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playing in front of people


gleam
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hi,

I already posted this on the pegbox, but I wanted to see what other people's opinions were. Anyways, I have problems playing in front of people and I start shaking and can't concentrate, I really acctually would like playing in front of people if this didn't happen to me. Does this happen to anyone else? what do you do?

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I am usually shaky through the first set, then I calm down. But that's only because I'm new at performing in public with my fiddle.

When I was a singer long ago, I was singing 6 nights a week for several years. After sometime, you don't get nervous at all.

I think it's just a matter of doing it alot, and be confident that you know the material.

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I shake too. Unfortunately it gets worse as the performance goes along, not better. I haven't played long enough for it to get better.

The only way we will get over it is to do it so often that it becomes natural and comfortable. There are a lot of books out there that help with the mind games. They just don't work for me. Once that adrenaline starts pumping, I start shaking.

Public speaking was the same way for me until I did it so frequently in a short time period, that it quit being a problem.

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Here is another vote for experience. At first, it was terrible for me to perform in front of people---my stomach would knot, my knees would shake, I'd feel sick, etc-----But, the more you do it, the less nervous you are. Now, it is like routine for me to perform----it's fun! You are the one performing ---- that means that you are up there because you can do something that your audience can not.

It will only get better.

Funny thing, though, when I was 5, I would do ballet and tap dance recitals in front of hundreds and not have one drop of nervousness, but when I started performing my fiddle, nervousness set in. Interesting. . . smile.gif But, now at 16, it is something that is becoming as natural and easy as practicing.

Don't worry, it will get better. *Though, one thing I did find that helped when I used to get nervous was: pray----- that helped a great deal for me and even now, it has become a routine for my band and I to say a prayer before we hit the stage.* Just some thoughts. . .

Truly,

Regina

www.fireweedmusic.homestead.com

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It's a funny thing isn't it? We play because we love this music so very much, and want other people to hear it so they'll fall in love with it too. But we somehow forget WHY we play and get this insane idea the listeners will be filled with contempt instead of love. Well, of course the adrenaline kicks in with the old "fight or flee" thing.

Here's what I do:

Whenever possible, I personally greet everyone I can as they come in and find seats. I shake hands, introduce mself, and( this is the most important part for me) make eye contact. As I go through this process, they turn into individuals instead of the raving mob I imagine them to be.

When meeting and greeting isn't possible, I look at them one at a time from my secret vantage point and mentally get to know them.

The point is this: my thinking controls my emotions, and strong emotions CAN control my physical response. I change my thinking, the other stuff follows.

Bobbi

[This message has been edited by BobbiFiddler (edited 03-24-2002).]

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I found that playing in front of family at home everyday as I progressed with a certain piece of music helped me when I came to the final performance. Also playing in front of people who have little knowledge of music helps, as most who cannot play music admire anyone who can. It is a special gift and they will not notice a few mistakes, but only the overall picture!

When playing in the performance, I like to think of a certain story for the piece of music, and concentrate on that. Also, looking above and past the audience, the back wall for example is also a good way to forget people are watching.

Hope this helps!

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The first time I played in public (that is besides my cats and teacher, and it was in an end of term concert with students from 3 years old through 50) I was so nervous that my bow was shaking everywhere and I literally stepped all over the stage while playing. After that some friends who came invited me to dinner but my stomach was still so totally knotted up that I could barely swallow anything and what's worse, ended up in the WC throwing up. I had only been playing for 4 months and was perfroming the 1st movement of Seitz Concerto No.5 (above my level, so the music 'dominated' me instead of me 'interpretating' the music, on top of it I was unaccompanied - no piano). The next 'concert' I told myself, "I'm doing this because I enjoy playing the violin". That thought helped me a lot, I still get nervous, but the fact that I chose to learn the violin, to try to share my enthusiasm in these end of term concerts has helped me a lot! In the end, I'm not learning to play the violin to suffer, on the contrary, I'm learning it because it brings me pleasure, and consciously realizing this has helped a great deal with my 'nerves'!

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Yes, I get very very nervous. I even turn shades of purple. I don't know what to say because I still am working to get better at this.

PRATCISE. It is true, confidence will come with it. I think it was Bobbifiddler who made a great point...we play becuase we love it and want others to love it. There is a time when you need to let go and just play your heart out. The audience sees how much fun you have, they start to clap and you just get more and more into it. Easier said then done I know...but it will come.

Here's a question: What are you so nervous about? That you will mess up, that they won't like your music? Remember that they came to see you play...and being able to answer some of those questions may be able to help you.

Keep it up! I know you can do it.

