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Some problems..


Bremkins
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Hi again,

I'm writing cause there is a problem that is tormenting me for long

time now.

I'm talking about intonation.

I don't know why, but when I play the music alone, all comes as it

should do..

Things get completely different when someone (even family) is

sitting next to me..

I'm starting to be nervous, I cant control my fingers.. Then the

sound is getting beginner-like.

I don't know if you can help me, but It would be nice if you give

me some hints to defeat this problem..

I need some ways to not get nervous, or some exercise to improve

the intonation.

Exams are coming so I must go through it...

Thanks...

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Majority of the human population cannot perform, (public speaking for example) in front of people. Lots of suggestions are available from 'just relax' (whatever that is) to picturing the audience in their underwear, to medication. I believe all are extremely questionable and don't help at all. I realize that people sufficiently medicated will disagree with me.

Only real solution is practice, practice, practice with any and all audiences, family, your dog/cat, siblings, parents, friends, relatives, in spite of all those nervous screw ups, anxiety, whatever. You just have to live thru that hell, somehow get past it. It is not easy, but can and will only get better, especially if you don't dwell to much on the last negative experience and look forward to your next. Easier said than done of course, but you just need to somehow do it. Experience and sound preparation gives come confidence that always helps.

(Hence the suggestion to others, be kind to younger people since all that high-school personality bashing, what seems liks 'kids just foolin around' severly affects confidence later on.)

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What Rufviol says about playing in front of others as often as you can is good advice.

In addition to that, it's a good idea to think about performing not as an act in which you display yourself to others ( a rather self centered approach, which most of us suffer from), but as an act of sharing something you like (music, in general, and certain music, specifically) with others. In this act of sharing, you are not the main attraction; you are, simply, the facilitator that allows others and you to share something together. You're not trying to impress anybody with what you can do, but rather you're enjoying with others something that has impressed you, namely the music you're going to play. If you can approach a performance as a chance for you and the audience to share something as equals, the need to achieve and succeed disappears, the need to triumph disappears -- and hopefully the frightening possibility of failure also disappears, along with the fear that saps all of one's ability.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
skiingfiddler
...it's a good idea to think about performing not as an act in which you display yourself to others ( a rather self centered approach, which most of us suffer from), but as an act of sharing something you like (music, in general, and certain music, specifically) with others. In this act of sharing, you are not the main attraction...

Absolutely, and well said!

It affects me to an extent when I'm presenting and a often still a little nervous perhaps, until I'm completely immersed in the content of my presentation, from where on my posture, my tie doesn't matter at all.

Helps to realize that most audiences, want to have a good experience, they want you to succeed, they're secretly wishing you well, so just go ahead and do your thing!

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i can't do it....

just do it.....

i can't do it....

just do it....

i can't...

yes, you can....

to someone who is in the position of "i can't do it", more often

than not, "just do it" does not work.  to someone who can do

it, it makes perfect sense in retrospect.  to someone who

can't do it, it is as helpful as a key to the lock, except, it may

not be the right key.

it is an individual situation requiring professional evaluation and

specific remedy.  the manifestation is nervousness, what

exactly is the problem?  we do not know.  even our poster

may not know for sure, because it can be a mix of conscious and

subconscious ideation.

some need very gentle approach.  others respond to school of

hard knocks.  even face to face, session after session, it may

take a while to get the picture.  here? good

intention may be as helpful as it is harmful.

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I haven't tried this myself, but one suggestion I've heard several times is to practice immediately after exercising, or to alternate practice sessions with jogging in place or something like that. The idea is that it's supposed to help you adapt to playing with an accelerated heart rate, sweaty hands, and other symptoms similar to nervousness.

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I sympathise.

If I am required to give a one off performance at say a concert, I come undone. Bow shake in the extreme takes over and I sound like a beginner!

However, placed in a position where I can settle down and say play for an hour or so and I do well. Performing for 3 1/2 hrs in a public mall is shake free as well as an hour or so at charitable events.

