Playing in front of large groups of people...

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

  1. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    I do a couple of things to keep from being too nervous. The first, is if I'm playing from sheet music, I basically concentrate on the music---tunnel vision, if you will. It's hard in your mid-forties to focus fast on the music and then look to something else.

    If I'm working doing improv. or playing along without music, I just close my eyes and concentrate on the sound. I keep my brain busy keeping up with what everybody else is doing and working to match 'em. Hey, Satchmo used to play with his eyes closed!

    Good luck, Lara. Let us know how you do and remember that there are very few perfect concerts! The real art is learning to cover up the mistakes!

  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Lara.... "follow the star".
  3. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

    Oct 11, 2004
    Farnham (a place too smal
    Lara - if you can play in front of Leigh (a man accustomed to hearing Noel etc) and make it sound good, you will have no problems with the Christmas bunch.

    You sounded great when I heard you up at Eclipse - concentrate on enjoying playing that beautiful new trumpet - you will sound wonderful.
  4. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    Get the music now! Review the music and talk the pianist/organist into running through the music with you. You must take it upon yourself to assure that you are adequately prepared before the rehearsal on the 21st. I can almost guarantee the choir director will spend no time with you at the rehearsal.

    Choir director's just don't get it when it comes to instrumentalists. So we need to help them understand and at times take matters into our own hands.
  5. pwillini

    pwillini Pianissimo User

    Mar 4, 2004
    Kalamazoo, MI

    Consider your musical talent a gift from God! Realize that without that gift you wouldn't be able to make a sound come out of a player piano on auto!

    I play in church only, I haven't yet taken my God given gift outside His sanctuary. Maybe that's why I find playing in front of people so easy! I know that whatever I play, God, the Holy Spirit, will take it, multiply it and use it to work in the hearts and lives of those who hear me play. I don't worry about FRAKS or clams while I'm playing, I concentrate on trying to make the best sound possible and let God do the rest.

    I usually play without music, with my eyes closed. I consider my offering a prayer and I use the short time I'm playing to commune with my Father, God Almighty!

    God, your Father, will take what you offer Him, use it to His Glory and Honor and those who hear you will be blessed!

    Drop me a PM afterwards and let me know how it goes! I, too, am playing on Christmas Eve (Oh, Holy Night) and will pray for you and all the other musicians who will be giving their God given talent back to Him that night!

  6. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Lara- Nerves and preparation are intertwined, aren't they? Getting the music so late before a gig doesn't help matters much. Keep working your fundamentals.

    I posted a long post about nerves here somewhere...if you dig you'll find it. There's also some good writing in the ITG journal about performance anxiety. Can't remember which, and my index is at school, and we have a snowday today :thumbsup: .

    Basically, breathing is the key to control. Do not look to eliminate nervousness; it's a natural reaction. Look instead to control it and harness its energy, refocusing it into your performance.

    Church gigs are always my favorites...the people are always so nice to you and genuinely appreciate you. (I've even been paid more than the promised amount on occasion).

    Have off that beautiful Eclipse and make her sing!
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Lara, this is a great topic, unfortunately, I don't have a lot of great tips, although I can relate some of my personal experiences and what has worked for me in the past.

    It has been posted many times that preparation is a key factor in combating nervousness, and I have to agree with this - I realize that you aren't going to have a lot of prep time for this gig, but think of it this way:

    How long have you been playing the trumpet? In many ways, every time you have ever put the horn to you lips, you have been preparing yourself to perform.

    I think that a lot of it boils down to confidence in your equipment and your abilities, and from where I stand, reading the things that you have posted since I have known you through these forums, you should be confident in your abilities. It isn't like you are just some kid that plays horn in the band, hacking away somewhere in the middle of the section - you LEAD the section, and for good reason: because you CAN! Believe in what you have been taught and what you have learned to this point because undoubtedly it's more than enough to get you through the performance you are going to do.

    As for your equipment...what do you think everyone? Should she have confidence in her Eclipse or not? ;-)

    However, none of what I have said is going to help a whole lot when the nerves do hit. The trick for me has always been to use that energy to give me a nervous edge and I have a few tricks that I have picked up in the past.

    One thing has always been to focus on breathing - I just take nice, easy, full breaths, close my eyes if I can and think about settling down and mentally run through whatever it is I'm going to be playing.

    Then I try to focus on the music, especially once it starts. I have found that as soon as I begin to get my head where it matters most - the task at hand of performing music - many of the symptoms of nervousness begin to fade.

    Of course there have been a few occasions, nice little jewels of memories for me, where I couldn't get a handle on it, and I completely flopped. The audition I took last July is one of those times, however two BIG factors that were missing from that equation were that I knew I wasn't as prepared as I needed to be, and I didn't have confidence that my abilities were going to be enough to do well enough to win the spot. But, that sort of thing, in the 18 years since I started performing "real" music outside of school related activities, hasn't happened very often - probably less than 5 times where my nerves caused a big crash and burn. Actually, when I think back on it, in virtually every single one of those instances, I either wasn't prepared enough, lacked confidence in my abilities, or both.

    Personally, I think you have this one in the bag. :D

    One last thought - you made a comment about range and not knowing if the tune was going to be too high. Don't sweat it - if it extends past your comfortable range, alter the line. It's better to alter the line and retain the musicality than to go for it, miss or struggle, and kill the musical effect. I do it all of the time in the 3rd set on those looooong party band nights. ;-)
  8. 11thchair

    11thchair Pianissimo User

    Jan 27, 2005
    Evansville In
    Seems like there was a similar discussion when you 1st asked at your church if you could play - Easter wasn't it. I think it went great from your report. And if you are still playing there it did not put a damper on the music director.

    If you are worried about playing on the Eclipse then get the Xeno out. You can ship the MR down to me and I'll play it on Christmas. :D

    Some relaxers that I do before hand.

    1. Take a glass of water up to where I will play. Take a healthy drink before you start. This gets rid of worring about getting dry lips before you start.

    2. Memorize to the point that you don't have to think at all about the 1st 2 measures. Your start is assurred.

    3. Breathe.

    4. A short prayer, ask for blessings.

    Since I started this routine I have not had much of a panic issue. And church is a great place to play. Everyone thanks you - or least used to (after you do several you are just part of the service).
  9. silverstar

    silverstar Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 6, 2005
    11th chair...

    We switched parishes earlier this year to one that is closer to my home. The music leader is also my former trumpet teacher...

    Heck guys, I think I'm being my own worst enemy now.

    I'll do fine. It's Christmas, and I have an awesome horn!

    Thank you for all the help, it is going to help me tremendously.

  10. a_legaspi

    a_legaspi New Friend

    Sep 20, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    If this helps you any silverstar, try a technique that my uncle who happens to be a Hypnotherapist taught me when I was getting reading for my recital. When you are in bed ready to go to sleep begin to go through the performance in your head, I mean through everything. When you open the case the first notes you will play backstage, all the way to the end. Always picture yourself in a positive light. And one thing to tell yourself always, is "I allow myself to be the musician I want to be". This will allow yourself to release the inner musician in you to come out and play incredibly. Sorry my uncle got me into this whole meditation thing and I have been hooked since, since than my stage fright which used to be really really really bad has gone down dramatically almost to the point where it is almost gone.

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