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I agree that you need to do whatever works for you. However, the critical thing is that its a mental process, and you have to find what puts you in a comfortable space. I get the "shakes" sometimes, and others I don't, and much of it has to do with the mental preparation I can do. Often its better for me to put the audience out of my mind entirely, rather than make them familiar.

I played a concerto last year with a community orchestra - two performances. The first was at a retirement home, where the space was unfamiliar, and I was so close to the audience I had to make sure I didn't hit anyone with the bow. It was a week night, (so worked that day) and I had never been to the place before and had to navigate there by map. Essentially, I just arrived there, sat down and played - and I tightened up and played badly. A few days later I played again at an auditorium I had been to before. It was a weekend, so there was nothing to think about but the performance. And, before I started, I just said to myself "you can do this", and tried to physically relax as much as possible and put the audience out of my mind. And I played as well as I ever have. So - for me its best to try to play as though I'm at home alone.

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Are you playing with a rhythm guitarist or anyone else? If so, you need to have complete trust and confidence in that person. I have found that when I play with people that I have complete trust and confidence in, I feel safe and secure, like I'm wrapped in a protective bubble. When I'm playing with someone that is unpredictable and unreliable, boy, that's another story. I've learned to avoid playing with the unpredictable whenever possible.

Yankee Fiddler

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quote:

Originally posted by gleam:

a lot of people on the pegbox suggested inderal, has anyone here used it before?

Nerves or not,I'm totally against drugs to calm you down. It seems to me to defeat the purpose of why we make music. I'm personally not opposed to ingesting a few bananas and some whole wheat bread to neutralize the adrenaline before important solos though. Whether or not it works, who knows, but it certainly isn't harmful. There really is no one solution. Everyone has to figure this one out for themselves.....or play in a group!

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Just a note Grey Violiner - as I understand it Inderal does not calm you down. Its a beta-blocker that doesn't change the adrenaline release, but blocks some of the body's physical reaction to it. So you feel the same excitement, but without the sweaty palms and tension.

However, your point is well taken. I wouldn't use it myself. I'll live with the preparations I can make mentally and with practice. If I jitter anyway, so be it.

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quote:

Originally posted by Yojimbo:

Just a note Grey Violiner - as I understand it Inderal does not calm you down.

True, wrong choice of words, oops! But the end result is actually "calming." When all the physiological sensations are less bothersome, you become mentally less nervous. I've known people who have used Inderal and this is how its been described. I think I'll stick to bananas and pass off my bouncing bow as a really fine example of spiccato work laugh.gif

[This message has been edited by Gray Violiner (edited 03-25-2002).]

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I don't have much performance experience, however it has gotten much easier for me recently. I have been listening to a local bluegrass band every week for several months in a very informal setting. I think watching them perform so relaxed and realizing that the mistakes are as entertaining as the fantastic music, has made me more relaxed when I play for others. It has also made me consider what I like about their music and I am working on translating that to how I play and what I want my music to sound like. This type of music isn't about perfection so much as it is about emotion. Knowing that takes quite a bit of pressure off.

And I agree with Journey 100%...prayer works.

-hope

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One thing you can do:

Take the last portion of your EVERYDAY practice session as a 'performance' period. Go out of the room, prepare yourself, walk back into the room as if there were a small audience sitting in the room. Acknowkedge their applause, set your instrument, and play for them. Don't stop for corrections. You are playing a performance. When you're done, bow to the audience. Don't 'pretend'...actually play for them. Do this everyday.

The real performance becomes just another practice session.

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Bananas and Milk. NO caffeine and NO sugar. Ask yourself 'How do I want to feel when I'm finished?' Play so you feel that way. Practicing with your accompanist a lot will help build confidence. My mom has been accompanying me since I was three. I know that no matter what I do she's gonna find me and keep playin'. You may not be able to practice with your accompanist that much, but do it as much as possible. I had a performance last Thursday. My teacher told me to not have any sugar or caffeine after seven then night before. I did really well until about three hours before I performed. I drank a glass of soda and ate some BANANNA pudding. I freaked out. I couldn't' control my movements. Thankfully I had three hours for it to wear off. I did well and everything. Anyway, now I'm waaaaay off the subject. Eat bananas and drink mile. don't eat sugar and don't drink anything with caffeine. smile.gif

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Lynzi: purple??? Ack! smile.gif

Grey Violiner: I like the spiccato thing! I also try to pass off my shaky left hand as a brilliant vibrato...

I haven't played in public for a long time - haven't played anywhere for a long time! However, when I take an exam I play in front of as many different people as I can, as many times as I can. Just to have the experience of having someone stare at me while I'm playing. That way, the examiner is just the next in a long line of specators.

Good luck!

Laurel

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