Anybody have a problem with stage fright and conquer it?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rbdeli, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. rbdeli

    rbdeli Mezzo Piano User

    May 8, 2009
    I remember when I was a young lad just learning to play. I couldn't wait for people to ask me to perform. I was very excited and confident in my playing. As I got into highschool and became more serious, I began experiencing a strange phenomenon. week knees, shortness of breath and unable to play to the best of my abilities. I was still first chair, but by the time I got into college and music school at Berklee and North Texas, I was not playing anything close to my abilities.

    It got so bad that I refused to play any of my required recitals for trumpet class. Just thinking about it, made it worse. Eventually, I decided to change my major and never played professionally. I don't regret changing careers - as I don't think I was ever cutout to be a performer. But I am curious if anyone else battled this problem and was able to conquer it. Tell us how you did it.
  2. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    I never had it as bad as you describe, but once I hit the last year of high school, and throughout college I suffered from dry mouth and tunnel vision when I played in front of people.
    The thing that cured it was me getting hired for gigs and playing in unfamiliar situations. I had to get used to performing in front of people. I learned to stay calm and realize that no one wants you to play badly.
  3. plutopete

    plutopete New Friend

    Jun 28, 2009
    Hessel, MI
    My first audition at Oberlin to be accepted as a trumpet major did not go well. I know that the panic hurt my performance, though I don't think it was on the order of stage fright. In the second try, I somehow took the attitude that the memory of having had fun during that half hour and still not passing would have more long term positive effect on my life than being unhappy and passing. Result: I had fun AND passed. I now try to take the attitude every time I pick up the horn that it may be my last time, so ENJOY!
  4. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    That´s so right! People come to get a nice experience,
    not to see you fail.

    The question you must ask yourself is: have I come to
    give people this nice experience, or am I here for my
    OWN reasons (wanting people to admire me, taking a
    step towards fame, making people believe that I´m a
    better player than I am etc.)?

    Just try to focus on the things you can GIVE, not GET.
    As soon as you start doing that, you will also be thinking
    more about the musical expression, the most important
    thing of all for both artist and audience.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2009
  5. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    RB, I suffer the same drama as you do - but not to the extremes you have encountered - strangely, my working day is spent facilitating training courses for small groups (20 or so) of technical specialists.

    I eventually realised that the whole performance is not about me, it's about providing a service (support) for others in the section, and if that means solos (and I still hate them) then I will participate as well as I know how. Learning to relax (David Monette's website) helped all aspects of my playing and allowed me to centre on the trumpet (method and tone), usually to the exclusion of the external distractions, and certainly exclusion of the audience (but not the rest of the section) - if I think of the audience I'm done for. Who'd've thought that a professional presenter would have 'performance nerves'? :dontknow:

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