All too often I hear
people complaining about their performance the night before and how much
they messed up.
This doesn't have to
The key to success
is practice and in this lesson I'm going to share with you my own
First thing is
first, find a venue to play in. This could be in a coffee house or
opening up for Led Zeppelin (whichever you prefer). If you can try to
get gigs a few months in advanced so you have the correct time to get
you and your guitar ready. If not don't sweat it, we have a solution for
Step 1: Find a quite place and set up shop. Try to
make this a place without distractions such as a TV or computer. Spare
bedrooms always seems to do the trick. You want uninterrupted silence so
turn the ringer off the phone. If you have to be by a TV turn that off
Step 2: Warm up. I cannot stress this enough. You
could do serious damage to you hands (like carpal tunnel syndrome) if
you don't take the right amount of time to warm up. If you're wondering
how much time the answer is there isn't a limit. Some professionals can
take up to 45 minutes! However, that won't work for you if you're short
on time. So I recommend this very famous warm up. Take it up and down
the fret board once and you will be ready to rock.
Tip #2 Now
it is time to take out what you will be playing. Play the piece through
once (yes even if it doesn't sound like anything it is supposed to sound
You may also find it
helpful to listen to the piece if it has been recorded on CD or Tape.
Then you start at the beginning on measure at a time (a measure is a
piece of a song that is divided). You then repeat it over and over until
you get it right or feel comfortable.
This is what
musicians call "wood shedding". A metronome will aid you in
doing this. Start slow, work your way up to tempo. That's how it is done
by all of the pros. You may think that this method will take forever but
it won't. You only really want to focus hard on the parts of the song
that you have the most difficultly with but you should still know the
rest of the song and know how to play it correctly.
practice makes perfect and for most people the best way to get it into
their heads is to play it over and over again. If you play in a band the
same technique applies and will work.
That's where all of
this stuff has been derived from. Finish with a song that you can play
best to boost your self-esteem. Things that may not have clicked with
you this practice session probably will the next time you pick up your
Tip #3 Ok
so you know your songs inside out. You are by all means a guitar
virtuoso. The thing that is getting to you is all those people will be
watching every move you make. You're nervous right?
Don't be, there is
no need for that.
shown that people who are nervous play with an 80% efficiency at
You need to be
prepared mentally just as much as you need to practice your guitar.
Imagine yourself walking up to the stage, picking up your guitar, and
moving to the centre.
Then, think of what
you'll do to set up quickly. Now imagine a flawless performance that
sends the crowd into a rock frenzy. Don't think any negative thoughts.
You might even want to drop in and check out the venue you'll be playing
at so you can really get an idea of what it will be like. Keep your
focus. You are prepared and ready.
Tip #4 If
you happen to find out from someone that they want you to play in about
three days... no sweat!
I don't recommend
doing this on a regular basis but it can be done. The sad thing is if
you can't play some of the fancy tricks that may be in the song...don't
Those tricks can be
a stumbling block for you and really mess up your performance. Then you
practice and try to tackle the hardest parts and just play those until
you have it down pat or you think you can wing it. The run through the
simpler parts. Don't be deceived about these little parts and get too
They can trip you up
as well so think about them. All in all, if you've played the song a few
times before you were asked to play and with your new practice you'll do
If you haven't but
practiced well you will be fine. Nothing is perfect and this is one of
those things. My advice is to do one thing.... have FUN!
Performing is a
wonderful thing that we get to do from time to time. If you are a solo
performer or in a band, you feel the same emotions of accomplishment and
pride. If you take these tips and use them you will find that your
performances go much more smoothly.
You will also sound
better and learn faster. So go out there, play and have the time of your
Article written by: Jordan Warford Editor for
"How To Play The Electric / Acoustic Guitar in 30