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How I Bombed On Stage

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Facing your fears can help you move forward – on stage and off

At a recent show, I wanted to do something so drastic that it would impact and inspire my audience to face their biggest fears. To do this, I knew I had to lead by example, so I faced MY biggest fear, right there on stage.

I shared how, at 10 years old, I had a piano recital at the grand auditorium of Phoenix College. There were four other kids my age who were giving impeccable performances, and I was going last. I sat down at the piano, nervous and scared that the worst would happen. And it did.

Just a few seconds into the piece that I had memorized, my mind went blank. Recalling the lesson that my father had taught me to never stop playing when things go wrong, I kept on. The sad thing is, I was improvising, but it was an absolute train wreck. I kept playing and playing, wanting only to run off stage in tears. And when I got to the catastrophic end of the song, a most deafening silence filled the room. In that moment, I looked up and saw the disappointed look on my piano teacher’s face that reinforced my feelings of failure. That was the last time I played piano in public for the next 25 years.

Until now. After sharing that childhood story during my recent concert, I told the audience that I was ready to face my 25-year fear and play piano for them on stage for the first time since that dreadful day. As the lights dimmed, I sat down at the piano and my heart started pounding, my fingers started shaking, and I had to take a deep breath. And then, I started playing one of my new songs, and as I sang into the microphone, I felt like all of those years of anxiety came soaring out of me.

And after playing the piece flawlessly, I hit the final note, stood up with my arms in the air, and felt like I just conquered the world! Indeed, I had conquered MY world. And then… the audience went crazy, and I could see my mom and my wife with tears in their eyes. Right there, in that moment, I had broken through my fear and it was even more exhilarating than I ever imagined it would be.

Now I’m here to tell you that it’s time to pick YOUR biggest fear around your music business and face it head on. Why? Because it’s the very thing that’s been holding you back. It might be
around getting your music out there, networking, contacting venue owners, making more money, performing, or being rejected.

I love being on stage and performing. It’s my home. But playing the piano in public was the scariest thing to me. Until I did something about it. Now, are you ready to conquer your fear? Fear is the only thing in the world that gets smaller as you run toward it. Go forward. Be the dream.

Tiamo De Vettori is a music success coach who has spoken to over 47,000 people around the world at colleges, universities, conferences, and seminars. He has been featured on FOX, CBS, NBC, and MSNBC, and was named L.A. Music Award’s “Singer/Songwriter of the Year.” With a passion for empowering independent artists, Tiamo teaches musicians, singers, and songwriters about new and creative ways to make great full-time income with their musical gifts. Click to receive his guide, “Musicians Money Making Secrets,” for free!

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20 thoughts on “How I Bombed On Stage

  1. If these stories do not apply to you, shut up and don’t read them. You bore the rest of us with your self righteous indignation.

  2. Thanks for the advice. I too have a fear of playing solo in public. I played in Jazz Band in High School and College. No big deal. But solo Guitar and singing have caused me to hit the wall. I’ll try to keep your victory in mind and try to push through.


  3. I sure hope you told your story in under 15 seconds. I sure hope it was funny. Otherwise, I’m sorry, but your monologue most likely would have sent me out for a smoke, even though I quit a while ago.

    Look, when you get on stage, you are no longer a musician. You are an entertainer. An entertainer who entertains with music. You get up there, and have a good time. You destroy your set as if it’s the last time you’ll ever get onstage. You make the people who showed up glad that they abandoned their Facebook/Youtube/Xbox/shitty reality TV show and came out to spend 20 bucks instead. Unless your little story is short AND funny, forget it.

    There’s nothing worse in my opinion than a performer who is scared, sorry, bored, mad, or taking themselves too seriously. No matter what your day was like, if you’re sicker than a dog, your bass player keeps blowing that one line, or your sweetheart is screwing someone else, you get up there and play your ass off with style and gusto (and a smile) so the good people that came to see you aren’t sorry they showed up.

    This one thing will always serve you well: Promise yourself that you will never have a bad show again. Ever.

  4. Thank you SO much for sharing this! My fear is definitely getting my music out there. I feel like I’m an annoying fly who only bothers people when I try promoting myself.

  5. This is the most important thing I have ever read
    And has changed everything in my life… Everything and I thank you!

  6. Same thing happened to me when I was 8 at an accordion recital . Looked at the audience and it freaked me out
    and my mind went blank and I stopped and said “I Forgot! ” .

    Since then I ended up being a professional musician and have performed probably thousand of times but I’ll never forget that day .

  7. I remember one night when I got completely lost in a very technical piece while playing drums for a prog rock band. Having understood my mistake in the timing….I quickly stood up as soon as the song was over and pointed at the bass player and yelled “What the hell were you doing in there!!” The audience looked at my bass player and pointed and laughed at him. My guitarist, singer and sound guy fell in tears…ironically…so did the bass player….. Yep….I ALMOST bombed that night 🙂

  8. Thank you for a very courageous and inspiring story…we are all blessed by this lesson of personal triumph over the dark spirit of fear. Oftentimes, our own mind can create our own heaven or hell. Congratulations on this victory.

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