Performance Anxiety

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by skuni, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. skuni

    skuni Piano User

    Jan 20, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    Does anyone have suggestions for dealing/overcoming performance anxiety? I know the preparation part, I'm talking about when you know the part cold and nail it in rehearsal but blow the performance. Thanks for any advice.

    This comes from me playing a wedding today and I feel pretty bad about how I played. The organist and I rehearsed and it sounded great in rehearsal but at the ceremony I did not play my best.

    What techniques or books could help?

  2. barato

    barato New Friend

    Jan 17, 2007
    Somewhere in Ohio
    There are no books that can fix performance anxiety. Period! It is all in your head. Yep, there is no physical aspect in performance anxiety whatsoever, it all happens in your head. Playing is 100% mental. You have to concentrate and try not to "choke". All you can do is muster the confidence to play good when it counts. Good Luck, go get that confidence and over ride your performance anxiety!
  3. MJ

    MJ Administrator Staff Member

    Jan 30, 2006
    There are plenty of books out there that might help you or give you strategies. "Trying not to choke" is probably going to make things worse

    Check out books by Don Greene

    Dr. Don Greene Ph.D., Performance Mastery Trainer

  4. TisEkard

    TisEkard Pianissimo User

    Jul 28, 2006
    L.A./Orange County CA
    The way it was told to me was to use your nervous "energy" to your advantage. All it is, is adrenaline (I think). After learning this tecnique, I have learned that adrenaline is what gives my performance energy and excitement. If your legs start shaking, move around, get confortable. I promise this will work. Water might work too. Same with confidence
  5. jlentini

    jlentini New Friend

    Apr 21, 2007
    Brigham City, UT
    I agree with TisEkard don't fight the nerves you will make things worse, it might sound crazy but I had bad performance anxiety, to the point of shaking, dry mouth, and shallow breathing. A friend of mine that was involved in drama suggested eating turkey before a performance to settle the nerves. it has a relaxing agent called....tripta-somethingorrather I can't remeber the name I am sure some one does know...all I know is it worked great for me, I don't use it any more because I can control it but I did it for years...perhaps give it a shot!
  6. lazygoodan

    lazygoodan New Friend

    May 28, 2007
    Everyone is different, but here are some things that have helped me over the years:
    1. Don't look at the crowd during the performance.
    2. If you have your music memorized (and you don't have to follow a director), close your eyes during the performance.
    3. Try to think about something else in the moments before the performance. Perhaps a place you feel comfortable, a person you care about, or, something bigger than yourself and your performance (Faith).

    I'm sure others have tricks that help them.

    Best wishes.
  7. ccNochops

    ccNochops Piano User

    Sep 30, 2006
    White Marsh, VA
    The girls at work & my bride broke me one night on a bar job when they hung a a pair of briefs with one dollar bills pin to it over my mic. Laughed so hard, the rest of the night ended up playing my butt off. The crowd loved it, women I didn't even know, stuffed dollars in it all night....two types of people out there, people having fun enjoying what you play and critics.....those are the ones that can't play an instrument.;-) ....chuck (been back 9 months now!)
  8. Khora

    Khora Piano User

    Sep 17, 2006
    New York
    What you describe doesn't really sound like performance anxiety. When you nail something in a rehearsal, and then not in the performance, it is frequently due to a lack of concentration. I'm guessing that during the rehearsal you were really focused on the music (and maybe trying to impress the organist), and so were totally in the moment. And it went really well. In the performance, you knew it had gone well, so you let your concentration down a little. And that can make a huge difference. Then some little thing goes wrong, and you start to worry and then more things go wrong.

    The key is get that concentration and focus in place every time. Your job is to play the music, to make the music as beautiful as possible. To do that, you need to be totally in the music, and not thinking about anything else. Not about making the bride happy, not about impressing anyone else, not about any personal glory.

    True performance anxiety is when your physical symptoms - elevated heart rate, shallow breathing, excessive sweating, dry mouth (all adrenaline related) - are so severe that you are physically incapable of doing what you need to do. It can be caused by feeling unprepared (not your case), or by fear (of failing, or of succeeding, or of being judged, or of looking silly, or just about anything else), or a subconscious (or unconscious) bad memory.

    Yoga techniques (deep breathing, meditation, gentle stretching to relax muscles) work well for many people. Beta blockers work well for many other people.

    Check out Don Greene's books. If they resonate for you, try the techniques. If they don't, try a yoga class or a meditation class. Finding a solution that works for you is what life is all about!
  9. skuni

    skuni Piano User

    Jan 20, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    It is definately anxiety, my lip and hands shook, shallow breathing etc... I want to perform to my ability but it seems in performance all I can do is survive. Keep the suggestions coming!!
  10. barato

    barato New Friend

    Jan 17, 2007
    Somewhere in Ohio
    Everyone says they have methods for getting over the performance anxiety. For example the turkey, it helps but does it every actually solve the problem? It helps calm the nerves but does it actually totally solve the problem to the point where you will never have to use it again? Do you kind of understand what I am getting at? All I am saying is that the only one that can totally fix the problem is you. Remedies help but it might never cure the problem. The problem is the mental aspect which you need to overcome. Once you have that confidence, than performance anxiety goes away. At first I had performance anxiety, but I overcame it with a boost of confidence and a better mental approach. Well that is all I have to say. Once again, good luck

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