Do you have things in your life that you feel good about but cannot bring yourself to do in front of other people? 


Do you know the content of a presentation that you must give at work but freeze up at the thought of giving it?

Can you grill steaks like a boss but somehow flub it up when friends and family are watching?

Can you rip through a tune on your cigar box guitar when no one is around or when no one is watching. How about if you turn on a camera or try to play in front of anyone? Does it feel like your performance goes to pot?

Some of us are not afflicted with a fear of performance or more specifically a fear of failure and judgement. It has taken me a long time to overcome those fears and I still feel them occasionally to this day.

Learning to accept that I have a great deal of room to improve in many things in my life has done me well. Enjoying the process of learning has been remarkably healthy. Realizing that no one has the same harsh judgements of me as I do for myself has been liberating and if they do... eff 'em.

So, while it is frustrating to take dozens of attempts to make a short video of myself playing a cbg, it is nonetheless fun and freeing. The act of creating and sharing is nothing short of a terrific and positive experience. Finding the courage to do so can be difficult but, I assure you, well worth the effort. 

Have you made a vid yet?

What reservations do you have? 

Is there anything that I may be able to help you with?

Views: 347

Tags: courage, failure, fear, judgement, performance, reservation, video


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Comment by Glenn Watt on May 5, 2014 at 8:25am

You have an excellent perspective! From the audience, to the set-list, to the mindset, you have a terrifically healthy and positive outlook. I appreciate what you have to express and am glad to have read it.

Thank you for the heads-up on turtlehead's version of Royals. I will be happy to check that out.

It's funny, the difference in crowds with differing levels of sobriety. The less inebriated the more discerning but less demonstrative or demanding. You are a better man than me for pushing through those circumstances to perform art. That is another fine example of overcoming fear, in my book.

I am happy to have you be a part of this conversation, Jim. Thanks for bringing your experience to the table.
Comment by Jim Morris on May 4, 2014 at 9:42pm

Well Glenn, after many years of playing in bars I agree that most of that crowd wants songs they are familiar with. (Play Freebird!) Now that I do more non bar type gigs in front of semi-sober people I think people really enjoy  a well written song with a chorus or a hook that is memorable. Trouble is - those are real hard for most of us to write! Usually if I'm doing 4 or 5 songs I'll try to do a couple of covers and a few originals. Especially if I'm introducing a cigar box or other unusual instrument to the audience they like to hear a familiar song done in an unusual way on an unusual instrument. Turtlehead's version of Royals would be a hit just about anywhere! But once again - don't fear rejection. Most audiences are pretty un-sophisticated and only want to be entertained so go in with a sense of humour and never take yourself too seriously. Relax, have fun, laugh with the audience and then it's a good time for everyone!

Comment by Glenn Watt on May 4, 2014 at 9:09pm

Hey turtlehead!

I have to imagine that the public at large prefers to hear covers, especially if hearing a CBG for the first time. New instrument plus original tunes could be a tough sell. 

Good on you for getting out and doing it, man. With my relatively recent and new participation in this community I have seen a couple of your vids (just watched Curly Maple) and can tell you have confidence in your playing. You should. It's good, man.

I would love to see a video tutorial on your recording technique/setup! That would be the blog post of the year, dude! 

Thank you very much for getting back to me, turtlehead. I am super happy to see your work and look forward to seeing much more.

Comment by turtlehead on May 4, 2014 at 5:39pm

Back again to answer some of your questions Glenn.  I've been playing out for the past couple years, but fairly infrequently.  I try to hit my local open mic every month, but it's usually every couple months or so.  I need to do it more often to get comfortable I'm sure.  I find that covers work better for me - people seem to like the simple CBG arrangements of tunes they know. 

Recording - I use a similar approach to Oily except the other way around.  I record my tracks into Audacity, then I export to a free trial of Fruity Loops to boost the levels, EQ, and maybe add some reverb.  I'm working on a video showing how I go about recording something because of this thread - Hope to put up a blog post soon.

Comment by Glenn Watt on April 27, 2014 at 7:52pm
Slowpaw Steve T,

Building sets must have been pretty cool! Were you ever involved specifically in the designing? Was working with the designers a bit trying, at times?
Working as the director must have been a trip. Managing all those personalities and the drama that can be apart of all those shenanigans... whew! What a thing.
I terms of the sound, have you been able to carry those skills over to recording your own music?
The theater life must have been gratifying. I have often wondered what I may have missed out on by not getting my feet wet in that environment.

