Tips for Overcoming Drummer Pre-Show Jitters
Pre-show jitters are a very common aspect of performing, and all musicians experience them to varying degrees. They are a manifestation of processes occurring in the body which prepare it for action -- the “fight or flight” response. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is the part of the body responsible for the symptoms that a musician experiences, and epinephrine (“adrenalin”) is one of several hormones released into the bloodstream. The goal of this nervous system activation is to help the body achieve peak performance and is a survival mechanism.
Some of the specifics of the SNS response include improved reflexes, enhanced memory, regulation of blood flow, and a switch to a catabolic state.
SNS activation is important part of performing well (with energy and emotion), but too much can cause a decrease in performance. Ultimately, the goal is to reach a middle ground. This will maximize performance, but keep the adverse symptoms to a minimum. There are mechanisms musicians can use to regulate their degree of SNS activation -- as well as some things to avoid -- and these are vital to achieving consistency.
Tips for Conquering Pre-Show Jitters
1. Establish a routine. The day-of-show routine starts when you wake up, and ends when the show starts. A few of the components in the routine are calorie intake, fluids, travel time to show location, warm-up, stretching, gear check, mental exercises, etc.... Some components will vary depending upon the type of show, but the basic framework will remain consistent. Every time you perform it is different, but developing a consistent routine will provide a familiar base from which to launch your routine. It will also give you confidence that you know you are ready to play.
5. Be well practiced. The more you rehearse the performance material - the less more relaxed you will be when it's show time. Having a few tricks up your sleeve, like the heel-toe or freehand technique, for a possible drum solo is also a great way to be prepared. This way you will be confident that you can win the crowd over.
6. Work together with others. Try to build your routine with others in the band. Have simple pre-show rituals or group exercises that help calm the group down as a whole. Some ideas include: a quick game of hacky sack (or footbag), a simple acoustic guitar warm-up, or perhaps a brief prayer (especially for a religious group).
Also, try not to work against each other. Practicing rudiments on a practice pad, or strumming recklessly on a guitar in the same room as all of your band mates may relax you while irritating the rest of the group.
If you are looking for tips on how to get gigs - visit How To Play Drums .com.
Related content you may also be interested in...
10 Important Things Bands Look For In A Drummer - I am a firm believer that some of the best drummers in the world will never be discovered. This is because they are lacking certain qualities that bandleaders are looking for. Usually a bandleader will try out a drummer for a single practice or gig, and only call them back if they make a good first impression. Here, in no particular order, are 10 things you can do to make that better first impression.
Save Your Money With These Drum Kit Buying Tips! - It can be quite frustrating shopping around at different places and wondering whether the kit that you like is actually any good. With all the different name brands out there today - it is hard to blame anyone for being confused. There are numerous drum manufacturers, and each one seems to have five or six different product lines within their brand. I have bought and sold over 40 drum-kits in the last four years, and here are some of the things I've learned.