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The Nervous Guitar Player

Playing guitar brings us the greatest joy on Earth. Sometimes, however, we can become overwhelmed trying to convey our happiness to an audience. Sometimes we get nervous.

It happens to all of us at one point or another, and at the time it feels like there’s nothing we can do about it. Allow me to set the scene.

You’re practicing in your bedroom, having one of those sessions where everything you play sounds great. You’re pulling out licks you wouldn’t normally even attempt, and they’re just flowing out of your fingers in beautiful pandemonium.

You punctuate a particularly devastating lick with a screaming bend, attracting another member of your household toward the din. Your door opens slowly, and they walk in. “What’re you up to?” they ask rhetorically. You respond under your breath, “Oh, um… just practicing.”

“Cool! Play me something!”

The request from your new audience initiates an unexpected chain reaction inside you. Your mouth dries up and your stomach gets tight. A cold dew of perspiration begins to form around your brow as you move your hands to the guitar, racking your brain for what to play. You were just playing amazing licks… where did all that magic go? You’re trying to muster up something special, but all that’s coming out of your guitar is complete garbage.

Your hands are completely locked up. It’s as if you’ve never even held a guitar. Your heart begins to pound and you’ve now entered a full-on sweat. Your spectator is starting to regret their visit and this pathetic display of music they’re being subjected to.

After a minute of completely wrong notes and awkward excuses, your audience mutters a half-hearted “That sounds good, man… I gotta go now,” as they slither out the door. No sooner does the door close than all your nerves depart. You sit alone in awe as your guitar playing ability returns in spades. Unfortunately for you, your friend has already made up their mind, and there’s nothing you can do.

Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric brand Music is Win. His insightful, uncomplicated guitar lessons and gear demonstrations along with entertaining, satirical content about life as a musician receive tens of millions of video views per month across social media. Tyler is also the creator of the extremely popular online guitar learning platform, Guitar Super System. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Tyler has been teaching guitar for over a decade and operates a production studio in Nashville, TN.