During a recent interview on Rob’s School of Music, Alice Cooper’s touring guitarist, Nita Strauss, discussed how she prepares herself to go on stage and gave tips on how performers can feel comfortable while performing in front of hundreds of people.
As you know, Nita Strauss has been touring with Alice Cooper since 2014 and she has become one of the most famous female rockstars of all time. It is also worth mentioning that she ranked No. 1 on Guitar World’s list of ‘10 Female Guitar Players You Should Know.’
Recently, Nita Strauss joined Rob on the season finale of Rob’s School of Music show, which is an interview series that has been going on since April. The first question that Nita Strauss was asked was considering her way of overcoming stage fright as she has actually performed on some of the biggest stages ever.
Nita Strauss said that her way of coping with stage fright is based on the most basic advice given to musicians, but one that works for everyone. She stated that the reason why people get stage fright is because when they are performing on stage, they make the mistake of thinking which chord they are going to play and what they are going to do next.
Nita’s advice was to practice tirelessly so that you can come to a point where you’re not thinking when you’re playing. She said that she has also made the mistake of getting into her own head which led her to make big mistakes in front of big audiences. Thus, the best thing to do is to practice so much that you can come to a point where you play out of your muscle memory and don’t have to think.
She also advised her listeners to not just sit and practice but to walk around, to both get used to moving while playing and understand how your instrument is moving when you’re walking around so that there are no surprises when you’re performing on stage. Nita said that even though this is the most basic advice, it’s the one that always works for her.
Here’s what Nita Strauss said about stage fright:
“I guess the best tip for overcoming stage fright is kind of the most basic – and it’s a boring tip and something like, ‘Duh…’ But, you have to practice. You have to practice so much that you’re not thinking about what you’re playing.
So if let’s say you have a young guitar player and the solo’s coming up, and the thoughts running through their head are like, ‘OK, solo’s in E-minor, I’m gonna start on the 12th fret, okay, I better turn off my boost, turn it up, OK, the delay goes on…’ And you’re kind of thinking on all this stuff, it’s a recipe for disaster. I can’t even play like that; if I start thinking like that, I will make gigantic mistakes.”
She went on to confess that:
“I’ve made mistakes like that in front of a lot of people because you just start thinking too much. You really just have to get all that out of your head, let your muscle memory take over and the only way you can make your muscle memory take over like that is a ton of practice.
And not just sitting and practicing, but standing up, walking around, getting used to the movement of the guitar as you move or the movement of your instrument as you move. Not just standing up, the actual physical walking around…”
Click here for the source and you can watch the whole interview below.