Whats the diference? At 72 yrs I am getting a little shaky anyway!

My answere is to decline all requests for a one off performance. You can't do that at exams.

If you find an answere, please advise. Here is one old dog who needs a new trick!

Busker.

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Erika's suggestion about physical exercise (running, biking, etc) is a good idea, with, for me, a slight change in timing and purpose.

If nervousness in playing the violin is part of a more general condition of being high strung, then regular exercise is a good way to, periodically, relieve general tension. And that relief may carry over into playing.

I'm not sure I'd want to pick up the fiddle right after exercise, when I'm all sweaty, but I understand how doing that would train you to deal with being sweaty in a performance. I'd want to take a shower before getting to the fiddle. For me, exercise would serve the general purpose of calming life, in general, down a bit.

Here's another suggestion that deals with both the need to get used to playing in public and the need to improve intonation: record your playing.

A different mindset takes hold when you record yourself playing. You feel you have to play the best you possibly can, and, while you're playing, you listen more intently to what you're doing, rather than relying on autopilot to get through a piece. Having the micophone "listening" affects the player much like a human ear listening would; it makes you more selfconscious and critical -- the very state you go into when playing for people, the very state that likely causes performance problems. In short, playing into a microphone evokes some of the same problematic feelings that playing for people evokes, but this is an "audience" you can make appear or disappear at will, and thus you can practice this situation, again and again, without needing to invoke a real audience.

Then playing back what's been recorded is a very good way to check intonation. You'll hear things in the recording, including intonation, that you don't hear (or have learned to ignore) otherwise.

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All of the above are great responses and worth consideration. I have just one small thought, and that is know you can play your violin with confidence, which comes from lots of practice...the lack of confidence brings on the nervousness and I for one have suffered with this for years, at the piano and most recently, with the violin. The first time I gave a patient an anesthetic, I was very nervous. After the 20th patient, I got over it, knowing I could make it happen. Practice, play with confidence, and no one will know you're nervous. Dr. R.

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Hi,

Nervousness is good !

Think a little bit;if you're nervous that means you care;that menas you're emotionaly involved.That means you're not just doing another routine activity.the public apreciate that.

The trik is to keep everything at the productive level

Gabriel

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Bremkins: would you get nervous if you had to play Twinkle Twinkle in front of an audience? There are so many variables which can cause performance anxiety... the only thing I've seen consistently work in many situations is that when the nerves start to distract you, you fall back into a behavior that you know inside and out, so you revert back to muscle memory or you simply move to a different place in your mind.

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You are not alone.

I get so nervous I cannot even play for my teacher. Sometimes it gets so bad I can't even find the right string. I am a high strung person and without a doubt a hot shower right be fore I play does wonders. That is difficult however if you are not playing by yourself in your bedroom.

Things that have helped me.

1. Playing with some one. I can play in a small group efen a duet without nearly the anxiety. Sometimes my teacher plays with me then drops out. It works like magic to get me started without fear. Can you find a friend to practice with and for?

2. Playing for someone out of sight. I find as long as my audience is on the otherside of a wall I can forget they are there. I purposely practice when my kids have friends over just to get used to playing in earshot of others.

I am hoping this will help when in a blind audition some day.

3. Positive feedback helps enormously. Play for and with people who love you and have watched you improve over the years. A compliment from a family member is more valuable then they know.

I wish it were easy to play for each other here!

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I also would recommend playing for people and for recording yourself. The recording reassures you that what's coming out is what you think is coming out, and playing for people just gets you used to playing for people. You may still be nervous after you do this, but it probably won't affect your playing as much as it did before.

