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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Myshilohmy, Oct 2, 2010.
What helps you play in front of people?
I think in all performing situations, whether playing an instrument or acting in a play you need to think in a positive manner. the people coming to the performance want to be entertained. They're not going to the performance to see if the trumpet player makes a mistake or an actor falls into the orchestra pit or forgets his lines. It's like home field advantage to a sports team the people want you to do well they're on your side. Use this feeling of support to bolster your confidence.
Often we dwell on thoughts like "what if I muff this note...." and feel that people will hate our performance or us in general. This negative thought process will feed the anxiety that will disrupt your concentration and can effect your breathing.
Preparation is most important and will give you most of your confidence.
As far as your personal issues with letting people hear you, start small. Play in front of a couple of neighbors/close friends/family. You could video tape yourself performing the piece and watch it. This will let you see yourself play and we're usually our toughest critics. If you can watch yourself play and think "hey that guy is pretty good" that will go a long way toward building your confidence.
I think the novelty of a situation has a lot to do with anxiety level also. When I first started playing in my church it was new. I had been playing for that paycheck Solar Bell referred to for many years, but that was as a horn player in a section in dance music. This was up in front of people that would not be dancing but instead listening to me play and critiquing. Expectations were high, adding to the pressure. It was a nerve-wracking experience at first because it was so DIFFERENT. Now after doing it for several years it has settled down to a more relaxing chance to play in front of people who are friends instead of critics. The more you do it the less stressful it becomes. However, let's be frank. We're trumpet players. Our instrument commands attention and we love the spotlight when we are having one of those good days. Let me tell you, a good day will carry you for weeks of "normal" days with your head held high. Understand, when I'm talking about normal days I'm certainly not referring to flawless performances. Trumpet playing will make you a humble man.
Playing in front of people helps with playing in front of people. The more you do it the easier it gets (especially if you get a paycheck). Also, realize that your performance is just a blip in their day .... they probably ddn't even notice anything (nerves, mistakes, etc.) and only go away with an overall impression. Have fun, that the key.
preparation,preparation and preparation!!
Doing it as often as you can.
There is nothing that will get rid of the jitters by playing in front of people as often as you can!!
I remember the first time I ever played on stage,Jr High.
I was petrified.
By the end of the evening I was still living.
Next Time I ever got nervous was when Stan Kenton was doing clinics and at the end of the week he would have a concert with all the clinic guys in bands going on before him.
Well Im in the band that goes on just before him.
Of course we had a chart that was a Kenton favorite.
And WHO gets the trumpet solo?
I did pretty good.
Cept towards the end I let out a HUGE clam.
I wanted to DIE!
Bone player from the Kenton band said HEY you did pretty good except for the end there
Next time I was a BIT nervous was when I went to a gig that was going to be on radio.
Lead Trumpet was a NO SHOW.
The band was VERY worried.
I spent the hour before the gig going over the lead charts.
I told the guys NO PROBLEM we are gona kick butt!
I only said this to calm the FEAR,I myself was going OMG!
And you know what?
We DID kick BUTT!
After performing many thousands of time now the best advice to give is simple.
Be prepared and confident in what you are going to play.
YES you will hit some CLAMS now and then.
You might want a rock to crawl under after but you WILL LIVE!
The best thing of all is:
Knowing the band sounded GREAT and going home with a full heart.
I'll say it again. Some people are naturally non-nervous. Some people (like me) are naturally nervous. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with your attitude toward the audience or your perception of their attitude toward you. Here's a real life situation that is very telling:
I was in 7th grade (1981). First chair trumpet in the "select" (highest level) band at my middle school. Winter concert was coming up in one week. There was a particular song we had been practicing all semester. It was actually fairly easy. The band director tells me that at the concert (the following week), he wanted me to play a few bars in the middle of the song as a solo. No problem. I had never done a solo before but . . . easy song, we had practiced it a lot, never had a problem with it. So, I kept practicing it up until the day of the concert. That night, concert was going well, everything fine. Time came for THE song. Band director introduced me beforehand as the soloist. I didn't have to stand or anything, just stayed in my regular chair. Didn't feel nervous at all, but I noticed my mouth starting to dry out. Wasn't really worried. Rest of the band played the intro, time for my solo, horn up, big breath, no worries (except my mouth was getting more dry) and . . . out came the most horrific sound I'd ever heard. Under normal circumstances, I could not have made myself play that badly if I'd tried. The dryness of my mouth ruined everything. Band director (who was wonderful) gave me a strange look like "what the hell?" My bandmates were in shock because, not only was I 1st chair, I was also thought of as the 2nd or 3rd best musician in the 60+ piece band. But I was totally worthless. Then, of course, I rapidly became extremely nervous. I fought my way through it but it was the single most embarrassing, mortifying experience I have ever had in my 41 years of life. Overnight I became extremely self-conscious in everything I did. It sucked. Although I've obviously matured over the years and have been successful professionally (in business), I have no doubt that the incident scarred me in a way that prevented me from reaching my true potential in life. I was prepared. I was happy to be there and playing a solo. I was on top of the world until that first note came out.
You were prepared for the music but not for the pressure. Must have been tough, I feel your pain.
This is an excellent observation! I count myself as one of those, and I call it nervous energy. I had the hardest time learning to control that energy and focus it toward making music. It's always there, even in rehearsal, and for my has nothing to do with how prepared i am. For me it's not a performance anxiety, because I have learnt over the years that it's not anxious in nature - it's just just this nervous energy that develops and builds up quickly prior to performing.
I also I recognize it as being present in some form all the time whenever I start to perform, although I have learnt how to funnel it into playing the music.