Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF
by Jamie Andreas
here for Stage Fright part 1
here for Stage Fright part 2
a Concert, Not a Contest
So far we have talked about what Stage Fright is,
and what it isnt. We have looked at how it is done, and
why it is done. We have seen that it is not something that happens
to you, it is something you actually do. We have seen that it
is just another form of People Fright, although a highly potent
Well, if Stage Fright is something we DO, I think we can all
agree we would rather NOT do it. But how do we not do it? The
answer may surprise you.
There is no way to not do it. Or more correctly, there is no
way for "you" to not do it. There is no way for the
"you" who does it to not do it.
There is, however, a way to go THROUGH it. There is a way to
give birth to a new "you" who does something else instead.
The answer to our problem is to discover what it is we SHOULD
be doing when we play music for other people, and then do THAT.
And what we will find when we DO that, is that the Stage Fright
In order to find out what it is we should be doing when we play
music for other people, instead of doing Stage Fright, we need
to look at a couple of things first. We need to consider a couple
One, what is music? Two, why does anyone want music in their
life? Three, what are we really doing (or trying to do) when we
listen to music, or play music for ourselves or for other people?
There are 3 kinds of people. First, the people that
have no feeling for music at all, and whose lives would not be
affected if there were no such thing as music in the world. I
believe these kinds of people are very rare, and that they are
similar to the kind of people who dont like dogs or little
children, and the ones I have met always gave me the shivers.
Personally, I dont think I have met many at all, in fact,
only one or two, so I have to account for them here. Im
sure there must be more, I have just been lucky so far. Second,
there are the people to whom music makes a pleasant background
to their daily activities. Its nice to have around, like
a basket of plastic fruit on the kitchen table. I do know a number
of people like this, but I try not to spend much time with them.
Thirdly, there are the people who recognize what music REALLY
is. They recognize that music is the most potent form of MAGIC
a human being is capable of making. They recognize that music
not only expresses emotion, music is a tangible form OF emotion.
Music IS emotion, it IS energy in motion, human energy, human
FEELING emotional energy. That is why this third type of person
not only likes music, not only loves music, they NEED music. Thankfully,
I know lots of these people. You will find this type of person
as what we call a professional musician, or as an amateur, it
makes no difference.
There are many among this third group of people who recognize
that music is DIVINE. If you are one of the people who like to
use the word GOD to express your feelings about the ULTIMATE REALITY
(as I do), then you may think of it, like me, as the voice of
God. When I was a teenager, listening one time to Beethovens
9th symphony, I was at once converted and baptized. I didnt
need any scriptures to tell me what God was like, whether there
was a God, or any of that nonsense. The "Meaningfulness of
Existence" had been revealed to me through a higher Revelation,
one that doesnt need human words. It was revealed in a different
language, the one we call music, the one that never needs a translator
or interpreter, because it speaks "in tongues", directly
to every human heart. And it had been spoken by one of Musics
greatest Prophets, Ludwig van Beethoven.
There are many musicians throughout history who have recognized
the divine nature of music, and because they recognize it, they
have the proper reverence for it. Beethoven, of course, felt this
way. Antonio Vivaldi, the great Baroque composer of the seventeenth
century, was, in addition to being a great musician, also a priest.
One time he ran off the altar in the middle of saying Mass, because
he had just at that moment received an inspiration for a new piece
of music which he had to immediately write down, lest he forget.
"I was called by a higher authority", he later explained.
In our own time, musicians like Carlos Santana exemplify this
highest type of artist. Santanas relationship to his music
has always been intensely spiritual, and you can certainly hear
it in the notes! There is an intense quality of ennobled human
emotion in his playing, as there is in the music of all such artists.
"When I play, its no good unless I cry" he has
I have always noticed that the greatest musicians came to see
that what they had dedicated their lives to was of a Divine, or
Ultimate origin. In addition to being irresistibly compelled to
be music makers and creators, they knew they were answering a
supremely high calling. It is not without meaning that Franz Liszts
students were not called students, but disciples. The same with
Francisco Tarraga, (who Segovia called "the patron saint
of the classical guitar")
Do People Want Music?
Now, human beings have argued endlessly over their confused ideas
of "God", and made hundreds of versions of "God"
each in their own image, and each with a different name which
they know is the "true" one. But the beautiful thing
about the language of music is that there is no confusion. There
is no doubt. It is a direct communication of the Divine to the
human heart, and it speaks to each heart that recognizes it. And
it speaks in the native language of every heart it touches. When
we are moved by the music we love, transported and taken to that
place which is above this world, we dont need someone to
explain it to us, or tell us whether its "true"
or not. We know.
And if you are a music lover, it doesnt matter whether
you have ever thought about it in this way or not, whether you
have ever used the words I am using. The Reality we are talking
about is beyond words, by definition! Thats the whole point!
Thats why we need music to touch it! Music puts us in touch
with our INTUITION, our "inward knowing" of the Spiritual
Reality that stands behind this physical one we normally touch.
A thirteen year old listening to their favorite rock band or
rap artist, the 30 year old listening to their favorite pop artist
or folkie type singer/songwriter, the person sitting down to meditate
upon the mysteries of a Bach fugue or late Beethoven string quartet,
all are feeding upon this most necessary food of the human spirit,
and are drawn to it as naturally as a baby to its mothers
Now, here is the
What I am essentially saying is that music is a basic human need,
it is not a luxury. If we do not feed upon this spiritual food,
we will pay a price, we will suffer. If you have put yourself
in the position of being one who MAKES this magic called music,
if you have decided to become one who speaks this potent, universal,
wordless language, than you have just joined a special community.