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identify what happens physically when you get nervous...

usually you start to clamp down with your head, your fingers, your hands...so consciously keep them loose. you'll also tighten up inside your body...for example you hear the saying "my stomach was tied up into knots..."...keep that loose too. breathe.

being loose will help with intonation. bringing out your tone will help with intonation (so you can hear the overtones)

always shift slowly and smoothly...don't just jump from position to position.

practice your left hand frame positions (galamian thing)

the beginner-like sound comes from tightening up as well...so that your right hand motion becomes small and/or forced. get it back to the smooth and efficient upper arm motion...

mentally you have to know your work inside and out. when practicing don't go by feel. in your head think about the *name* of every note that you are playing...and hear the note before you play it.

a lot of times anxiety comes from lack of preparation....or doubt over your abilities. you need to get the work utterly secure with slow, careful, and deliberate practice...so that every motion has been carefully prepared.

basically when performing under nerves you're mentally trying to keep your body loose and relaxed, all your motions nice and smooth, and your hearing very alert.

that takes up so much of your attention, that a lot less of your mental power will be applied to playing your piece (comparatively). so you need to get that piece up to the point where you don't really have to think that much about it. if it's not up to that point...when you get out on stage, the nerves kick in, and you don't have enough mental reserves to perform the piece well anymore...

in the end...mistakes come from tension, either physical or mental.

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I'm from the "Just Do It" school of hard knocks when it comes to overcoming stage fright. No matter how prepared you are, the first few times in front of an audience is pretty scary. We all want approval and fear rejection. That's basically what's swimming in the back of all our brains. As you get more and more experience under your belt, it can still be daunting, but you learn your own little quirks and how to deal with them. I'd be willing to bet that every person on this board has some type of "pre-performance" rituals they go through whether they are amateur or professional players. Mine is a light meal of whole wheat bread, sliced bananas and chamomille tea around an hour before performance. I never practice the day of a performance and when I get to where I'm playing, I go off to myself with my violin and play a couple of slow, easy fiddle tunes to get me "in the zone." It mostly works.

Or as I tell so many people: No matter what happens, the sun WILL come up in the morning.

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Thanks for replies!

Didnt know I would get so many, but I think thats a common problem,

so this topic should be useful to others.

Hmm..Gray Violiner mentioned that many of us has a pre-perfomance

ritual or so..

Now think why we do eat bananas instead of apples etc.

Well, the answer is because bananas contain some special

properties, which reduce the adrenaline responsible for nervousness

level.

Same for chocolate bars.

Whats strange is thast i didnt know bout the whole wheat bread.

What are its properties?

Everything sounds interesting here..

Maybe any of us has some secrets like these?

Thanks for your attention

Yours,

Bremkins

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Bremkins

Whats strange is thast i didnt know bout the whole wheat bread.

What are its properties?


Any type of whole wheat product contains tons of B vitamins (magnesium in particular has calming properties) that have calming effects. You can imagine having bananas, whole wheat toast and chamomille tea would put you to sleep under normal circumstances. Combine the three when you are potentially/probably anxious and it's a nice soothing little cocktail.

The added bonus is it helps nervous stomachs, for those plagued with that misery. Thankfully that's never come up in my case (pun regrettably intended).

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"...would you get nervous if you had to play Twinkle Twinkle in front of an audience?"

solveg's comment reminded me of an interview with Regina Carter on the debut of her CD, playing on Paganini's violin. She says she always like to start off with "Amazing Grace," until she gets warmed up. Comfort food, so to speak. Personally, I use Twinkle Twinkle.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Bremkins

which reduce the adrenaline responsible for nervousness

level.

Same for chocolate bars.


Not with chocolate! Chocolate has caffeine, not to mention refined sugars. Talk about the wrong kind of buzz before a performance. Are you maybe thinking about how chocolate replicates the same chemical reaction in the brain as being in love?

That reminds me, I need to go get a box of Godvias.

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What piece/s are you doing??

Did you check if you play the same intonation like you sing?

If not, do it.

quote:


Originally posted by:
Bremkins

Hi again,

I'm writing cause there is a problem that is tormenting me for long

time now.

I'm talking about intonation.

...

I need some ways to not get nervous, or some exercise to improve

the intonation.

Exams are coming so I must go through it...

Thanks...

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