Nita Strauss, the guitarist for Alice Cooper and Demi Lovato, shared tips for guitarists in an interview with Guitar Player magazine. She emphasized that the most important thing about playing a show is to have fun. This is a simple but honest approach to music, and even her mother reminds her of this before every show.
“I’ll let you in on a little secret: The most important thing about playing a show is to have fun. Always.“
“My mother texts me before every show I do, even if I’m just doing one song somewhere, and a lot of times she’ll write, ‘Remember the most important thing.’ It’s really sweet.“
She went on to say that performing involves a lot of preparation, such as practicing and learning the songs. However, when you’re on stage, it’s important not to feel like you’re working. She advises guitarists to avoid ruining the experience by stressing out, but instead to relax, take a deep breath, trust their muscle memory, and enjoy the moment.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into performing. You’ve put in hours of dedicated practice. You’ve learned the songs and you’re ready for the show. But when you hit the stage, it shouldn’t feel like work.“
“Don’t ruin the moment by stressing out. Relax, shake your shoulders out, take a deep breath, trust your muscle memory, and have a great time.“
Nita Strauss makes a valid argument that the most memorable live performances are when the musicians are relaxed and truly enjoying themselves. She suggests reflecting on the best concerts one has attended and remembering that the performers were likely having a great time.
“Think back to the best shows you’ve ever seen. The performers probably looked like they were having a blast – because they were.”
Nita emphasized the importance of gaining experience performing live in front of an audience, rather than relying solely on social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok.
“With YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok ruling the music world, it’s tempting to think that you can create your art from the comfort of your home. But if your ultimate goal is to be a live performer, then you need to get some onstage experience as early as you can.”
She encouraged aspiring musicians to seek out opportunities to play at open-mic nights or to join local cover bands and gigging groups. Nita acknowledged that it can be intimidating at first, but urged musicians to jump in and gain valuable experience that will quickly improve their playing.
“It can be daunting at first, but I think you just have to jump in – you’ll see that the water is fine. There are plenty of opportunities to play in front of people – a lot of clubs have open-mic nights, so you can just show up with your guitar and play.“
“Or you might consider joining a cover band or getting with a local group that’s gigging. However you do it, you’ll see that playing live improves your playing quickly.“