Achilles Heel: performance anxiety

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Cpt.Funk, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. Cpt.Funk

    Cpt.Funk New Friend

    Jul 15, 2012
    Hey TM, I could really use some learned counsel. I consider myself a decent Highschool senior trumpet player- when I'm not in front of a judge or audition panel. My tendency when I perform is to tense up my upper body, have my mouth go dry, and have my musicality go out the window (along with my tone, which shattered said window). It has cost me getting an "excellent" rating at Florida state solo and ensemble, and being put on the wait-list for a college of fine arts at UF. I had my audition material mastered, couldn't play it wrong. But then, up in front of the judges, fracks and missed notes were in abundance.

    Any advice to improve my performing skills at a rapid pace to catch up to my peers?
    Thanks, CPT. FUNK
  2. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

    Oct 21, 2011
    Huntsville, Texas
    Do you live in a major city? Or near one?
  3. Cpt.Funk

    Cpt.Funk New Friend

    Jul 15, 2012
    Yes, quite near Sarasota in fact.
  4. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

    Oct 21, 2011
    Huntsville, Texas
    Go there, find a busy street, and play. Take some friends if you want.

    You can also volunteer to play in front of your band, church or anything really. The more you play in front of people, the better. A lot of musicians swear by propanolol but I can't find someone to prescribe it to me.
  5. -C-

    -C- Pianissimo User

    Jul 13, 2011
    Forget the drugs, just play more in public. Experience is the best medicine, IMO anyway.
  6. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

    Jun 10, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    It is not much fun at first, but playing in front of other people is the only way that I know to conquer nerves. After a while it gets easier.
  7. cyber_shake

    cyber_shake Mezzo Forte User

    Jun 16, 2006
    The 'Nati
    I felt much the same at that age ... first solo in college in front of 20K+ cured me of big performance anxiety ... today, 30 years later, i still get a tad nervous before playing, which I think is good = keeps me pushing to play well ... but it is more of a fear of screwing up in front of my peers than the audience.

    I agree with most, ya just gotta play more in front of folks to take the big edge off of the anxiety .. then it is manageable and you can enjoy playing.

    Go Gators!
  8. BachStrad1

    BachStrad1 Pianissimo User

    Apr 9, 2012
    Kalamazoo MI
    Play more in front of people and learn to ignore the fact that they're there and just enjoy making the music. A little bit of butterflies is keeps you sharp and focused. I have the same problem if I'm consciously trying to play for and audience or even just one person. It's a head thing. When I just ignore the surroundings and go with the music, everything is great. And DON'T imagine the audience in their underwear or naked!!! That may lead to an inability to play due to laughter.
  9. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    OP, why are you playing? Is it to create musical art? Motives might be an important part of this calmness equation for you. Is the music you want to play memorized? If so, when you play in front of folks, as others have recommended, perhaps you will lose some of the anxiety and obtain more satisfaction if you simply close your eyes and, as much as possible, lose yourself in your music-making. I had lots of what you have when I was young. Somehow or other I usually won top honors, though most times I wondered if it was because the judges felt sorry for me!

  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Here is the other problem... you say this is your Achilles Heal... which leads me to this basic question:

    Are you playing with your foot in your mouth?

    If so, I have an easy solution to fixing this problem... Wanna Guess what that would be?

Share This Page