Performance Anxiety and Imposter Syndrome Support

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You know, y'all could really improve the quality of your forum posts if you would learn to use the semicolon; just sayin'! Biggrin

@Candle I really like the Eno/Fripp quote (and I really like Eno/Fripp). It's sort of an expanded, more cerebral version of some old musician's folk wisdom I first heard as a kid: if you screw something up while you're playing, do the same thing three more times, and it won't sound like a mistake.

dzd's picture

@Candle @motisbeard Was told something similar, but a little gruffer....if you fuck up do it twice and make it nice Smile

oh and Motis use the [ @name ] without spaces between brackets Smile took me a minute to figure that one out too Wink

Once I had a band with a group of friends and once we had finished a gig I heard that a lot of people were asking about the bass player because he was really hot. I learned that day that sometimes it just doesn't matter how good you are if you are not considered attractive.

Let me rephrase that. It doesn't matter how good you are if the audience is interested in other things.

I have issues around this area too, which are far too long and boring to go into, but I saw another thread a couple of days ago about online streaming, and seeing as it's going to be a long time before I can get to an open mic night, or return to the state where I can pretend to myself that I might just go to one, next week but not tonight, if only I could get this song right. I might try online streaming, preferably with no audience, until I have the song perfect, or never. But it might not be a bad idea, for various complicated reasons, which again, I won't go into. I think it's reasonable to assume that doing that might help rebuild confidence in performing. If only because it recreates the sense of myself, for me, as someone who performs. Which has gone missing since I stopped pretending I might go to an open mic night.

@AndyGetch great thread. I think you've posted this previously.

What I notice is that by 30 or so posts most has been said and the personal agenda starts, -- and then the topic get's blended, munged, however, -- in a relevant way. It's impossible to (analogy), drink pure H20 and we would not survive if it was so compartmentalised, sterile, focused -- for human consumption.

Does not in fact state what is, "purported", this place is, or is not.

And, yes, it, this place, -- deletes itself and starts again every new project.

However what I don't then see, if the entire acculturation of this project agrees -- when does that occur -- ? At the beginning?, regardless of the many years anyone has been there/here?, -- it's relevant/irrelevant?

What could happen then, is, -- if someone feels that strongly and wants to, or may, then "Pin" a "Group Formation" thread, prior to open/start here and then Mentor, or re-engage new/old, -- then would that solve the sideways movement in this thread, others here that -- were actually following Smile (I hope they are well versed with pedagogy/andragogy, -- indeed, the "basis" of fawm formation, so many years ago Wink research data, and still.)

Indeed, ironic. And went sideways when:

-- was then, not engaged as this place "is", new, day one, each new project.

"That" in this great topic if engaged, it would produce what here?

Well, unless, as is intended it is an Authentic, Longitudinal, Bi-directional, Communication, it will be pot luck as to what comes out. And, so it goes.

I have observed many great articulations here now that I know I would not have seen in my early days/years here, -- so, this place "works" if engaged as per the:


Authentic, Longitudinal, Bi-directional, Communication -- Group Formation

Understanding this, above, helped me to understand, concerning engaging "Performance" anxiety for Live Venu Performance ~ 0R ~ (analogously as the thread then shifted, blended), ---- posting a lyric, recorded demo/video to:

-- Know your room

No, I do not, regardless of:

-- I do not post my 5 min lunch time, headline based writes to a BIAB EDM forum of 3-5 year "Experts" Wink hahhh... yee-puken-haww... I love when I see that Smile Folks born post 2001 ish, -- experts in so many things, so many things.

At one time, just how I was, I would and did, -- first exposure to live performance, on stage, --
"pick my nose, adjust my underwear both sides Wink and turn my amp up to loud Wink ..."

Moroever, as happened, -- I'd be on stage rehearsing and someone would walk in and say something really "stupid" like, i.e., "wow, that sounds awful hearing your fingers drag across the strings like that". Hmmm, - told to GTFO and dismissed as an annoyance. Not effected even slightly.

