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What drugs can overcome Stage Fright?


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Of course I have an amazingly high tolerance for alcohol and half a fifth of 50% alcohol whiskey doesn't seem like too much.


I wonder how many people have said this right before the flaming wreck of their car headlines the nightly news. The wonderful thing about alcohol is that to the ingester everything seems just fine and everyting gets better the more you drink. Oddly enough the sober people in the room don't seem to share this same view.

WesRist, for me the most obvious and distressing symptom of stage fright is a tense and shaky right arm. Bow control is out the window for a little while until I work my way through it. It is that physiological reaction that the banana eliminated. The rest of the stage fright symptons, excitement, anxiety, heightened awareness, weird time sense, etc I can deal with as they are in my head.

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"...symptom of stage fright is a tense and shaky right arm ... The rest of the stage fright symptons, excitement, anxiety, heightened awareness, weird time sense, etc I can deal with as they are in my head."

Why can't shaky bow arm also be in your head? Am I weird in that I never have shaky bow, and all of these other symptoms when I'm actually performing? Or could the sweat that somehow manages to ooze from every pore in my body when I perform be that "stage fright symptom" that I seem to be missing?

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I'm not saying that you are. I was trying to point out that drinking and awareness of self in relation to the external environment seldom go hand in hand. The phrase I was looking for earlier and couldn't recall is Famous last words. My point is that after a few nips you think you're Heifetz while the audience thinks you're Jack Benny.

A shaky bow arm is of course in the mind in so far as everything that happens in the body is mediated via the brain. More specifically though it is the adrenaline release, prompting the muscle and nerves to get ready for vigorous action that is at odds with the relaxed control required for good tone production. A couple of measures of robust forte running sixteenth notes is usually enough to shake the reaction which works in some pieces but not all.

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Though this post has taken different turns, and I'm probably answering earlier posts on this thread, I thought it very curious that a few doctors have told me that caffeine really has a delayed effect of about 4 hours (physiacogically - does this word exist?!?! ), so our immediate response to caffeine is psychological.

Mind you, I still don't feel awake without my morning coffee!!!!

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Or could the sweat that somehow manages to ooze from every pore in my body when I perform be that "stage fright symptom" that I seem to be missing?


That would be the one! Excessive perspiration is a classic sign of anxiety (any type, not just stage fright). I'm limited to sweaty hands for the most part, but that can be a drag when I try to shift!

It seems in reading this thread that one of the things that has not been expounded upon enough is that some anxiety/stage fright actually benefits our performances! Sort of like reving your engine before you take off. It's only a problem if we allow it to sabotage our performances when it goes into high gear (bouncing bows, trembling left hand, etc).

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Whiskey is alcohol.

Alcholol is mind numbing.

Mind numbing drugs do exactly that.


I agree, alcohol numbs the brain even if you aren't drunk. Alcohol also destroys brain cells. I would think that anything that alters one's alertness would be detrimental to one's playing, even if it calms the nerves. Let's face it, music is a creative medium, and the musician needs all of his or her senses and faculties in a state of alertness to do justice to what they're playing.

Just my two cents.

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Don't use Kava Kava. It has been removed from many Canadian shelves as it as been conclusively linked to kidney damage. Wait until more information is available on this particular plant. Research very carefully anything you might want to take for stage fright so you know exactly what you are taking in.

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Gee, I thought this was discussed some time ago. But as an update...

"(kava) conclusively linked to kidney damage?" I think not. Recently we had a research update conference in Hawaii with pharmacologists who have FDA funding, and other scientists. No such kidney or other harmful linkage could be scientifically established.

More important, let's hear the scientific facts from which we can make our own judgement. I'd be happy to learn of the Canadian experience, sans politics or prejudice, and pass it on to our Association for Hawaiian 'Awa (kava), our University of Hawaii researchers and their counterparts at UC Davis, et al.

Kava does have a long cultural and historic use in the Pacific Islands with no apparent ill effects. It does promote a calming (anti-anxiety) and clear mind that has made it central to many Pacific island cultures. You could learn more about it in Vincent Lebot's, "Kava: the pacific elixir" as start. And of course you're welcome to visit our website: hawaiiankava.com

I do appreciate its effects, take it regularly, and feel my violin playing is assisted by it esp. in stressful situations (small solos).

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The official Canadian pronouncement seems to suggest a view of "guilty until proven innocent". The research thus far I believe still has not shown a credible link.

A while back tofu was "linked" or "associated" with Alzheimer's

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/2000/Apr...localnews3.html

Who to believe?

It'll take time before this all gets sorted out. Perhaps just as tofu is an old food to east Asian cultures, the kava beverage likewise is not new to Pacific island cultures. Both have a long accepted use.

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Some of the herbs do a pretty good job of calming nerves. One of the more popular ones, Scullcap, is an excellent choice.

http://www.healthy.net/asp/templates/artic...cle&ID=1458

Valerian Root (if you can get past the smell) is another possible choice. While it's a great sleep aid, there is still some debate as to whether or not it might be useful for stage fright, as this article, 'Using Valerian Root For Stage Fright' points out.

http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/Study/Valerian.html

Something else that might be worth mentioning is mild exercise. Exercise, besides being great for the cardiovascular system, also burns up stress hormones while helping the body to secrete endorphines (good hormones) which relieves anxiety and makes you feel great.

http://www.holistic-online.com/Remedies/An...nx_exercise.htm

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I think for myself I would rather our health & drug administration acted on the side of caution.

These things are just so complex.

For instance who knows -- perhaps there are things within say the Pacific culture diet or physiology that counter the supposed effects of kava if there are in fact any.

Its also like everything else -- nothing works universally for everybody which just adds to the point that we aren't all the same.

Pam

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I thought I could overcome stage fright with frequent performances, so I soloed once a month, it didn't help.


Once a month isn't really frequent enough. I'm not saying I perform every week, but it would be the thing to do if one really wants to overcome stage fright.

Our quartet teacher, who also teaches cello (and is REALLY good at it and knows very much about pedagogy, and whom I really really appreciate... you get it ) thinks that frequent performances help stage fright. He once explained me how the human body works when we get stage fright, everything about the adrenaline and stuff.

I know there aren't usually that many opportunities to perform in concerts. A good thing would be if your teacher would arrange "class lessons" (don't know what they're called in english) weekly or once in two weeks. In these every student plays a piece for the other students and the teacher, and then the "audience" can comment on it (constructively, of course!). Or if this isn't possible, you can just try to play for friends and make it a concert-like situation with applause and such.

When you play for someone often you get used to the feeling of stage fright, and you learn to control it.

I don't think any drug is the way to go. For me it feels like cheating. And what if you forget your pills at home before an important concert? Now that wouldn't be nice.

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The absolute wonder drug: practicing. It prepares you more than anything else.

Other than that, there is the banana, but Indoral works just fine. Talk to your doctor about it, do not listen to the people on Maestronet. We've all got completely different bodies, and none of us should just judge something off of common opinion. The banana doesn't work for me, but it works for GV.

Speaking of which, I have a question for those of you advocating against perscribed medicine: what am I supposed to do when the banana/meditation/anything on this planet doesn't work for me? Should I just give up my dreams and quit? Hmmm? Do you want me to just stop performing?

I'm sixteen and I cannot play in front of an audience without perscribed medication. It's a major problem that I've been facing for the past three years, and if you seem to think that there's something better for me out there than go ahead a suggest it. However, I guarentee you that I've tried it all.

--Mazas

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