Not failing at performances/auditions

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by hhsTrumpet, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. hhsTrumpet

    hhsTrumpet Piano User

    Dec 3, 2011
    I performed a solo at a local Solo Ensemble Festival, and like all of my performances or auditions... I failed. I don't feel nervous, but always in the middle of my piece, scale, or what ever I'm playing, my mind goes blank, and I lose control of everything. I practice about 3 hours everyday (splitting it up through out the day) and I am always more than prepared. However, I always end up doing horrible. How should I fix this problem? This only happens when I perform by myself. :-(
  2. patkins

    patkins Forte User

    Nov 22, 2010
    Tuscaloosa, AL.
    It sounds like performance anxiety syndrome. Deep breathing exercises before you play will help. This usually involves deep breathing through your nostrils to full lung capacity, hold for a few seconds, then exhale with an open mouth. Repeat process 4-5 times for optimal effect. This should be done 15 mins before performance. I glass of cold slushy ice water sometimes helps decrease cardiac tone. The same way a cold splash of water to the face does. These efforts help decrese heart rate and blood pressure.
    Last, but not least. if indeed it is performance anxiety, talk with your doctor. If there is no contraindication a mild dose of a beta-blocker such as 10mg of propranolol can help. This is used in "stage fright, test anxiety, etc." There are a couple of contraindications your doctor can evaluate for, such as bradycardia, or asthma.
    Many performers have this, but it can be overcome. Best regards. BTW, I do the deep breathing and cold splash of water before I have to perform. It works for me. I actually practice the deep sighing regularly 4-5 times per day, just for physiological improvement.
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Being a kind, gentle soul, I hesitate to say this, but get mad! Half of the judges will give you strokes, and the other half are waiting to beat you down to make themselves feel good. Ignore them, and play the heck out of whatever piece you are playing. If the judges are wrong, get madder. If the judges are right, uhh, go back to the woodshed.

    Have fun!
  4. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    Just practice more. If you can't be mindless when performing it, you haven't practiced enough.

  5. hhsTrumpet

    hhsTrumpet Piano User

    Dec 3, 2011
    I practiced more than enough. It's a piece I've had for 5 months and I've played it for 2 auditions (which was a failure), so it is normally easy pie. It's not that become mindless, I don't know how to describe it, but I just loose control of my playing, especially tempo.
  6. hhsTrumpet

    hhsTrumpet Piano User

    Dec 3, 2011
    Does anyone else have advice?
  7. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    When ever my nerves got the best of me I would close my eyes and really get into the piece. It sounds like you are thinking about something else and losing what you are doing... which is playing music.
    I would also try to find more venues to play in front of people and get use to it.
    codyb226 likes this.
  8. 11thchair

    11thchair Pianissimo User

    Jan 27, 2005
    Evansville In
    Story of my life .... until I was asked to play at my church. Still had issues - but this is a forgiving crowd. After many many failures, added prayer before playing - and it finally clicked. Now I actually enjoy playing solo. For me continually throwing myself in front of the bus and handing the whole thing over for someone else to watch worked.
    larry tscharner likes this.
  9. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    How true! A church congregation is the most forgiving and appreciative audience you could ever get. Repeated exposure to the problem is bound to help as sooner or later you are going to get lucky and nail the piece and have a nice boost in confidence. I guess "throwing yourself in front of the bus" is a great way of putting it. The more routine you make it, the easier it will be.

    For me, I concentrate better if I avoid any eye contact with the audience and stay focused on listening to the feedback from the room. If a little more air makes it sound better then I keep tweaking the dynamics. Idealy, I try to find the "zone" that has me all alone and I can play as great as I can sing in the shower. Easier said than done, I know.

    Also I have noticed that I always play at my best when there are other great (greater than me) musicians in the house, either in the audience or on stage with me. I dont know if it is universally true, but the fear of embarrasment in front of my peers focuses me right in and I concentrate perfectly. Im not nearly good enough of a musician to feel respected by others and need to earn their respect every time I play. Sounds funny, but it works for me. Best wishes.
  10. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 12, 2005
    Saint Paul, MN
    Instead of worrying about what the judge or audience is thinking to just focus on the product that is coming out of the bell and making that the best that you can. When I am judging I WANT to hear students play well and hopefully improve from having played at the festival.

    Too often I have heard a student come in start of well make a small insignificant mistake (to most judges) and you can tell that they are starting to beat themselves up about making that which causes them to crash and burn. the way to avoid that is to stay in the present time which will also help focus on the product that is coming out of the horn. In fact when a student makes a mistake and lets it go by them I will reinforce that. I have told many students, "I don't care about mistakes I am more interested in the recovery." After all no one is perfect except God.

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