Then, there was a period of time that I had no desire to perform. I can't say why. And I truly doubt a bank of Psychiatrists with a pharmacy and electrodes could explain why.

Then, I was in a position to do so, -- kinda had no choice.

Also, there was a "young person" who just adored me... and made no sense that they would not be able to perform with me.

Now, I knew "the room" was "right" so had not excuses.

Then I though back to some other life experiences, hahhh, -- with real possibilities of not making it to breakfast meal time Wink hahhh. What's worse than death? ---- And said, self, -- "wTf"?

-- Got there early, had all my scheit tightly wrapped, felt like projective vomiting all over the front row until the first string touched and words came out. -- Gone.

Imposter? What's that? Smile Heck, these folks, in that context, "demanded" I engage them, so to speak.

Then, as part of another "story" I have mentioned previously..., -- approached post performance, asked "who that was, I was performing" Wink and, when explained "me", offering to copy the parts of my book they may want (hand written lead sheets, with performance notes)... they just turned and left.

Heck, -- what does that have to do with ANYTHING.

We need to, or " i " need to keep in mind to compartmentalise stuff. That is not YOUR job to do for ME. (But thank you lots, for those who DO! Smile ) hahhh!

The problem with "Music" is, -- it is art and like as if we strip naked in public. Some are gonna get turned on and others -- who knows what's going on? Smile so to speak.

But, as stated in some other place, -- sometimes we all make as comments, like (as analogy),

"you wearing THAT, OMG!" ... but MEANING, "damn, you look hot!".

-- The problem with humans is, you can't say what you mean THEN ---- fast enough or well enough, and espcially if not give a "chance" to do so. And so, this applies:


Authentic, Longitudinal, Bi-directional, Communication -- Group Formation

I think bottomline too is, -- if a "room" does not exist for you in which to play, -- wait; this all goes in cycles.
J.Hendrix had to leave the country and come back; CBGB's fully of "no talent" 3rd guitar lesson musicians who then became... and many other.

It's not different in any other field of work, -- (as analogy), an advanced degree (unrelated, but related) you get scheit upon royally for what you write and then defend, -- the price paid.

There were/are very few folks "discovered" while sitting in the corner "soda shop". AND, even within a small, 50 person "Church", P&W "Team" can be full of asheholes competing to do what? O M G! -- Are there no safe places? Smile

At some point one regains that 8 yo, of age-ism, -- for scheit attitude, or pay$ big at a therapy office, or to their Kracke Dealer... which oh, by the way...
-- been around for a LONG TIME for pre-gig lubrication... ... ... Smile Heroin, Blunts, pre-set-sex, White Powder of some kind, Alcohol, all, some and other. (Even for the "certified", awarded "famous" "talent".)

As I've said elsewhere, first time "here", any "artists" group, is, -- (as analogy), as one who's lived with "Artists" life long and many friends, family working in these places... when you, ---- join an "Artist's" group, you are entering, (as analogy), -- just like a waiting room at a State Mental Health Facility, since most do not produce art "level" but rather up/down and it is BEST to allow ALL (all),
-- room to be theirselves, within boundaries, all.

And so again:


Authentic, Longitudinal, Bi-directional, Communication -- Group Formation

The thread IS great, as well as some of the others, and are perfect analogies for (how well went/did not go),
-- Love what you do, or just do it in the in home studio and be a "recording artist" not a "performing artist". So many make "Records" that they themselves could not possibly perfome live Smile or not without a 20 piece band!

There are no answers, and why folks need to realise folks produce what they do,
---- while "manic, severly depressed" and to a lesser extend "level". As we see/saw, prima facie.

I'll leave it there, but there is so much more... ... and so, again, ... ...


Authentic, Longitudinal, Bi-directional, Communication -- Group Formation

-- Forgive my typos and grammar... I'm not at home in bunny slippers with a bottle of wine, and do write in flow of thought and make up werdz as I go Uno! Wink But you know, with all the very authentic comments here, ---- I just can't help, "helping", too ... ... however, I do try, I do try Wink

@darcistrutt I really enjoy your music and more than once it inspired me to write.

