Playing in front of large groups of people...

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

  1. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit

    Sounds like you are indeed being your own worst enemy. Just relax and as Manny would say "Sing"

    I haven't played solo in front of any group in a long time. Just got back into it after a 20 year absence, but when I was in school I always sat 1st chair.

    I was always nervous, but I found that if I concentrated on the task at hand, and not the audience in front of me I usually did just fine.

    Play that music, as you practice it nice and relaxed and I'm sure you'll be fine.

    Look at it this way, your gigging for God what could go wrong? :cool:

    Knock em out girl....
  2. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    My experience is that the solution to this problem is to gain successful experience in public performance, and the only way to do that is to perform at every opportunity. When I used to perform, I finally got to the point where I had done it often enough and had been successful often enough, that the fear of the unknown, for the most part, was gone.

    IMO, the issue is fear of the unknown. A person is unsure about what is going to happen. Will something happen that will be embarrassing? Will a note be missed? Will I sound good at that time? How will the audience respond to my performance?

    I know of no other effective way to deal with these "unknowns" than to gain experience, so that these "unknowns" become "knowns."

    You are dealing with the fear of the of the most debilitating of all fears, IMHO. You must turn the unknown into the ordinary and commonplace experience. That is accomplished by doing it over and over until you no longer wonder what is going to happen. You KNOW what is going to happen.

    Then, the nervousness and fear will become much more manageable, because the outcome of your performance will be certain.

    The basic fears you experience will not go away by reading books, talking to yourself, eating bananas, or drinking water, anymore than you will learn to swim by lying on the living room floor and waving your arms and legs. You learn by doing. Your fear will be greatly reduced by successful experience.
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Good post Dave - I agree and would have posted much the same thing, having experienced much the same thing myself when I was gigging nearly every day in an Army band, but that bit of advice isn't going to do her much good between now and Christmas Eve. ;-) However, to try to apply what you are talking about - getting through the fear of the unknown - that's why I suggested that she focus on the things that she does know - her own abilities, the quality of her equipment, and music.
  4. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    I here is what I would recommend for her, unless she has already committed herself to the music to be played...

    Select music that is well within her abilities, something that would be considered "easy," and perhaps she knows and maybe played before. This may sound silly, but play something that is technically demanding to only perhaps half or less of her normal abilities. Then, she has the reasonable assurance and confidence that she isn't venturing into "territory," so to speak, that might cause trouble. Stay well within technical limits, and do not attempt to push those limits at this time. Much better strategy to do a great job on something easy, than just barely get by, or maybe even crack on something difficult.

    My father, a veteran performer, musician, and teacher, used to tell me this...when you are under considerable stress, you may only have about half of your normal abilities at your command. Mental stress has the effect of reducing normal physical skills. So, compensate on the side of the music...keep it easy and relatively simple...the audience will not know any better, but you will...

    Also, never try to do anything in performance that hasn't been very well planned and rehearsed. Dad used to say, "Don't try to pull anything out of your hip pocket." Practice exactly the way you will play, and play exactly as you have practiced.

    Do these things, including being well warmed up, and I am sure it will all turn out OK... ;-)
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Hey Lara! How did it go? Were you able to get a handle on your nerves?

    I played a thing for church on flugelhorn that started the service - it was "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" but it was a CD play along that was put together out of something that my band (sequenced) does. The bandleader does excellent work in the studio and he filled in the necessary parts (to include some pretty decent synth drums) to make it sort of a "music minus 1" sort of thing, the end result of which was a neat little jazzy, backdrop to overlay a solo part. Normally it's done as a two part thing, flugel and tenor sax, where the flugel plays, then the sax plays, and they switch off, but I played both parts.

    Anyway, I got incredibly nervous for a couple of reasons (mainly because most of the people in that church know me as a drummer, not a horn player, and I actually know most of the people there) but I was able to channel that nervous energy into just what I had hoped for.

    I hope you were able to keep a handle on all of it and that you got through the music ok.
  6. silverstar

    silverstar Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 6, 2005
    It went pretty ok. I screwed up the first song completely, but it's ok, because no one could hear me anyway. :oops:

    The second and third songs I played people could hear me and they went ok..though, in joy to the world I missed the key signature in a spot I'd never missed it before and that kinda threw me off.... :oops:

    I just need to play out more and not be so timid. Man...I was shaking like a leaf though. I'm just glad it didn't show through my playing.

    The other thing that I forgot about the Christmas masses is the fact they use a lot of incense...and I'm allergic to was having problems breathing without coughing through the whole thing.

    I did get told that they'll be calling me again, and I got asked to join the adult choir as an alto....which is pretty cool.

  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Good job! I'm glad to hear that it went well, and you saying that you missed a key signature somewhere that you have never missed it before brings back memories of my own because I've done it too. :D I'm also glad to hear that you got a call back.

    For the most part, especially since you are still in High School, no one is going to expect you to roll in and sound like Wynton or Maurice and no one is perfect; we've all biffed something here or there from time to time, so small stuff like a missed note due to a key signature brain cramp isn't a big deal.

    My very worst Christmas Eve gig ever I chalk up to some medications that I was taking. I had gotten a sinus infection earlier in the month, and out of deparation, I finally went and got some meds for it like on the 21st or 22nd. I was taking some sort of antibiotic and a decongestant called Entex.

    Anyway, I took my last dose of meds for the day just prior to taking off to play the gig and it was a train wreck for me from minute one. I was playing a brass quintet thing and I just couldn't keep my head together. The first thing was a Bach fugue and I had 4 bars of 4 out....and I lost count! I was really spaced out the whole gig. I didn't get a call back, (and this was a gig that I got from a call back from the previous year) and although I did get my check, I think that it was with a certain amount of reluctance that they paid me. :oops:

    I found out later talking to my mom that she doesn't like to take Entex because she gets really spaced out when she takes it. Sound familiar? Anyway, gigs have come and gone and that gig was probably close to 10 years ago.

    Congratulations Lara! I'm glad that this one was a positive experience because this one is bound to lead to others.

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