Thank you for getting back on this, Steve!
Comment by Slowpaw Steve T on April 27, 2014 at 12:00pm
Getting back to your comments, Glen - I worked with several companies designing and building sets, sound, backstage, acting and directing for about ten years, I found the casting to first night role as a director the most rewarding!
Comment by Glenn Watt on April 27, 2014 at 11:41am
and Ron,

I may hit you up with some questions about GarageBand. I have only begun to touch upon it. The application seems pretty deep and useful but having to export work to another app is just one more step for someone like me to find a way to mess things up.
Comment by Glenn Watt on April 27, 2014 at 10:16am

Thank you for getting back to me. Not too long ago I bought a decent web cam (Logitech C920, I think) to record my playing. I also used Windows MovieMaker and found it to be a powerful tool for stock software. Part of the problem for me is that it may be a bit too powerful (ie. complex). I realize that that reads like I am unwilling to put the time in to learn the software and frankly that is mostly true. I was hoping to find a user interface that was clean and uncluttered with little to no friction for me to record and upload.

Shortly after my purchase and brief use of the webcam, I was given and iPad. I figured the whole process of using the available software (iMovie) and the iPad itself would be an easy, seamless endeavor given the user-friendly mystique that Apple products have.

Recording with the iPad was ok. Like the webcam, I could use some more work with it. I enjoyed the simplicity of the iMovie UI, finding it easy to learn and find my way around. However, what is infuriating is the inability to upload to youtube directly from the software although that option is given to the user. I have to send the file to my Windows OS to be able to upload to youtube.

Now, all that being said, I fully understand that often is the case that there isn't a problem with the tool, just the user and his/her understanding of how to use it. In turn, even though I must spend a greater amount of time learning how to use the tools available to me I am not averse to asking others for their experiences and feedback in order to get more out of what I have and to possibly shorten the learning curve.

Thank you for taking the time to give me your take on things, Ron. I clearly have a lot more work to do.
Comment by Ron "Oily" Sprague on April 26, 2014 at 1:13pm

I'm learning to loathe iMovie, at least on the iPad. I found Windows MovieMaker far more user friendly. I record my vids using a Sony vid cam, and pretty much direct upload to YouTube without editing ( except for one I managed to do in iMovie, which may be why I loathe it so). For song recording, I use the iRig mic and GarageBand exclusively. I do not like how GarageBand does not work with DropBox or other software directly, but requires iTunes as an intermediary (I loathe iTunes). Music wants to be free, but Apple's apps, while kewl, are far too restrictive for seamless sharing and use. But I've learned how to get my basic tracks done in GB, then export to Audacity for final editing and mix down.
Comment by Glenn Watt on April 26, 2014 at 12:55pm
Hello L.W. Carlson!
I understand and relate to what you posted. For the most part, I have treated my playing of music as a very private matter.
Full disclosure: I have played guitar in a public setting with the safety of other musicians around me. The ability to melt into the landscape was the comfort that I needed to do it.
Otherwise, much like yourself, I tend to retreat to a private area to enjoy playing guitar.

With that being said, and speaking only for myself, that very private approach to music is directly attributable to my fear of not sounding as good as I want to, which is directly attributable to my fear of judgement. While I have not overcome those fears, I have come a long way to accept them in an attempt to move past them.

Although I still do not perform live in public, especially by myself, I have taken the baby steps of recording and posting vids online. Only a couple, mind you, but the excercise has gone a long way to help me grow.

Why do any of that? Well, I believe that community improves many of my experiences in life. Whether it be a group exercise class, the brainstorming of ideas, or a holiday meal, a sense of community, regardless of size, works for me. see: online particiaption
Also, I know that playing music with other people is a tremendously rewarding experience. I am hoping to get to that point and am using the recording of video to be posted on the tubes as my vehicle to get myself to as comfortable a place as possible. Baby steps.

Nonetheless, I know where you are coming from L.W.! Let's hope that we can all find our happy place whether it be in front of people or not. Thank you for joining this converation.

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