One of the greatest antidotes I have to my imposter syndrome is collaborations. So often, I have thought 'tjhat musician is so much better than me. They won't want to collaborate with me". But they often do. And the music we make together is good.

Yeah, @ductapeguy, I totally agree about the collaborations.
Well said.

Came across a quote by Salvador Dali this morning that knocked my socks off:

"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it"

My first thought was, well, that just about says it all.

dzd's picture

@ductapeguy yeah I agree with that about the collaborations as well.......I'm always willing, just always feels presumptuous to ask :/

@tjeff that is a great quote! and yeah pretty well wraps this thread up hahahah!

@ductapeguy and @dzd; I used to have trouble asking for collabs as well.
Then I just took the chance and have never looked back; now I'm finding that most of my tunes are collaborations.
Don't ever be afraid to ask me for a collab!

I remember when about six years old or so my mother said to me, "you don't understand how THAT LOOKS TO THEM".

Looks to them... I thought?

Yes, as she explained, -- I didn't "look shy".
I didn't "look scared".
I did not look like I was "afraid".
I did not look "concerned"... ... ...

No, I looked like I was avoiding the other kids, which -- I was.

Then they "thought", I did not "like" them, or want to be around them, or speak to them, better than them... ... ...

So, since "Kids" are Kids" no matter the AGE?..., I wonder if that good wisdom from my Mom to make sure folks knew what I thought, think, appearing approachable still applies?

Throw in what else may be "seen" from Adult-kids (and that really depends), -- throw in an insecure, not explained objection about something; a defensive ad hoc one-off remark, a "WTF", so to speak, reaction... or a very long long long explanation of how you've misunderstood their life philosophy, didn't read their mind, -- then, what it, looks like?

-- --

Me, my reaction was to make sure I was clear. If even my explanation was not understood, -- many don't have the capacity to understand Wink no matter the comment w/explanation. Or, that's their defenisve strategy, "on-line".

So the good result is, for me, that, -- I am simply and very clear on who may or may not "like" me Wink hahhh. However, that is a far better position to be in. Many more useful elements come from that. Moreover, then, I have no insecurities when folks show up that I am with "my people" and I have a LOT OF ROOM to be "me", such as that may be. And, so they may as well.

The worse thing, and especially a person of Talent and Looks, as I am Wink -- can do is not get that right (bad on-line marketing of image and personal "branding" Smile ). I have a page of examples of folks who torpedo'd their lives, known and not known.

Insecurity, -- it kills.

Since "On-line" is so fast pace and no one allows for a, 1) longitudinal, 2) bi-directional, 3) authentic communication, -- I myself don't look beyond how it "looks", and just keep doing my own thing.

-- --

HOWEVER, -- the good news is, as imperfect as any place may be with all it's flaws, since FAWM-5090 DELETES ALL every year... and "re-news" as much as the power hungry gentry try to re-establish their "power", -- over time, we do get to see who's who, and what's what and when folks who have even gone and come back THEN effect a place and make it good/better for others too. The sad part is, the "good" gets deleted as well and so easily forgotten, more so than the "bad". -- Human condition.

All I can say as a single closing element that anyone can count on, -- if I ever commented, "sounds good, like it" (so to speak) or then provided "input", it was because the song/lyric was effective, not a vehicle for me to say anything to anyone. I am usuall at work, IRL when here and don't have the time to belong to 500 songwriting clubs, with 750 Facebood Friends (deleted that account after FAWM this year Wink -- best thing done this year too). That deserves more consideration, (the authentic, if even not understood comments by others part as YOU have control to understand or CHANGE), thought.
-- But, then the Thought Police, yes then they usually jump in and say, "oh no, that's not what this place is for". What do the "rules" say this place is? (Kinda like parts of this country with issues of control dealing with "thought policing" Wink ) . Hey, jah gotta "call it out when jah see it!".


-- No, not some ashe-holes personal interpretation of it, --

-- --

You want to collaborate or make friends or other... ... ..., well, what should be the next thing you then do? Is it ever to late to change? What are you doing in the next five minutes since read every word of "this"? Why'd jah read it then?

