"Stage Fright": Chicken or the Egg?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Vulgano Brother, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Before a performance, very often our hands get sweaty, our pulse increases and we experience general feeling of excitement/anxiety. For some of us, this is just plain excitement--"I can't wait to go out and play," and for some of us, stage fright--"I can't wait for this be over." The same symptoms, but two attitudes, two sets of "self talk."

    The Cognitive Behaviorists contend that our thoughts create our emotions, another theory (APET) has it that our brain matches a pattern, creates an emotion, and our thoughts follow. This is the crux of this chicken or the egg question for psychologists.

    Since trumpeters are not only way cooler than psychologists, but sensitive and introspective and bias-free....sorry, I'm lying again, but most of us do know that feeling of excitement/dread connected to the stress of a performance. The question, then is the following:

    Does conscious thought precede or follow the feelings associated with performance?

    I am curious.....
  2. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY
    If this requires mind over not-mind, I'm doomed.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    both. An event (train wreck) can trigger the same strife as talking ourselves out of that double C after 3 hours of playing.

    I was always taught to make as much as possible automatic. If you need to think about it, you are already too late.

    From my third son with ADS, I have learned that the senses do not work in parallel, rather serial - one after the other. This means that our sense of hearing and sight and feeling are all competing for the same line to our brain. I believe the most damaging sense gets to the brain first regardless of which one that is!
  4. c.nelson

    c.nelson Pianissimo User

    Apr 13, 2007
    Alberton, Montana USA
    It's all about self importance, it seems to me.
    The more self importance you have, the more you worry about how other people judge you.
    Frankly, I get much more nervous when I play for a small room full of personal friends
    than I do a 500 seat hall of strangers!
    Its the difference between "WATCH THIS!" and " did that sound good to you???".
  5. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I have an old degree in psychology, and was taught under the cognitive school. APET has surfaced since then, and I'm not sure I buy that it's that much different from anything that's come before - maybe just a different way of thinking about it. Stage fright is mostly caused by a big shot of adrenaline brought on by an unfamiliar stressful situation (or a familiar one with bad memories), so the more you simulate this environment and perform acceptably, the less reaction your body will have when show time arrives. Another way to look at stage fright is that it's a result of a lack of confidence. To answer your question, both. The thoughts preceeding the performance affect it, and the ones following the performance affect the next one.
  6. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    I believe that just about everything we do is dictated by our self image. I am a great believer in Maxwell Malz.
  7. mrmusicnotes

    mrmusicnotes Piano User

    Nov 11, 2007
    don"t let your ego get the best of you.Concentrate on your sound and enjoy the music,instead of what others might think of your performance..Every time you perform,it makes the next performance that much easier.
  8. Jude

    Jude Piano User

    Dec 2, 2007
    ... and I am ignorant. But there are people who say they can help people who suffer from stage-fright overcome the problem ([SIZE=-1]www.ChangeThatsRightNow.com, for example). Of course they'd like to sell you their $3000 in-person program, but their site also describes some techniques you can use on your own (inducing slightly alterted states of consciousness, for example).

    In Trumpeting by Nature, Jeanne Pocius says somewhere that simply playing often enough in all kinds of venues is enough to pretty much prevent it. Not an option for some of us, of course. But one more reason to get a teacher - good, bad, or indifferent, he's an audience. [/SIZE]

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