There's no bigger buzz than playing a live performance. Hearing people clap after you've finished playing your song can be VERY rewarding and make all the practice feel even more worthwhile.

Performance tips for beginners:

  • Take a deep breath before you start to perform. This will calm your nerves and stop you playing the song too fast.
  • All beginner performers play the song too quickly. Before you start the song imagine the tempo in your head.
  • Play the first note that you sing, to get your pitch right.
  • Some people will prefer playing to strangers and others will prefer playing to people they know. Decide which situation will suit you best.
  • Your first performance is just like the first time you ever picked up guitar. It will feel strange and you will be out of your comfort zone. Performing takes regular practice, just like anything else in music. In my experience students often feel like there's never a right time to perform. You should definitely make sure you know the song really well and you're confident in your performance, but after that you just have to JUMP IN.
  • If you are going to an open mic night then after your first performance keep coming back every week. Even if you're playing the same songs, it doesn't matter. There'll more than likely be a different audience every week. Think of it like your first day at work/school. At first you didn't know what to expect, you were nervous and everything felt unfamiliar, but as you kept turning up day after day you got more confident with the environment and you started to relax and know what to expect. Play as often as you can, that's my advice for all newbie performers. You will NEVER shake off nerves entirely and this is a good thing.
  • Don't use continued progress as an excuse to postpone performing. I hear this a lot from students. I've heard student say that they'll get on stage once they've mastered fingerpicking or when they can sing a high C. I'm not saying it's not important to make progress, but you can work on this off stage. This goes back to the "never a right time to start performing" idea.
  • Don't completely ignore your audience. Try to practice looking away from the guitar.
  • Perform like you're practising and practice like you're performing.
  • Learn how to take a compliment. Be gracious and ask for feedback.
  • Mistakes (no matter how small) feel a lot worse on stage then what they actually are to your audience. Remember the audience doesn't know YOUR interpretation of the song.

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