anxiety killed breathing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by chet fan, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. chet fan

    chet fan Piano User

    Jul 3, 2009
    I had a public apperance last night, it wasnt very difficult stuff some blues and few standards that I know for a long time, and it wasnt exactly a concert but some jam session but in froont of the audience. What I experienced is that I was extremley nervous, and that when I started to play I became even more nervous because I wasnt satisfied with my performance, soon I couldnt breathe proper due to anxiety, nervoussnes and frustration that came because of that all. So after I just stopped and went away. I had no embouchure problems, nothing, I knew my repertoire by heart, but I just couldnt breathe. And if you cannot breathe you cannot play that is obvious. Of yourse they all knew what happened and they suggested me to drink some brandy next time. What do you think would help? a bit of yoga maybe?

    I also play in marching band and I never ever experienced any kind of anxiety there nor nervousness, maybe it is because I am surrounded by 40 people all playing music, so I can hide -figuratively speaking ofcourse.

    It is mental thing for sure. Because I have no problem with breathing when I play/practice alone or when I am rehearsing with a marching band, even my march band director said that I am one of the better breathers in the band
  2. Domino

    Domino Pianissimo User

    Sep 18, 2010
    Norway, 69 deg N
    Brandy is not a good idea. What will happen over time that you will become more and more dependent on the brandy to be able to perform. In the end you will be unable to perform sober. Plenty of musicians and other entertainers have tried this before you.
  3. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

    Aug 19, 2008
    Bordeaux, France.
    Yoga is a good idea. Late Roger Guérin, great French jazz player (see his biography in the last issue of ITG journal), was an adept of yoga, as many other musicians nowadays. I don't do the yoga, I use a glass of Bordeaux wine, but as Domino said, that isn't a good idea.
  4. tptCarl

    tptCarl Pianissimo User

    Jan 17, 2006
    Cottonwood, Arizona
    Learning to calm the body with the breath is one of the many benefits of yoga. I try to practice yoga daily, but if my day is too crowded I do, at a minimum, 10 minutes of yoga breathing exercises. Long, slow inhalation, long, slow exhalation............ the inhale brings life, the exhale brings calmness.
  5. Cloud_Strife

    Cloud_Strife New Friend

    Oct 7, 2010
    Exactly what Domino said. What if you don't always have that Brandy? What are you going to do? Not perform? Dont depend on Brandy or anything alse like it.
  6. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010

    Curious how you know what Chet Fan's future will be if he takes a shot to calm his nerves early in his career. Don't do it, Chet Fan, you'll become a drunk.:play:

    And don't smoke anything either, trumpet players are supposed to be straight arrows. Yoga's okay. Don't forget air's free. And don't feel bad, we've all been there. Nerves are part of the human condition.

  7. craigph

    craigph Piano User

    Mar 12, 2010
    Its just performance anxiety. Many (most?) people get it in the early days when they get up in front of a group of people for some reason. I am a university lecturer and am in front of people all the time and regularly give speaches or presentations in front of anywhere from a handful to a few hundred people. I still sometimes get a tad bit nervous at times (like giving a presentation in a second language I am not fully fluent in in front of dozens of strangers) but like anything else with experience it all becomes second nature.

    Here is my advice for your situation... First recognise that you WILL get anxious. You are going to get sweaty palms, and lack breath etc. But, that WILL also pass. The fight or flight instinct doesn't last for ever and the adrenaline will wear off. (You may actually be in slightly worse shape for a little while after that so be forewarned.) At somepoint, although you may not be in your element, you will get accustomed to performing in front of people.

    Second, plan accordingly. You will likely be nervous during the first tune. So don't plan to play something that features you too prominently. Don't carry the lead. Don't be the focus. Blues is good - just play some simple two note riffs every couple bars. (3rd and 7ths are good but anything is fine, or even just emphasize the root - DAAAAA Da! DAAAAA Da!, etc. ) In other words in this jam just play some accents for color so that most of the time you are NOT playing, so you can breathe and acclimatize. If you are still nervous do the same for the second, or third etc tune. When you feel a bit more relaxed sketch out the tune a bit. Play a line of the melody, and then sit out for the next line call-and-response style. Or something similar. I find that most of the musicians at a jam are understanding and will work with you and the audience is not critical and just out for a good time.

    I don't think that yoga or alcohol are going to help with stage fright directly. Alcohol may work by distracting you from having stage fright but also screws with your responses. Its better to just keep doing it until you get more comfortable. Just be comforted that it is something most people go through.
  8. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Good post, Craigph. That's been my experience; musicians at a jam know what it's like ... I've been the nervous one and the one helping calm someone else's nerves. Musicans are usually very accommodating and the audience is NEVER as critical as we think they are when we're nervous. Their memories aren't that great either.:lol:

  9. craigph

    craigph Piano User

    Mar 12, 2010
    I think its a bit funny sometimes when I have students giving a presentation in front of their classmates. It is normally a small-ish group and they know each other well. But many of the students get REALLY nervous when speaking in front of their an audience of their peers. In that situation they are self-aware whereas, on another occasion if they are organizing a meet-up outside of class and talking to the whole group it is second nature.

    I used to have a regular solo gig singing and playing guitar in a pub. I'd always arrive a bit early and do a sound check. From my perspective the purpose of that was just to ramp up to the real show. I could start and stop a tune whenever, stop to tune, or adjust something, noodle around a bit, and it was low pressure because it wasn't the 'real' show. Then after a break I'd start for real and at first do a couple easy tunes that wouldn't push anything. People pay attention for the first song or two but in a bar kind of situation many people don't listen attentively thereafter. That's when you can relax and start to stretch out and take some chances in a lower-pressure context.
  10. dan42guy

    dan42guy New Friend

    May 6, 2010
    Fort Worth, TX
    Just hang in there and perform as often as possible. You'll either stop getting nervous or you'll learn how to play/breathe correctly despite your nervousness. That was a problem for me for a LONG time!

Share This Page