The jump to the 'Big Boy Stage' 006
Let’s face it, it’s what we all aim for, playing the big stage. Everyone will have a different definition of what a big stage is, some might class it as a 1000 cap room, some may class it as a 10,000 cap room, this all comes down to personal perspective.
Your personal perspective will change as you progress, playing larger and larger shows to more people, what you once would have classed as ‘Big’ might not be anymore. This principle applies in most areas of life.
Depending on your success, you will at some point make the jump. Some people find it easier than others to cope with the mental battles you might face like stage fright, or the sound of your inner voice saying, “don’t mess this up, you have 5000 watching you”. I have experienced this jump in the last year or so and my perspective of what I would have classed as a big stage as changed a lot in that time. I am very grateful for the position I am in; however, it hasn’t come without its mental battles. I’m lucky I’ve never suffered from stage fright badly on smaller stages, in some ways this has made the transition to bigger stages more difficult. You might ask ‘why, that makes no sense?” …
The reason for this is it has unlocked a whole new set of fears and feelings I’ve not really experienced on stage before… so now I’m feeling the nerves and getting these “don’t mess up” thoughts in my head and I’m in front of sometimes thousands of people, this sounds like a recipe for disaster!
So how have a learned to tackle this?
First of all I find picking a ‘safe spot’ in the audience that you focus on can help blur the perspective of the actual size of the crowd. Find people that look happy and having a good time, focus on them as your ‘safe spot’. Whenever you get negative thoughts come into your head, use some of these quotes to help tackle the thoughts and fears:
“This is what I’ve always aimed for, now I’ve achieved it I deserve to enjoy it”.
“Nothing has changed from the practice room; this is just one big practice with people stood in front of me”
“There are more crew and people around me to help if something goes wrong, what have I got to worry about?”
“I’m so grateful for this experience, I’m going to soak up every second”
You will over time find coping strategies that work for you and as you progress these will ever evolve until playing what you once saw as a ‘Big Stage’ is now normal and just as comfortable as playing in practice, just with more adrenaline.