Do you get nervous when performing live in front of other people? You’re not the only one... Almost all people go through this same kind of anxiety! However, things do not need to continue like this for you. Once you understand how to practice and prepare for live guitar performances the way pro musicians do, you will have a lot more fun whenever you perform.

There are two fundamental aspects of preparing yourself for playing live:

1. Understanding how to practice guitar to make your playing totally reliable, precise and consistent regardless of the situation. (To find out how to practice more effectively, get this free guide about playing guitar a lot faster.)

2. Eliminating the common errors guitarists commit when getting ready to play guitar live that hurt your performance.

The following are four of the most common errors guitarists commit while preparing to perform live and how you can avoid each one:

Mistake #1: Paying Attention To The Wrong Things

Most guitar players let destructive thoughts take control of their mindset, causing them to continuously commit more mistakes. Here is something that most musicians don’t know: your brain doesn’t know the difference between what you want to happen and what you don’t want to happen. Your brain really only knows (and moves you closer to) whatever you focus on the most. So if you focus on how embarrassing it could be to mess up in front of everyone on stage, your brain causes your body to become tense and actually make more mistakes. Whatever you focus on the most manifests into your reality.

Solution: To perform better on stage, think of yourself playing at your very BEST in the last few days before your performance. Focus on visualizing yourself playing without mistakes and enjoying every single moment. Whenever you can do this consistently, your fears will be replaced with excitement and confidence.

Notice:Of course this mental approach is NOT a total replacement for learning how to play guitar much faster, with better creativity and better technique. That said, it certainly will give you a great advantage whenever you play in front of others.

Mistake #2: Not Effectively Managing Tension

Having a lot of tension in your body makes it difficult to play guitar well and nearly impossible to perform live without messing up. It normally develops in two ways:

1. By continually thinking about all the things you don't want to occur as you are playing live (creating tension).

2. By creating poor playing habits in your playing through ineffective practice.

Until you learn to get rid of this unnecessary tension, performing guitar live will continue to be highly stressful and difficult for you.

Solution:Eliminating extra tension from your playing/performing must be done in two ways:

1. Taking specific approaches to get rid of extra tension in your guitar playing. This resource about becoming a faster guitarist will help you with this.

2. Putting together a mental routine to go through before every playing performance that will eliminate anxiety and stress from your body. One effective approach to use for doing this is to think about all the reasons why you are performing in front of others. You are not trying to “be perfect”, impress anyone or to be judged by others. You do it because you have a strong passion for music and are enthusiastic to share your passion with everyone in the crowd. This mindset change will soothe your anxiety during your performance.

Mistake #3: Not Rehearsing For The Actual Performance

If you play guitar live with other musicians, you’ll have to work on your individual playing. However, you and your band also need to rehearse not only the music you’ll play, but the stage performance itself. If you don’t do this, it’ll be a major source of mistakes, fear and frustrations. To make things worse, your band will end up looking totally amateur.

Solution: Use some of your band’s practice time to prepare for the “performance” aspects of your live show. Here is a short list of the most critical things to focus on:

-The logistics for how you will alter amplifier settings.

-The logistics for how you will alter your pedal settings or synths.

-The logistics for how you will tune your instruments away from the stage.

-Going over the locations on the stage where every band member stands during specific times of each song.

-Knowing the positions where everyone needs to be at during every moment in the show.

-Your overall stage presence during the performance.

-What each band member needs to do between songs.

-How the singer and band will engage with the audience.

-Communication between all band members as the show is going on.

The more specific you can be, the better. Create your own list of things to prepare for relative to your unique needs and then rehearse the actual show to develop excellent guitar performing skills.

Mistake #4: Not Practicing Damage Control

Regardless of how well you get ready for a live guitar performance, know that some mistakes will always find their way into your show. No one has the power to play guitar completely perfect all the time (particularly live). Instead you should prepare for how you will react whenever you make mistakes on stage. If you don’t prepare yourself for this ahead of time, ANY mistake can throw you off, causing you to make more mistakes and lose control.

Solution: Go over the music you will be playing and complete these steps:

1. Find the most difficult parts in the music.

2. Pick out the specific mistakes that might happen during those difficult parts.

3a. Practice diligently to ensure that these mistakes do not come up while playing live.

3b. Make a specific plan for what you will do to avoid distractions if you make a mistake. By anticipating what you will do during the mistake before it actually happens, you will guarantee that it will not throw your entire performance off and make it to where most people will not even notice if you mess up.

Once you combine great guitar practice with a “fail-safe” preemptive strategy for eliminating mistakes, you will remove any fears of performing guitar live and will free yourself to enjoying the show.

Now that you are more familiar with the most common errors guitar players commit while getting ready to perform in front of other people, integrate the tips for solving each one to improve your ability to put on great live performances. Get yourself ready to put on better performances when playing faster musical parts by downloading this guide to playing a lot faster on guitar.

Author's Bio: 

Tom Hess is a professional touring musician, composer and successful rock/metal guitar teacher. He helps guitarists around the world learn to play guitar online. On his website, you can find guitar playing tips, free guitar resources and more guitar articles.