You guys agree?
I love the rush of adrenaline, either before playing at a packed Christmas Eve Mass or getting ready for a personal record on a third attempt at a powerlifting meet.
What's the fun of *not* experiencing life and learning to control/ cope with autonomic responses?!
A trumpet's just a trumpet. The music's inside *you*.
If what I've posted offends you, please feel free to leave your need for validation below.
It all depends on the level of reaction from the person. Most people should be fine or work to do without it. There are exceptions. At one point in my career when I was required to speak in front of a large group, my heart would throw so many PVCs that I could collapse and die- my medical doctor said it was dangerous. Then I received an honor that required daily public speaking, often to large groups. Talked with Dr. and he recommended a low dose of inderal. It worked miracles. After about 30 or 40 times I no longer needed it. Things have been fine since. I should also add that solos also used to send me into such a condition (but not playing with the section). After getting the public speaking under control, it also fixed the solo issue.
There are some who would say suck it up, and for most people, that would be true. But there are a few who really need a medical treatment.
Olds Supers, LA (1953), Ful. (1962)
Olds Recording, LA (1952)
Olds Studio, LA (1953)
Olds Special, Ful. (1964)
Olds Ambassador, LA (1954)
Olds Ambassador, Ful. (1973)
Bach Strads 37-(1967, 1970, 1974, 1982)
Bach Strad 72 MLV (1973), 72* (1982)
Kanstul 1500 (2002), 1502 (2008), 1503 (2002)
Kanstul 1537 (2007)
Kanstul Chicago (2000)
Kanstul 1510 C
King Liberty (1929,1929)
King Liberty 2 (1938, 1944)
King Liberty 2b (1950)
J.H. Darby 45 USA
Holton (Revelation) 1924
Kanstul 1525 Flugelhorn
I have tachycardia, and take beta-blockers (Atenenol) and don't feel calm at performances--just normal.
"A tool good enough to be so used and not too good"C.S. Lewis That Hideous Strength
I think that there are many aspects and we should be careful with any judgement stand except for ourselves.
Things have changed for the professional player. Whereas in the past there was a more logical programming for orchestras, these days you can have baroque, Wagner, Mozart and Stravinsky all in the same week - on period instruments and tuning.
For the rest, there is always someone making a recording and we are continually confronted with the "worst of" on line.
Beta bockers do not "improve" playing. In many cases they like ritalin for ADS, insulin for diabetes, simply allow a more or less "normal" operation. The hard part is determining how much chemical vs how much life change is optimal. The diabetic can change eating habits and often reduce the amount of insulin, the ADS afflicted can get behavioural treatment. The professional musician also can get behavioural treatment, but has to deal with a sickness that can ruin their reputation.
I consider beta blockers to be a personal issue. The person needing them also needs accompanying treatment and time. I to date have never taken one. I do have diabetes however and a son with ADS.
Mark Gould does have an astute observation about how homogeneous orchestras have become. I would not blame the musicians alone. The music world has ever fewer rehearsals to form the individual sound, has ever fewer conductors wlling to build a unique voice, has ever more snipers called music critics trying to prove online that they know better.
Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
The only beta blocker I prescribed specifically for a trumpet player was to help calm an intention tremor that did interfere a bit with his trumpet playing. It did help in this aspect.
As for performance anxiety, I would not use it; as anxiety in performance setting can be a mood enhancing drug in and of it's self. Channel the energy. Use it. Use it well.
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