[Editors Note: This is a guest blog post written by Mason Hoberg. Mason is a freelance writer who covers music-related topics and is a regular contributor to Equipboard.]
The hardest part about participating in any facet of the arts is overcoming your own insecurities. It’s easy to feel self-conscious when you perform music, especially when you’re not confident in your playing abilities to begin with.
The worst part about being unconfident as a musician is that it will rob you of enjoyment from your playing. If you don’t feel comfortable playing in front of others you’ll never be able to experience playing with your friends, playing open mics (which is a lot of fun if you have the right mindset), or being in a band.
If this is an issue that you’ve faced you’ve come to the right place. This article will give you four great tips to help you build confidence as a musician, which in turn will help you become the musician you always dreamed that you could be.
I know it sounds kind of lame, but playing for family is actually a really good way to dip your toe into the pool of live performance. Most families are relatively supportive, so it’s a bit less stressful than playing in front of strangers.
Playing in front of friends is the second step. Your friends are still likely to be supportive, but more honest than your family. Constructive criticism is going to help you improve, but it’s just as important to learn how to take feedback that may not necessarily be very positive. It’s a skill that helps you learn to accept your flaws as a musician, which will in turn help you increase your confidence.
A mistake that a lot of musicians make is that they focus more of their attention on worrying about the flaws in their playing, rather than how they can improve them. Analyzing every mistake you make and then letting it bring you down is going to hurt your playing more than it will help. It may even eventually lead to you abandoning your instrument.
Instead, count every mistake you notice in your playing as a lesson.
Think about why what you played didn’t work or didn’t sound quite as good as it could have, then start thinking about how you can change it. Doing this will help you keep improving because you’ll always be working towards something instead of spending energy worrying about what you’re doing wrong.
The most important part of building confidence is to consistently see a visual representation of your success, and the easiest way to do this is to play in front of a mirror. Playing in front of a mirror allows you to see yourself succeed with some aspect of your playing. It reassures you that though there may be things you struggle with, it’s still worth it to continue practicing because you can see that there are things you can do well musically.
Even better, playing in front of a mirror actually improves your technique. It lets you see how you play with a perspective you don’t normally get, which will do wonders for helping you remedy flaws in your technique.
The most important thing when you’re trying to build confidence is that you really just need to put yourself out there. Odds are you’re not going to sound great, but that’s okay. Unfortunately, the only way to become a good performer is to perform. It’s not a skill that you can hone without practice, and you can’t practice without doing it. This is where open mics come in handy, because odds are there are plenty of other people there who are also just starting out.
Performing will also help build your confidence in your abilities as a musician, regardless of whether or not you choose to continue performing. This confidence will improve your overall performance, resulting in a positive feedback loop where you’ll find yourself improving more and more as time goes on.
While building confidence as a musician is a long and difficult process, it does have a big payoff. It can help you become the musician you always hoped to be, and even better it will help you enjoy playing your instrument more than you ever thought possible.
Got some advice for your fellow artists trying to build confidence? Share below in the comments!
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