What Should We Be
Doing When We Play Music?
If you have decided to be the provider of this spiritual food
for others, then you have taken on a very special job, a very
special function. And you must have the proper relationship to
it, as those you are providing it for must also.
A priest, minister, or rabbi, is also one who serves the function
of providing, or leading people to, spiritual food. He or she
leads the congregation to commune with a higher, spiritual reality.
I assume that such a spiritual figure, when they are conducting
services, are wholly focused on what they are doing. I assume
they are not up there thinking "gee, how am I doing? Hope
the congregation is liking this! Likewise, I assume the congregation
is focused on the reason they are there, to participate in a mutual
"spiritual" experience, which the leader is providing.
I assume they are not sitting there waiting for the guy to trip
up a couple of words! I assume that if the leader misses or mumbles
a few words here and there it is not going to make the participants
lose their entire focus, and miss the spirit of the experience.
Many performers create terrible strictures for themselves by
being so afraid of missing a few notes here and there. They play
as if their primary focus was to not miss a note, instead of playing
with feeling and expression. That would be like giving a speech,
and focusing more on your articulation than on the meaning of
what you had to say. Of course, it is not like the technical aspects
are not important, but they are of SECONDARY importance. Music
began because something needed to be expressed that couldnt
be expressed in words. Technique is the servant of expression,
and should never be the master. Anyway, technical matters will
take care of themselves when we know how to practice correctly.
Being "In Concert":
The dictionary defines "concert" as "agreement
in action, feeling, or purpose". It is a union, a meeting
of mind, emotion and spirit. And the meeting takes place in a
world of higher vibrations. If I am giving a concert, I am supposed
to have MADE that agreement, to meet YOU there, the audience member,
in the sound. That is my commitment, and I am supposed to be living
up to it, not be thinking about myself, and whether I am looking
good or not, and whether you like me or not! Its a concert,
not a contest!
And you are supposed to be living up to the agreement also, you
are supposed to be "in concert" with me, meeting me
in the sound, and not thinking about something else,
As I said in the beginning of this three-part essay, when a guitar
player plays for another person, they are not only sharing the
music, they are sharing their relationship to the guitar as well.
If your relationship to the guitar, your relationship to your
role as a guitarist and musician, is a mediocre one, a lukewarm
one, you will not have much to share. First of all, it is your
responsibility to make your relationship to music and the guitar
(as your chosen instrument) a passionate one, an emotional one,
because that is what we are dealing with here, that is why we
bother to be musicians, because it is an inherently EMOTIONAL
Fear, Ignore Fear
Many people make a big mistake by trying to "fight"
their stage fright, or to trick by performing little mental maneuvers,
like imagining the audience naked or in their underwear. Well,
I do believe in doing whatever gets you through the night, but
dont confuse it with getting to the heart of the matter.
When Fear, when Stage Fright arises, it is because deep inside
yourself, you are devoting a large part of your attention on YOURSELF,
and not the music. In fact, here is something very interesting
to ponder. It can be just as detrimental to your performance to
be sitting there performing and be feeling really good about yourself
as it is to be feeling bad about yourself. Most of us performers
have experienced playing really well, and then sitting there patting
ourselves on the back (in our heads), when we should be busy playing.
Guess what happens? Bam, there goes that passage! Either it gets
messed up, or just suffers from a lack of feeling or involvement,
because we were to busy thinking about ourselves, this time in
a "positive" sense.
There must be no "self" when you play. There must be
only the music.
When we do make that inner error of putting self before music,
whether "positive" or "negative", the thing
to do is to become aware of what you are doing. Take hold of your
attention, and place it on the music, and feel your passion for
it (which is what you are supposed to be doing, its what
the people came for).
Fear (which is the result of your inner error) is like an unwelcome
visitor who just popped in to see how miserable they can make
your life. He stands there and starts saying nasty things to you
to see if he can get your goat. Like any bully, if he sees he
starts to get a reaction from you, he gets more power, he gets
bolder. Pretty soon, hell have you on your knees. However,
if he sees you are ignoring him and playing your guitar instead,
he gets all deflated. Its no fun, he hangs around a little
bit, gets bored, and leaves.
The way THROUGH stage fright is to stay centered in that passion,
to be with it, to lose the sense of DOING the music, and stay
with the sense of BEING the music. This is the responsibility
of the performer, just as it is the responsibility of the audience
member. When this is done, there is no stage fright, because there
is no one there to be afraid. When Attention is where it should
be, on the music, instead of on the self, you cannot be "self-conscious",
you can only be "music conscious". Then, the magic can
really take place.
Be With, or Not to Be With
As in all relationships in life, it comes down to this: to be
with, or not to be with. Love, is to be with. Fear, the opposite
of Love, is to refuse to be with. When it comes to this matter
of playing our instrument for others, Stage Fright is what happens
when we refuse to be with. Stage Fright is what happens when we
refuse to be with the music, the audience, and ourselves.
Copyright 2000 by Jamie Andreas.
All Rights Reserved.
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Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF