What helps you play in front of people?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Myshilohmy, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. bhstrumpet18

    bhstrumpet18 New Friend

    Oct 2, 2010
    Bakersfield, CA
    If you prepare you have nothing to be nervous about, if you are nervous it means you haven't prepared enough
  2. Ric232

    Ric232 Pianissimo User

    Apr 30, 2009
    Coastal GA
    This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Yes, preparation is very important, but I'm sorry, this is a gross oversimplification and quite frankly . . . arrogant and insulting. Those of you that can overcome nervousness simply by being prepared, consider yourself blessed. Those of you who have always had "ice water flowing through your veins" under pressure need to be mature and humble enough to realize that you didn't earn this trait. It was a gift to you that not everyone gets. While I agree that preparation alone can work well for something like public speaking (where nobody cares if your mouth is dry or your voice cracks, or even if the tone of your voice isn't great), playing a brass instrument is a different story. I apologize to the poster above, but this type of statement really gets me peeved. It's total B.S.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2010
  3. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I still get nervous in certain situations. Mostly I get intimated when I play with really good musicians. I try to share my playing with the people listening and live in real time. If you make a mistake, it's in the past, gone. Go forward, what's in front of you is more important than what's behind.

    To address preparation. You practice the best you can. Then you go to the job and sight read the part. The practice is the prep but, you have been hired and the part is hard. Now I have something to worry about. That's why I don't put too much emphasis on the prep. It is important but, really not why we get nervous.

    Another thing that helped me a lot is:

    I took a couple of lessons with famous people that we all know. After I played for them a while I asked, "do you ever mess up in a performance?" The answer was always yes. One guy said, "Oh my god, the other night I missed the repeat"

    The big guys are human and so are we. We all do what we can and make music at our level. Live music, mistakes and perfect and a little out of tune, that's what makes it real.
  4. stradplaya

    stradplaya New Friend

    Oct 2, 2010

    we've all those kinds of problems once in our life time.
    I was offered to play a gig were i was going to open a tribute to Placido Domingo concert. And i had the guy sitting in the front row (Honegger Intrada btw) and preparing this concert was quite a challenge. But what i did....was practice 24/7 with my eyes closed. I did a couple of pre-performances....ALL WITH EYES CLOSED. Ofcourse...not the ideal stage presence...but playing good will be better than playing bad with good stage presence.

    And before you know it...closing your eyes practicing, feels VERY similiar to closing your eyes and performing it. Just a simple first step to over coming fears like those. However, again, the ideal is to have eyes open.

    And to quote the great Vincent Cichowicz, "Dont worry about mistakes, you're going to make them anyways. Worry about the music that you are creating and enjoy it!"
  5. bhstrumpet18

    bhstrumpet18 New Friend

    Oct 2, 2010
    Bakersfield, CA
    its true...everytime I am nervous for an audition, it is because I am doubting myself, correct? if you are nervous, you are somehow afraid a bunch of people will hear you mess up?
  6. Glennx

    Glennx Pianissimo User

    Aug 16, 2009
    I'd suggest desensitization, as was already mentioned. Find supportive friends to play for. Play around family, even neighbors (may cost you a few beers). Play as a trio or quartet as often as you can in a public place where no one is really paying the slightest attention. Record and listen to yourself so you can recognize how you're probably getting 98-99% of everything just fine and how musical it sounds. Fully understand another comment made here: that unless you're playing for a bunch of recording engineers/producers (very unlikely) then 99% of the public can't hear the difference anyway, they really can't. They know what they like, though, which has a lot more to do with music than just the notes, a missed dynamic or a less-than-secure entry.

    If you one day find yourself playing for a hall full of trumpet players, be assured that most all of them are just thankful it's not them up there...and if you're nervous and it shows, believe it that they're going to be the most empathetic and sympathetic audience you could ever find.

    I once heard a trumpet soloist with piano accompaniment play the entire Haydn trumpet concerto at an all-brass conference as a stand-in for the scheduled player who was taken ill. He was so nervous he shook like a leaf through every measure, giving a very unpleasant billy-goat vibrato to his performance that he just couldn't get under control. Every single player in the audience was dying to cry out, "Look man, stop for a minute and get settled and centered; we're all with you on this one and obviously you're a good player". He should have done just that, but I guess didn't feel that he could.

    The lesson I took from that painful recital? The audience was ready to support him no matter what...and the nervousness was entirely in his head.
  7. Ric232

    Ric232 Pianissimo User

    Apr 30, 2009
    Coastal GA
    Because it wouldn't work. When you nervous like that, you can't just take a couple of deep breaths and wish it away when playing trumpet. Again, you could probably do it if you're just making a speech, but not playing a musical instrument. I agree that desensitization is the key.
  8. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    Nervousness is an endearing trait to the crowd.

    You should work to harness that. When you are on stage you are operating at a higher level of awareness than when simply practicing at home alone. Mind you that you don't want to purposely induce stress in other situations to enhance practicing, since there are known detrimental physiological effects to prolonged and repeated stress.

    I seem to have the opposite problem. always get feedback to the effect, "I can't believe you are that dispassionate, there must be something wrong with you"...

    So be careful what you ask for.
  9. mrsemman

    mrsemman Piano User

    Apr 8, 2010
    I have to agree with Stuart above. The more you do it, the more relaxed you become. While my public playing is primarily as a bugler with a military honor guard, I found that becoming relaxed helps dramatically in your playing. Concentrating on the music, breathing, attacks, tone, and expression all make it easier to forget that there is anyone else listening.
  10. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    First you have to do it enough to feel at home on the stage etc., then you discover that the nervousness will actually help you perform better. But takes a few years' experience to learn that at the gut level.

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