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Trumpet Discussion Discuss 30% Less in the General forums; I was talking with a French horn player friend about lessons with my teacher and happily explaining that I am ...
  1. #1
    Piano User BrotherBACH's Avatar
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    Oct 2010

    30% Less

    I was talking with a French horn player friend about lessons with my teacher and happily explaining that I am playing at a whole new level both physically and musically. My only frustration is that when I play for him, I never play to the level that I did during the week in the practice room. My performance does not seem to reflect the hard work and success I have when playing on my own. For example, I will miss notes well withing my range or flubb slurs in an Etude (today it was Herring Forty Progessives #22) that are well within my capability. So, it sounds as if I did not practice enough. I actually talked about that with him today and he said that he understands and that it is very normal; it's OK. My French horn player friend said that her teacher told her that students play 30% less well when they are will their teacher.

    Have you guys had that that experience.

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  2. #2
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    Re: 30% Less

    I would equate it with the same thing as "white coat syndrome" Shen a patients blood pressure goes up while seeing their doctor. Anxiety can cause many things to happen within our mind that effects us in our everyday lives. I find that when I'm trying to impress someone with my playing is when I struggle the most. When it is just me and the horn and my God listening I seem to do better.
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  3. #3
    Fortissimo User SteveRicks's Avatar
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    Re: 30% Less

    Exactly. I would say you are like 95 percent of the population. I remember last year listening (unobserved) to my son practicing for AllState. Played excellent. Yet, for the judge he played several notches worse - but still fairly good. Then there is the other 5 percent that manage to turn it up several notches when playing for others.

    Guess the point is not to worry about it.
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  4. #4
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    Re: 30% Less

    Actually, I would question that 30% figure. Frankly, I would be interested in knowing more about that teacher and his/her students.
    Anyway, most folks who are inexperienced (and many, at times, who are), play below their max when playing in situations in which they think (or actually are) they have more at stake than when they're practicing at home, or in more familiar conditions. The "at stake" is in the eye of the beholder.

    Have you asked yourself why it's like that? Do you lack confidence in your playing? Do you inwardly want approval from others when they hear you play? Are you setting up too high an expectation for yourself and then sabotaging that expectation? Is your ego (not braggadocio ego, inner ego) too wrapped up in it? There are many things to ask but IMO you will always have this problem if you can't 1.) find the right questions to ask yourself and 2.) find the answers. IMO 30% is too large a margin to accept as the norm.

    What has helped me, probably more than anything is what I call a "give-a-****" attitude. Now, this is hard to put into words, because in practice, what I mean is, at the same time, playing with confidence and commitment and actually having quite a serious attitude about it, and yet doing it with abandon so that you are not afraid of the outcome. In order to do that, though, one (you?) has to get the experience and has to do some internal house cleaning to reach that level of confidence. Whaddayathink?
    Last edited by kehaulani; 08-23-2012 at 10:34 PM.
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  5. #5
    Mezzo Piano User bachfella's Avatar
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    Re: 30% Less

    When I was in college, I'd be cruising through a piece in my weekly turmpet lesson, and would inevitably make a mistake as soon as my teacher shouted, "GOOD!!"
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  6. #6
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    Re: 30% Less

    I sometimes have the same problem. One thing is playing in front of a teacher, but it can also be a problem playing in front of an audience.

    I don't know where I heard this phrase, but it's supposed to be a comment from a marine: "In combat, you don't rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training". I guess that's what practice is supposed to prepare us for; being able to bring the goods home in spite of nervousness, having a bad day, or encountering problems along the way.

    And I guess the only solution is: Keep going at it.

  7. #7
    Fortissimo User coolerdave's Avatar
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    Re: 30% Less

    Good stuff posted so far ... I have heard you play at 80% of your peak in performances ... probably more like don't perform something any harder than what only takes you 80% to do ... now perhaps that keeps your confidence up.
    First I would make sure you are giving your self an honest evaluation ... record yourself.. use a metronome.. don't stop... see how you do. I have had alot of students who think they are playing better than they really are.. not saying that is you but a recording will be a good indicator.
    I am with kehaulani on the attitude thing ... it's not that you don't care but you don't choose to think about the hard parts or high notes that you might or might not crack ... performing is time to play music.
    When I use to get lessons I was a bit cocky ... I wanted to nail whatever the instructor gave me... as if to say "is that all you got" .. not in a disrespectful way but I would practice my tail off and be ready ... really ready.
    question: how many hours do you practice a day ... what are you working on currently?
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  8. #8
    Piano User JNINWI's Avatar
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    Re: 30% Less

    I have a student that is like what you describe. She is intimidated when I am giving her a lesson. I can clearly see that she is not playing up to her potential by watching her “Mechanics” when she plays. She says it is because I play so well and she wants to impress me. What this does is takes her mind off of playing correctly, she has shortened breath, additional muscle tension, just a general lack of concentration in the areas she needs to concentrate on. So I get her mind off of this by coaching her in an exercise and I have her play it over and over, correcting the things I see her not doing right until I have her mind back on what she needs to be thinking about, and before you know it she is playing up to her potential, because I re-directed her thoughts away from “ I want to sound good for him” or “ I have to nail this part ” to thinking correctly about her approach to the horn. This is good practice for when the performance is actually happening. I remind her that no matter what, she has to be thinking correctly about her approach to the horn and not the audience. There is plenty of time to give attention to the audience after she nails her part. I teach my students about the “Hula-Hoop” method. During any performance, you imagine a large hula-hoop laying on the floor and you are in the middle of it. You cannot look outside the hoop, nor think outside the hoop. All your thoughts are inside this imaginary hoop until you are done performing. After your finished, you can step outside the hoop and acknowledge the crowd. This has helped many people get over this feeling you speak of. It’s a mechanical way of controlling what you think about and keeps you focused on the job at hand. She uses this now and it has helped her concentration in a big way while playing. She says she uses this a lot and uses it on things other than playing because she likes how it allows her to control her thoughts better. If you try applying this principal in your application, you may get a benefit from it.
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  9. #9
    Utimate User tobylou8's Avatar
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    Re: 30% Less

    I have learned to overcome a lot of the anxiety part partly because I practice regularly and I have gotten used to playing in front of 5,000 plus every weekend (they aren't judges and it ain't festival!!). I have also adopted the "who gives a flip" attitude. When some one tells me I'm not "doing" it right, I offer my horn so they can demonstrate the correct method. Most are afraid to challenge me now (the way it should be!! ) except the sax player who has a degree and helps out with hidden choir harmonies. Additionally, things changed on the Sunday night service and most of my band mates don't show so it's only me!! Woohoo! Been like this for about 18 months. I just don't like it when we do rock songs w/o charts!!
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  10. #10
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    Re: 30% Less

    Sometimes. I always do the next few weeks new material though instead of previously practiced material with my teacher so it's sort of expected especially if I have the patterns of the last two weeks etude in my memory.
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