I have learned as much from collaborations as I have from the stack of songwriting books I have read. This 50/90 I asked more and different people to collaborate than I had in prior years. While not all contacts resulted in a song, all were positive learning experiences, including my first ever with @ductapeguy. For me, knowledge and practice are the best antidotes to my imposter syndrome and performance anxiety. Since my original post in July, I have done a few online streaming and Zoom performances, including during FAWMSTOCK. Practice and preparation, plus this supportive group, has really helped me.

I am so glad to hear that @AndyGetch. The only way to vanquish our fears is to face them head on. Sounds like you're doing just that! And we're all here to support you Biggrin

See You In The Shadows…

dzd's picture

@AndyGetch I think streaming/zoom/skype whatever, would actually give me anxiety for some reason, maybe just the disconnect of not being in the actual room with the people? I don't know....couldn't boo or heckle or throw things back! hahah ......just too outside of any perceived "comfort zone" for me to even think about. I commend those that can. Probably a lot more to do with how friendly and nice people actually are in person vs. their online personas has just always kept me away, but for any "working" musicians anymore it's probably going to be about all you can get for the foreseeable future. I mean when people that are used to selling out arenas are now trying to be YouTube stars, and small venues going to be the first to open back up.......well stuff only rolls one way.

@dzd Streaming is very different and took almost as much of an adjustment for me as singing with a mic and PA system at my first open mic 11 years ago. Singing to the webcam is certainly an abstract concept and yes there is a disconnect. Depending on the streaming platform there are fewer or no cues as to how the performance is being received. I actually started streaming for fun in 2016 (on Streetjelly, a text/emoji comments only website). There it helped that one of my friends also streamed there and usually we watched each others streams. Then I had to stop in 2018 when my DSL became too slow. I actually had a text heckler troll there once Nea but on that site the streamer can bounce an out-of-line person so I did. Obviously the FAWMSTOCK Zoom was very friendly and supportive, as was the for the local music org Zoom stream I did singing two songs as an opening act for touring friends . With the Zoom "Hollywood Squares" view I can at least see who I am singing to. So a fair amount of visual (slightly delayed head nods or swaying to the beat) and audio feedback that people are listening. No sing-alongs though Mosking .

dzd's picture

@AndyGetch sorry for the heckles Biggrin

.........yeah I can see zoom or skype type things being easier than just a blank screen, or just looking at yourself, at least for me, and yeah especially with the crowd here or at fawm, would of participated this summer, but internet is spotty at best of times streaming anything, wouldn't of been a good experience for anybody hahah. They've laid fiber optic lines, can finally ditch my satellite, and should be up and going any day now. Hopefully by February the actual venue situation is better, I'll stay hopeful, but I'm also a realist, I'll probably still be sitting right here Smile

Okay so I am very late to the party here and have briefly read over a few comments and seen some interesting points.. whether or not my points are, well you be the judge :p

So the feeling of being an imposter, to me, means something like 'winging it' or 'pantsing' in a writing sense. And the idea of what we are perceived as and what we really are doing to make that so, is interesting to me. I will try to explain why that is if I can find the right words... So if you want to learn something, often times people suggest doing it the right way. Yet, if you see these people doing their thing, they don't do it that way. And I've wondered why is that? Are they giving misdirection, misinformation, for some reason? And I realised something... People are either telling you one thing and doing another and know it , or are coming across differently to how they do it really, for themselves. You ask any musician who is truthful, and they may very likely say something along the lines of 'i don't know how I do it. It just comes out that way!' - so that made me wonder, of that's what they're doing, it must have been a long process to get to the point where they are doing their thing so well that they don't even think about it any more. Like how sportsmen always get blamed for mistakes they make, and yet celebrated for how things go right. They know when they've done something wrong, and always fight for doing it right, scoring that goal, getting that wicket, crossing the line first etc but how many spectators actually pay attention to the player ratings in soccer, and analyse each position . It takes effort and logic. And that's like how our minds view our masterpieces. When I was young I was nowhere near as prolific. I made about 20 songs in a period of 7 years. That to me was a lot! But when I shared this music, people often didn't like it. And I thought about that, and felt really defensive. If I focused too much on thinking my song was good, sharing it and being told it isn't, I was downhearted, and felt like I hadn't done my job correctly. I hadn't done right. So naturally I stopped writing thinking it was beyond me. Turn to this year, and after many realisations about how music is moving so fast, always changing, you produce a song for last year and it won't fit in with this years music. But there's a good thing for us about that, us who do it for fun, because it means we don't have to follow trends and please everyone - we can please ourselves!

