Practicing Confidence??

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BFlinch83, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. BFlinch83

    BFlinch83 Pianissimo User

    Dec 12, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    Hi Tom,

    A mutual friend of ours was telling me briefly about methods of consciously buidling confidence while practicing. I thought he mentioned you used this type of technique in your playing and auditioning (and you alluded to it in the great response about audition preparation you gave).

    So my question is: since we practice the mechanics of playing the trumpet endlessly, what are some of the ways we can practice confidence and mental game?

    Thanks a lot!
  2. thomashooten

    thomashooten Pianissimo User

    Feb 21, 2005

    Thanks for the great question. This is an area that I felt was very important when preparing for an audition. I wanted to make sure that I had the same composure while auditioning that I have in the practice room. These are not all of my original ideas, but ideas that I picked up from serveral different sources and discovered along the way.

    First, let's understand the full potential of what "associate" means. A good example is when you are driving down the street and see flashing lights in your rear view mirror. You associate that with many negative things..ex..loss of money, points on your license, jail, embarrassment....
    This same process happens all the time when we perform or even practice.
    ex.. one time you really went for a lick and missed it.. how do you feel when it comes around the 2nd time? or You are performing a piece that gives you a lot of trouble in certain areas.. How do you feel when those passages come around? There are many different degrees to this, everyone has their own set of issues, big or small. It is easy to develop negative associations to playing, whether it be range, softs, low, high, or certain solos and excerpts.
    I suggest a proactive approach to fixing these potential negative associations.

    What we need to do as musicians (trumpet players) is build a positive empowering association to the trumpet. This is a mental thing AND a physical thing. More specifically, everytime you pick up the trumpet you should associate certain positive empowering thoughts.

    Here is the process by which I would attain this confidence in performing.

    First, stand up with your trumpet by your side. Next, pick an excerpt or asection of music that you are not so consistent on, or have a "hang up" with. Before you put the trumpet to your face, try to remember a time (music related or not) that you felt extremely strong and confident. Now, make it physical. Stand tall, breathe full, and do whatever else you do when remembering that strong moment. The key is to make it REAL. When you feel confident and strong put the trumpet to your face and either start the excerpt or just blow through the trumpet while thinking of that particular excerpt of music. Repeat until desired effect. :) You may have to repeat this 20-30 second process 50-100 times. Of course, this works best when you know the piece well and have done the appropriate preparation.

    I would use this for many different aspects of the audition. Mahler 5 opening, walking on stage, alpine symphony, Shumann 2.

    This was a brief explanation and I would encourage you to find you own way of feeling confident and strong when performing. There are hundreds of books on this basic topic. Don't ignore the fact that auditions are stressful and distracting. I agree that you will gain a lot of confidence in pure preparation and hard work on the excerpts or solo. However, why not build a little insurance into your prep to ensure that you will be in a state of mind that allows you to play your best.

  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Thank you Tom! great insite! How many of us stopped after we thought we had the excerpt down?

    I think we need to address the confidence killers too. #1 on my list is practicing too fast! Make sure that you always take on a piece slowly and precisely and build. Anything that you stumble through will haunt you later!
    Be in tune with your heartbeat. When you are nervous, it goes up and can influence your breathing patterns. Exhaling very deeply before inhaling to play can help you get a grip on that.
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Practicing really starts after we have the piece down. Before that we're just trying stuff out.
  5. fnchdrms87

    fnchdrms87 New Friend

    Apr 18, 2006
    Thanks for joining trumpet master and giving people trying to find their way (like myself) much needed information to have a chance to suceed in the professional world. You have no idea how much this kind of advice means to me and many other aspiring professional trumpeters.
  6. BFlinch83

    BFlinch83 Pianissimo User

    Dec 12, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    Thanks for your response! Are there any essential books or materials on the subject of confidence or performing to win that you have read and would recommend?
  7. thomashooten

    thomashooten Pianissimo User

    Feb 21, 2005

    The one book that helped me when I was taking auditions was "The new toughness for sports training". Actually, a good friend of mine let me borrow it so I'm not sure if that is the exact title. There is another book called "Mastery" by George Leonard. I also picked up a number of ideas from Tony Robbins. He is a life management guy that's really intense. I never read the Don Greene books although I hear they are great.
    I think everyone is so different when it comes to auditions and why we get nervous. Try to find that personal weakness that haunts you at those performance times. When you find that you'll know what area to improve on and in turn know what kind of "self help" to get.

  8. ricecakes230

    ricecakes230 Pianissimo User

    Jan 15, 2013
    Could anyone tell me how to make a post or post a question like this one? Sorry new guys here. Thanks :-)
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    OK, I know this is a Zombie thread, but this was posted way before my time here on TM so I would like to take a belated crack at this one:

    I believe there is a point where we no longer need to practice the mechanics of playing the trumpet... so there is an end to this component of practicing. We evolve our practice to the next level (kind of a Zen like transition to the next chakra). From mechanics to dynamics to control to phrasing then to the level of performing tasks that go beyond what people expect the trumpet could possible do... the spiritual level.

    Here ARE the levels at which practice directs the level you are at:

    Unconscious Incompetence - Need a teacher phase
    Conscious Incompetence - Practice mechanics that at times CAN feel endless and many trumpeters stop at this phase
    Conscious Competence - When practicing begins after recognizing you have the piece down but there is yet the audacious goal that is to be achieved
    Unconscious Competence - The place where "Practice makes perfect, but no body's perfect, so why practice?" Answer: To continue to strive to achieve the top level of perfection realizing that there is always a level above if you just keep on practicing.

    In other words, if you stop practicing at the level you feel you have reached perfection... you will have failed in striving for perfection and you will stop progressing.

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