Not failing at performances/auditions

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

  1. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

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    Hawaian homey
    But do you play before groups?
    It might be to your advantage to play your audition before groups of people; family, friends, fellow band members. And do it regularly.

    You might benefit from a very basic book called "The Relaxation Response". I've done various meditation and self-realisation exercises for decades and I think that book is still one of the best ones going for people who just need a basic, non-esoteric and easy to understand and learn process of relaxing at the drop of a hat. In moments of high stress just before (or even during a performance), I can drop my anxiety level greatly and instantly just by saying three simple words from this book's process. Check it out.

    Probably the greatest lesson I have learned in taking stress out of performances and keeping focus, is to take my ego out of it. Of course, a pop cover band gig in a club is not the same as a solo performance before an attentive audience, so they're not all the same. But when it's required, taking the ego out of it means two things. From a playing point of view, it's having what I call a "don't give a ****" attitude. Basically, that means you play what you play and you can't give a damn what comes out. It's hard to put into words, because obviously, you do give a damn, but it's the difference between being brave and timid.

    The other is looking on yourself, not as the focus of attention, but merely as a conduit. That is, you are not the center of attention of the music, the music flows through you. The music exists "out there" someplace, you (and your accompanist/band etc) bring it into life, and it flows through and out to the listener. When I think of myself as part of a continuous flow, and remove my ego from the process, I tend to make fewer mistakes.

    One last word. I practically never get "stage fright" but I have had it come out of nowhere, uncontrollably. I have performed on television and before dignitaries and been cold as steel, and yet, I've turned around and gotten a bad case of shakes before simple community functions. Rarely, but it's happened. That's why I have developed the above tools to back me up.

    Oh - I don't know if it was mentioned above or not (apologies if it was), but before these auditions or performances, get a good night's sleep and eat well. Have your morning planned well and avoid last-minute panics.


    p.s. I just went to Amazon to check on "The Relaxation Response" and one of the reviews said that there is a revised version that has a lot of medical data at the expense of some of the original text. Anyone interested in getting this book should probably be aware that there are original and revised versions, one of which might be better for them than the other. (I cannot say. My comments are based on the original.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  2. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

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    first .. kehaulani has pretty much nailed how to handle to stage fright thing..
    I know you said you have practice enough ... so here's a couple of things you might consider
    How are you practicing ... when I was younger and I had a piece I would sometimes stop or fluff through a difficult passage and never realized I was doing that. So when it came time to play the piece I would have issues with those places. I was fortunate enough to have an instructor who would catch this and show me what I was doing.
    Learning a piece usually involves learning different passages and then playing them in the context of the whole piece. Sometimes playing a piece starting from the end and working towards the front helps. ie play the last 8 measures ... then move it to the last 16 measures ..24 etc. This way you are as familiar with the end of the piece as the beginning.
    Do you practice with a metronome or accompianament. Sometimes players slow down and speed up during a piece when practicing. It can freeze you if you aren't use to keeping the pulse of the piece.
     
  3. hhsTrumpet

    hhsTrumpet Piano User

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    Yes. I performed in front of friends, families, and band director. I have no problem when I do that. However, in audition or performance situations, I mess up.
    Thanks for the tips!
     
  4. hhsTrumpet

    hhsTrumpet Piano User

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    I worked on it with my teacher, so I had someone to point out my "unnoticed errors".
    Yes, I do practice with a metronome, and I had an accompanist for the performance. However, I didn't end together with the accompanist yesterday, and that is one of the main reasons which made my performance horrible.
     
  5. Chuck Cox

    Chuck Cox Forte User

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    I read all the posts. A lot of good relaxing advise. I was going to add that it might help to stick to the music like you practiced it so many times. Do not focus on anything else. Be very mechanical. Don't think about where you are or who is around you. Don't listen to yourself playing either. Just go through the motions. I think this will help you get through the piece. THEN I read where the accompanist ended the piece without you ! What ??!? Now that is intimidating. My friend, let me explain, the accompanist has only 1 thing to do for YOUR performance. She/He accompanies the soloist. She/He makes it their job to support you throughout the piece. She/He does NOT abandon you for the sake of " being right " and ending the piece where they thought it should be. I have played with a lot of pianists. Most were fantastic. 1 or 2 were in their own world and totally separated from the soloist ( me ). I really think you should rehearse with the accompanist until you two have it worked completely out. My 2 cents.
     
  6. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

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    Shoot, I sorta tensed up reading the advice.
     
  7. Chuck Cox

    Chuck Cox Forte User

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    One more thing. If I were ever to accompany you in a piece ( I'll play 2nd trumpet ), I'm sticking with you. If you get lost....we get lost together.
     
  8. hhsTrumpet

    hhsTrumpet Piano User

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    Thanks for the great advices!
    However i really think this was completely my fault, not the accompanists. She always stays with me (she tells me if I rushed or slowed down after we finish the piece), so I must have done something really bizarre.
     
  9. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

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    speeding up is pretty normal when you get nervous....
     
  10. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

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    I have an issue I'm still working to get over -- when playing solos, I get nervous at times and my articulation goes to hell. What's helped me is to remember to be more aggressive if I notice things going wrong, and to just back it up with air. Mistakes will still be made, but if you keep your cool and push through it, I've found I tend to recover.
     

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