Often I've found the ones who can't make music, can't play guitar, can't write etc are the most critical of those things. Yet they claim to be open minded about what they listen to, again, saying one thing but doing another. Of course this isn't always true, as there are plenty of warm well meaning spirits who appreciate the act of creativity and things they cannot do. And with internet trolls who can team up as mentioned earlier on in the thread, it can distract and hurt. They have their reasons,but overall, I've found nobody is actually bothered about my music apart from the odd one or two who I know. I blend into the background, like an outsider does, ignored and not considered for my work. And I like it that way. So there's the invisibility of being unknown and non swayed by the masses.

Now I come onto the imposter feelings! I used to think I was a fake musician. And honestly, I was more interested in dreaming when I was young. But what always happened other than dreaming? Making. And many will attest to this - if you are writing right now you are a writer. If you are performing a song, you are a musician. Etc. On a simple level, this isn't enough for us who identify so much with the music, with the passion for it all. But thinking about it - people place too much importance on the names (I don't mean genres or act names, more the titles) when really it's the doing that makes you that role. You play guitar in a band? Yay! You're a guitarist! But do you play it? Consider this - Richey Edwards is listed as a singer and guitarist from his band the Manics. But if you know about his situation, he was actually the core songwriter and spokesman of the band. He was the brains behind it all. He knew what to say to the press to stirr up interest, and would often act strangely with purpose. But guess what? He would often times be unplugged on stage, he would mine chords and dance around! Was a guitarist? Yes! Because it's interesting to say he was - it was all part of the show and the image of the band! But to him, the most important thing was getting the music right. Getting it to a point where he knew it would be big, so to speak. Well shortly before his fall, he cowrote some of the most dark and disturbing lyrics they have ever put into a song. He was a troubled soul, and it's interesting to read about his disappearance in the press. But, he cared so much about what he was doing that he neglected the main thing in his life - his health. And I wonder if he was a sufferer of the imposter syndrome, because he led himself to self destruction. Not connected with himself. And he disappeared. Nobody knows where he is now. He could be anywhere and in any state.

So what's the point of all this? I dunno really, guess I felt like sharing the personal side of music, and how much it can be damaging to think that you're not good enough to do what you want to do. You know what? In my eyes I'm an awful musician. But to me that's not important. I do it for more than impressing people. I do it because it makes me feel good. It's like a drug in a way. If I didn't have music in my life, it's very likely I would have turned to cigarettes and alcohol by now. Because I have an outlet, it means more to me. If you ever feel like you are phoney or an imposter, always remember that everyone on this planet is somehow making it up as they go along. Just like me and my music Biggrin Wink don't know if this will help, but thought I'd add into the mix. Smile

Well said @nerdjealous

See You In The Shadows…

You don't invent a genre like "crapcapella" without a healthy dose of imposter syndrome. It practically screams, "I might not be a real musician." The big thing is that I didn't let it stop me.

Oh, I can improvise songs? Somehow that didn't really help until I could improvise whole albums in a single sitting.

Now? I'm an "artist," I have "very specialized skills," and I primarily sing "folk acapella."

Still, I'm looking forward to posting something featuring my lyre, just to be more of a "real" musician.

Always be inebriated just above enough to care about opinions and slightly sparked by psychoactive substances to give off a needed sparkle to whatever/if any audience. If still hesitant, repeat between numbers.

Good advice, @lowhum.
I've gotten through several bouts of doubts by using your method.