backstage. I have to be by myself the whole day before a show and I get feisty and growl at anyone who comes into my personal space that day. I lead the band, sing lead, write the songs, play keyboard - so I had to sometimes organize getting all the instruments to the shows and so forth. I go through the motions, but don't really engage anyone. Right before the show, I wander in a hallway back stage and go into my own world. There are some funny photos of me crouching and hiding under the keyboard & behind the stand looking terrified while sound guys mess around. My hands shake as I touch the keyboard before the first song. But the second the music starts, I become the music. I am just a vessel through which music emerges and I don't think anymore. The only thing that makes me nervous is if I have to talk to the audience between songs for any reason. I look and sound like such a fumbling idiot on the videos. But the audience usually laughs or thinks it's cute. That is the reaction I usually receive after the show.. "oh it was so cute when you talked, you looked so nervous." ha ha. It's not cute on the inside though. But that is somewhat reassuring.

I'm ENFP-Fi :p
 

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I always feel really shaky and like I'm going to vomit, especially if I'm alone on stage. Once I get started though, it's not so bad. Especially once I get to a stronger part of the song (I'm a singer), but the very beginning is the hardest. I also can't make myself make eye contact.

I used to be the captain of the debate team in high school and came in the top 10 in my state a few years in a row, so I did a LOT of speeches, and found that public speaking isn't as hard, because I feel like they are judging my words, not me; however, when I sing, I feel like they are judging me personally which is way harder.
 

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I've been very comfortable in front of crowds since I was a lecturer at university. I don't do it much anymore, but when I need to get up and speak before a crowd, I am either completely prepared or if it's spontaneous I think about the main points that connect into what it is I want to say and then I just say it. It usually comes out pretty good. The thing with me and crowds is, if I am in front on a stage or a lectern, I have enough personal space and I can focus on what I am doing. It's being in the middle of a crowd that paralyzes me with social anxiety.

I am a wannabe musician. I can play anything with strings but lately I have been really focusing on the baritone ukulele to the detriment of all my guitars. I like to play and sing twangy country music, blues, a little rock and a little jazz and bossa nova--but those last two are more challenging in terms of making my fingers do the complicated changes. Anyway, I am mainly a campfire performer and around friends I don't get too nervous. But I am not confident enough in my musical ability to play in front of strangers very often. I was asked to play in a friend's wedding exactly three years ago today. It was outside in the mountains and it was really cold. My hands felt like blocks of ice on my classical guitar. I was playing with a flutist who was a pro and really good. His hands were freezing too. I had to learn three or four new songs that were kind of intricate. The bridal march was Here, There, and Everywhere by The Beatles. Somehow either everybody was just being kind or we actually sounded very good. I was petrified before and my flutist was awesome. He built up my confidence and played so great nobody seemed to notice that my hands were like ice picks.
 

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I get stage fright every time I have to play the piano in front of people. My hands don't stop trembling so everything screws up .___. But when I'm acting on stage, all of that disappears and I become fearless. It's as if nothing else matters but the play, and the feeling is actually very exhilarating. I can't get it anywhere else. I hate being asked to perform or well, do anything in front of a crowd, but when it comes to acting, I'm perfectly okay because I love it. I'm in my school's drama club which is where all my exposure to theater comes from though I've already stepped down.
 

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I've done talent shows throughout my school years, played in a band, performed in front of judges for recitals, and performed in front of hundreds for jazz band in college. I've also done public speaking for large groups, and led talks and meetings for work as well.

I still get a little nerves before I go on, but I remember that fear and excitement are the same feeling. I try to channel that energy. I think of all of the hard work I spent practicing. I think of the struggle and all of the times I felt like giving up. I think of all of that and I think this is my chance. This is my chance to show everyone what I've been working on. This is my shot. This is my moment to shine. I'm going to leave them speechless. And then I go out there and my only goal is to have a standing ovation, to have roars when I'm done, to leave them speechless and wowed. To take them to the edge of what it means to be alive.

That moment when the house lights come on, or when the crowd stands up in applause, or when I hear those cheers... I live for that moment. I could live my whole life in that moment because that is where I really feel alive.
 

