I am not really sure how you guys handle stress when you are about to go on stage and perform... But I have a really bad case of anxiety! Some get lightheaded, and others have butterflies in their stomach, but for me ~ I get the shakes. That’s just a really bad kind of infliction especially when you play the theremin L I am prepared, I have been rehearsing for the last 2 months and I am ready. I thought I’d over prepare to nudge aside the anxiety feeling, but it’s not working...
How do you handle the stress? Maybe it would help me...
I get nervous prior to gigs too. If you don't, there's something wrong with you. :)
You just have to look at a performance as just another rehearsal, and just have fun with the performance. That's how I get through opera, as well as theremin performances.
It does help to take the day/night prior to the performance off, and just relax. On the performance day, you just need to relax, and try not to let the worries of "what if" come into your mind. You might try some meditation techniques, but sometimes pre-performance anxiety can get severe. Even I've had that happen once.
I think you'll be fine on your performance.
Some performers recommend picturing your audience naked. That would tend to distract you from your stress. Or it could lead to pukeing if you have the kind of audience I'm used to playing for. For me, the love of playing music is always stronger than my fear of the crowd.
For some, a drink before going on helps, but I don't advise that. You will need all of your higher brain functions intact to properly control your theremin. I'd also avoid too much coffee.
For some, myself included, a jam session before the gig can steady your nerves quite a bit and get you "in the grove". If you have time during the sound check, play a song or two with the other performers. The goal is to become comfortable with your surroundings and band mates.
Make sure you have everything you might need well ahead of time. I'd rather bring things I don't need than be short of anything. When in doubt, throw it in the gig bag. Give your theremins plenty of time to warm up, and yourself plenty of time to relax and chat with your fellow musicians before the first show. In other words, remove as many stress inducing factors as is practical.
Have confidence, grasshopper. You are good. Very good. You have a much larger audience on You tube and Sound cloud. You just cant see them. Try to turn your fear into excitement. Try to go from "OMG, I have to play in front of people" to "WOW, I GET TO PLAY TONIGHT!"
You WILL make a mistake or two. That's part of live music. I've never played a perfect set, and I never will. Just accept that and move on, or even better, grin and pretend you did it on purpose :)
Also remember you have a huge support group right here and we all know you will do just fine. We are all sending prayers, happy thoughts, good Karma, and whatever else is appropriate.
The shakes? You gots an energy inside ya that has to get out somehow. Figure out a way to channel it out in way way you choose instead of letting it find it's own path.
If you feel it on stage, try clenching your toes. No one can see it, and you may be able to relax most of your body by expending the energy out your feet. I think it is a "fight or flight" sorta survival instinct. You body is reacting to some adrenaline, but you are trying to stand still and act civilized. The energy has to go somewhere, and since you are not fighting or running, it comes out as shakes.
@Chainsaw Willie! :) Yeh, that sounds quite logical. I mean, we're putting our selves in a completely unnatural situation where hundreds of eyes are on us, and there's a bright light on us too. And we're playing a very unusual instrument in public, wondering how those gazing eyes are going to accept, or reject what we're doing with that instrument. The natural tendancy is to flee this sort unusaual setting. So, it makes perfect sense to find an alternative pressure valve to cope with this stimuli. Still, not easy to do though.