The Difficulty With Show Playing

Whenever I play music in front of a large group of people, something weird happens in my heart. No wait, let me back up, even in preparation for playing music in front of a large group of people, something weird happens in my heart. I get anxious, cranky, and uptight. I’m not fun to be around, I don’t believe in my music, and I don’t believe in myself or what I’m doing.

I’m not entirely sure why this is. I know it happens more in relation to playing full on shows than say, playing just one song at church. And I don’t know if it’s the kind of shows I do or just a lack of experience. Frankly, I don’t know what the heck it is…

But I know how I feel afterward: slightly disappointed and disheartened.

I love music. I love writing songs. I love sharing the songs I’ve written. But I hate the performance nature of shows. Not the performing part, but the questioning at people’s reaction and whether they “like” me. I hate the awkwardness of myself and the…… The……. You know? I’m not really sure. As I said, I just get weird. And it’s hard to believe in myself when that happens.

I’m not exactly sure what this means for me, if anything. Maybe it means I’ll never be a full-fledged performer. Maybe it just means that I have some things to sort out with myself. Maybe it means I need to plan better and be more prepared.

The thing is, as a song writer I can’t just keep songs to myself. I wouldn’t write songs if I didn’t want them to be heard. And they will be heard – whether by my friends or my church or the world: they’ll be heard. And someday I won’t be so “unlike myself” with playing shows, or I won’t be playing shows because it makes it hard to like myself. But whatever happens, I’ll still be writing music.

5 thoughts on “The Difficulty With Show Playing

  1. Your music like your voice is beautiful. I think you should record yourself and listen to it and embrace it! Maybe then you’ll be free of sellf-doubt. In case that doesn’t work, I once read that Carly Simon suffers from terrible stage fright and has even cancelled shows or left the stage because of it. (I hope you aren’t too young to know who she is)

  2. I think it means you’re a true artist – introspective, self-aware, and honest. Give yourself freedom to patiently work through this, and you’ll be even more brilliant once you do. :)

  3. Hi Marijke!

    You have been blessed with a beautiful gift. When you share it with others, that is a real blessing for you and all of us! So don’t hide your light under a bushel, let it shine!

  4. If it’s worth anything, I thought you guys were great. Also, you are like 100 times braver than me. To put yourself out there in a song is a big deal. It’s encouraging and inspiring to see people risk like that.

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