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I love being onstage. When I'm onstage, that's the one time I feel really confident, like what I have to say actually matters to people. It's an outlet for me. Off stage, I'm just a shy, awkward weirdo. But as soon as I'm onstage, I get to be someone other than the shy, awkward weirdo. I get to do what I'm good at: music, and just lose myself in it.
I don't really get nervous before I went on, but I did when I was a kid, mostly because I was such a perfectionist and I thought if I even made one mistake, it meant I wasn't a good musician and I'd be instantly transported back to being just the weird kid that nobody liked. But as I got more experienced, I started to have more fun with it.
 
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yeah, once i start, i turn into this charming, funny and 'brilliant' person. It brings out what everyone thinks is the best of me. i prefer being shut up in my room, but making a good impression while performing is a really handy skill to have.
 

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I have had many minor and major roles in play productions before. I love it. I probably would have gone into theatre if I'd had the resources at school or in the community to get serious about it. I love to wear all of the different masks for each character. When I was younger I used to get nervous, but the past few years it just became completely natural. Heck, the production I was in last year, Singin' In the Rain, I barely studied my lines and still went out on stage in front of tons of people and rocked it.
I only get nervous when other people are below my expectations. If the rest of the cast does not show up to practice, has a very quiet voice, forgets their choreography, can't ad-lib, or doesn't study their lines I get soooo incredibly tense and nervous (not to mention irritable!).
Same as when I was in dance- I was only nervous when other people wouldn't show up to recital and we'd have to change our choreography last minute.
I love being on stage. It's like the small part of yourself that comes out to play as an extreme version. If you are cast as a villain, you really get in touch with your negative, bitter, selfish and evil emotions and channel it through your character. When you play a goofy character, you're showcasing your humorous side, as well as your foolish, dumb side (we all have it! ;) ) When your a dancer, you become the most passionate. When I'm on stage, It's like playing pretend, but also letting the parts of you that exist become amplified through the mask of a character, really becoming that character.

If it's not something I'm good at, however- forget it. I remember when I took a few years of piano lessons- when I went up to stage to play my recital piece, I would shake like a leaf.
 

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Musicians and performers of all types: How do you feel on stage? are you afraid, confident, fearless or something inbetween?

I wanted to ask this question since being the absolute center of attention is probably the last thing that an introvert wants. It's always been my biggest fear being infront of a crowd, but it's also my biggest dream to be infront of a crowd. I'm a guitarist, singer, pianist and drummer and I've always had huge butterflies before I'm about to play. I get super nervous and can usually barely sit still, constantly going over what I'm about to do. Next thing I know once I have my instrument in hand and I'm walking on stage it all disappears. It's like a switch gets flipped and I feel like I belong up there when moments ago it was the last thing I wanted to do. I lose my self in the music and the atmosphere while I play but when it's over the switch flips back, usually as I walk off the stage. The result is I'm bombarded with people thanking me and it's usually overwhelming since I'm back to introverted me.

How about everyone else?

Please share your experiences about being infront of a crowd and how it effects you.
I dream of the stage and plot to weave a spell that will leave my songs in the hearts of my audience. When I let my intrinsic essence attach to my performance, I find the inner shaman comes alive. My art is magic and my voice acts as spell caster and hypnotizing channel. I know I've succeeded when I'm clinging to the emotions of my audience, with my energy latching on to each and every being. A web in the honor of my musical essence is formed and the trial is complete, my performance takes on a life of its own
 

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If it's about me, I'll definitely be nervous. But it rarely is.

If I'm reciting something, performing on an instrument, teaching a lesson, etc., it's not about me. It's about the thing. With some things, it's not about the audience enough to be nervous about. If I do the thing very well, it will speak for itself. Teaching, of course, is all about the audience!! The pressure's off unless I'm flat out incompetent, which I'm not.

And just think, some people are totally incompetent, but the audience thinks they're good anyway because they don't act self-conscious (as they should! Have they no shame??). I should never be nervous when I take that into perspective! Students don't care if their teacher is the best rocket scientist on the planet. They care about their teacher liking them and acting with integrity. (I speak more of pre-adult students here. I actually had a rocket scientist as a teacher, and he was real with us, fair, and kind. We had lots of respect for him. At this present time, I wouldn't mind learning from a highly skilled big meanie. Just not for long!)

And whether you're nervous about performance or not, presenting/performing things makes you more experienced at doing that. Everyone can learn how to find their own headspace and deal with nerves. Some people won't have to work as hard as others, but I think everyone can do it with practice. The physiological symptoms of nervousness are the same as excitement. (Hey, it looks like @Stable Genius said the exact same thing in 2014!) Why not give it the more positive sounding name and try to convince yourself it's true?
 
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