Playing in front of large groups of people...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by silverstar, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. silverstar

    silverstar Mezzo Forte User

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    Jan 6, 2005
    I am going to be playing my trumpet for the Christmas Eve mass at my church. I'm really excited because it'll be the first time I get to play in front of a lot of people, solo, with my new baby!!!

    Now, I have a huge problem with nerves. I've tried everything, but as soon as I get in front of people, I start shaking uncontrollably and I frac notes like tuning C. It's pretty bad. I also tighten up and forget to breathe.

    I really want to play my horn and make it sound good and show people that I can in fact play and sound good, but this shaking gets in the way of everything.

    Any suggestions?
    Lara....who really can't wait to show off her Eclipse!!!!
     
  2. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Lara,

    I'm so sorry to hear that. I used to have the exact same problem myself.

    Well, there are no quick solutions to what you are experiencing, sorry to say.
    Performance anxiety, as it is called, is a common problem that a lot of people struggle with. I did for years. It wasn't until I learned what anxiety is about, how it affects a person and how to react to it that I overcame it myself.

    The good news is you will overcome this and your public performances will improve tremendously!

    In your case keep it simple from now until Christmas. Don't think you have to change your playing, just a few little things. So, one of the first things you can do is to visualize yourself playing as wonderfully as you know you can when the time comes on Christmas Eve. When you have a free moment in your day visualize youself in front of Church playing like Gabrielle! :-)

    If you can, practice in the Church so you get comfortable being in the spot you will be playing. If you don't usually play at that time of the night, try it out this weekend.

    On the performance day any thoughts of missed notes or thinking 'What if..." should be put out of your mind and replaced by postive thoughts, such as "I know I am excited and I am ready to play my best tonight" or "I wouldn't be up here playing if my Church family didn't believe in me" or as simple as "God is on my side and I can do this, there's nothing to worry about". Also, practice deep, deep breathing. In through the nose and out through your mouth like you are blowing out a candle. Concentrating on deep breathing is one simple way to relax the nerves.

    OK, these are some examples, and since I assume you are comfortable doing so, don't forget to ask God to settle your nerves, after all He wants you to succeed and He has a soft spot in His heart for nervous trumpet players on Christmas Eve - trust me on that! :-)

    Now, after Christmas, tell me how it went and I'll have some resources for you to look into. These are simple things, nothing dramatic, I just don't want you to have a bunch of new things on your mind right now.

    Greg :-)
     
  3. Clarence

    Clarence Mezzo Forte User

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    Man just get up on that stage or what ever and grab them people by the neck like ya own em.
    just take the stage homie and run it! ;-)
     
  4. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

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    Flagstaff, AZ
    Eat a few bannanas before you go, it's never worked for me personaly, but alot of people say it helps.
     
  5. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Morpheus wrote:
    "Do what he say! Do what he say!" ...Sheriff Bart

    Just play like you always do.
    Have fun!

    -cw-
     
  6. Clarence

    Clarence Mezzo Forte User

    Age:
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    chuck you alway,s crack me up! ROFL
     
  7. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

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    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    Lara,

    This is a cut and paste from a post that I wrote last month about auditions. It's advice that I think will help you during your performance on Christmas Eve. In addition to the attached text, I would suggest playing along with a simple carol / hymn before your solo. That's a good way to get comfortable with the room. Play verses 1 and 4 while the congregation is singing. Not too loud. Just to color the sound of the organ / piano and get you thinking musically before you play by yourself.

    Repost from Auditon Topic.......

    Your mind always wants to be busy. It needs something to occupy it. If you think to yourself “I’m not going to be nervous at my audition†you haven’t given your mind anything constructive to think about. It’s like telling a 4-year-old NOT to hit their brother. All they hear is “Hit Your Brotherâ€!

    I took an audition a couple of years ago that was one of my personal best showings. I really feel like I played as well as I was capable of playing (my nervous energy remained in check). My instructor gave me a concept that was a variation on something that Norm Bolter (2nd trombone in the BSO) said once. When he would go on stage to audition, he says a mantra to himself, "Pitch and Rhythm, Pitch and Rhythm". My instructor thought it would be better for me to flood my mind with what it is that is coming up (pure musical ideas) rather than "what ifs" and/or verbal commands. So I started to sing through the opening phrase of the Hummel (the first thing that I was to play in the auditon) to give my mind something constructive to do. It really worked for me!

    Your conscious mind is literally like a little kid in audition situations, getting into mischief that will cause the rest of your body to perform below it’s capabilities. If you want your kids to be good in a busy waiting room and the associated appointment, you better bring some quiet activities along to keep them occupied until it’s your turn to accomplish your business. If you forget to plan the quiet activities, you are potentially going to be frustrated at them for being “kidsâ€. You’ll spend your energy trying to keep them quiet and then you’ll be less prepared for your important meeting because your mind is less focused (just like the audition situation). Giving your conscious mind something to do (singing through musical phrases in your mind) is just like providing the quiet activity for your kids in the waiting room. It requires some preparation and discipline to do it, but the payoff is you can play to the level of your current preparation.

    Keep simple (positive) music thoughts going through your head and your mind will allow you to play your best.

    Here's a link to an article by Bryan Edgett that you might enjoy.

    Hope this helps!
     
  8. silverstar

    silverstar Mezzo Forte User

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    Jan 6, 2005
    Thanks guys. Actually, a lot of the stress right now is the fact I get the music the Wednesday before hand, and I have one rehearsal, that night, when I get the music.

    I'm freaking out because I don't know if they will pick something that is too high for me to play....

    Lara
     
  9. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Lara,

    I can see where you would not like to get the music on the 21st during the only rehearsal - that is quite short notice for you. Maybe you could contact the director and simply request a copy ahead of time since 3 days is not a lot of time to practice.

    If the high notes give you a problem when you practice, then play them down an octave - no one will hold it against you.

    Do you know what pieces you will be doing? If it is the typical Catholic Mass music I probably could get you a copy if you can't get it sooner.

    Greg
     
  10. butxifxnot

    butxifxnot Pianissimo User

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    Jul 10, 2004
    Here...
    Stage freight. :( I'm sorry.

    All I can really tell you is what helps me:

    I get some nerves sometimes(esp at things like auditions). For that, I play a mental game with myself.

    I don't think about messing up, being good or bad, or how nervous I am or should be.

    I think about making music. I say to myself "I know what I can do, so I'm going to do it and make music out of it" not "I'm going to play this and this and this in this manner so that it will be right." Even if it's wrong, make it music! :cool: That's what it's about, anyway, when I think about it in retrospect.

    Get in the jazz, as the line goes.

    Hope that helps. :-) Good show.
     

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