my Stars and Stripes Forever piccolo solo DISASTER!!

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piccolobander
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my Stars and Stripes Forever piccolo solo DISASTER!!

Post by piccolobander »

i was hoping to maybe get some comfort from some fellow piccolo players.

Hi, I'm Laura. I'm a junior in high school. I've been playing flute for 7 years, and piccolo for 4. My piccolo is my baby!

Recently I was in a local honors band and we played Stars and Stripes Forever. It was my first time ever playing the piccolo solo and I was more nervous than I could ever be! The band director wanted me to walk to the front of the stage to perform the solo instead of just standing at my seat. Well, in rehearsal, all went fine. I walked to the front of the stage, played the solo from memory, and walked back to my seat before the second time through. After it was over, all the band directors came up to me and told me how wonderful it was, and how beautiful it sounded and all the kids in the band applauded for me.

Well, that night at the concert, things went diffrently. I was so nervous I kept pacing around the lobby. My band director saw me and gave me a pep talk and I thought I was fine. So finally after waiting what seemed like forever for the Jr. high band to perform, it was our turn to go. We went through the concert and it all led up to the big finale, Stars and Stripes Forever. There it was, time for me to go. I stood up, walked to the front of the stage, started playing, got through the first line then my mind went completely Blank. I froze. I couldn't move, I couldn't play. Then tears started comming down my face. Meanwhile the band is still playing in the backround. The band director had to "assist" me back to my chair where I broke down completely. Waterfalls of tears were now coming down. While all this is happening the director is screaming, "We're gonna give her one more chance, do it again!!" so I immediately snap my piccolo up to my face and get ready to play. Here we go again. Luckily this time I had the music in front of me. I ended up making a full recovery and everyone told me that it sounded great and I had nothing to be ashamed of. I got a double standing ovation.

But still I feel like crap. How could I screw up the biggest piccolo solo of all time?!?! I was hoping since there are a lot of flute and piccolo players here, maybe I could get some comfort.

thanks.
~Laura

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Isabelle
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Post by Isabelle »

Gosh, that sucks that's kinda what happened to me at district band competiton, only I had to force myself to keep going....sheesh...

The first couple of measures went perfectly, then I got to the repeat and forgot to repeat...my pianist kept going and I froze and lost my place for a blip second and panicked....It wasn't intill the next section 15 measures later when I could get back on track. the rest went OK, but I was so shaken up I forgot dynamics and vibrato.... After it was done, I just left the room and cried...That's the last time I play a solo without music, no matter how confident I am with it. I think the judge must have felt sorry for me because he still gave me a 2 (excellent) and didn't even mention the whole 20 missing measures in the score sheet.
"I can only say so much about how I feel. Music is what I always turned to when I was feeling a certain way. It's been my reason for everything."
~Josh Groban~

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piccolobander
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Post by piccolobander »

oh wow! I'm sorry that happened to you. That was nice of the judge to give you a 2. I think one of my standing ovations was just out of pitty. If you saw a seventeen year old standing on the front of the stage crying into the sholder of the band director b/c they had just screwed up the biggest solo of their life, wouldnt you give them a stand ovation? I would.
~Laura

mattyacht
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Post by mattyacht »

Bless your heart. Don't let that discourage you. Novel experiences can cause the most talented people to freeze. That fact that you're in junior highschool and can play the solo is quite an accomplishment. Some of the most famous musicians have stumbled on their road to stardom. Keep your head high. Someday you'll be able to laugh at this experience and console a younger player going through a similar experience. Imagine you're a sousaphone player on the field marching and you countermarch about three steps late!!! Talk about stick out like a sore thumb. Yes, that happened to me.

Cheers,

Mattyacht

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musical_Kat
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Post by musical_Kat »

mattyacht wrote:Bless your heart. Don't let that discourage you. Novel experiences can cause the most talented people to freeze. That fact that you're in junior highschool and can play the solo is quite an accomplishment. Some of the most famous musicians have stumbled on their road to stardom. Keep your head high. Someday you'll be able to laugh at this experience and console a younger player going through a similar experience. Imagine you're a sousaphone player on the field marching and you countermarch about three steps late!!! Talk about stick out like a sore thumb. Yes, that happened to me.

Cheers,

Mattyacht
:lol: She's a junior in high school....not in junior high school

And I feel for you! I have been playing for 17 years and I still haven't found a way to get past my stage fright. I literally have a panic attack up on stage if I am alone. If i'm with even one more person i'm completely fine. There's just something about being totally and completely alone and exposed that puts me into a panic. My heart starts racing, my hands drip with sweat, my legs shake uncontrollably, and breathing...forget about it. I feel like i'm going to hyperventilate. It's a little easier to control on flute since you make the tone with the instrument but on voice it's crazy. Trying to sing well when you can't breath....impossible! It doesn't happen every time but it has happened enough that i'm worried every time that it could happen!

mattyacht
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Post by mattyacht »

Ouch!!!! I stand corrected. Junior in high school not in junior highschool.

Cheers,

Mattyacht

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

I'm sorry that happened. But dont worry, think of this as a learning expieriance. The only way to get beyond this sort of stage fright thing is repitition. I myself come from a family where if someone has a talent, you 'perform' or show off your talent practically every time someone visits [annoying I know...], and at family reunions, and at church, and all over the place. Now, I hardly bat an eye between a rehearsal and a performance. The only big difference I feel is the difference in my attire [ t-shirt and jeans versus a tux].

So, just let this go. It is nothing to be ashamed of. We all stumble at times, and it is when we make mistakes that we learn the most.

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas »

There are always 2 things that mess up a good performance.

1. Over confidence or not taking a piece seriously not matter how easy the piece is.
2. Under confidence. There is nothing worse than performing a piece that you dont feel good about playing. Some times you pull it off, some times you dont!

I have been playing music for a long time, and I still get butterflies.

Do not sweat a bad performance. If you keep playing, you will have way more good ones than bad ones.

Phineas

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piccolobander
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Post by piccolobander »

Phineas wrote:There are always 2 things that mess up a good performance.

1. Over confidence or not taking a piece seriously not matter how easy the piece is.
2. Under confidence. There is nothing worse than performing a piece that you dont feel good about playing. Some times you pull it off, some times you dont!

It was definetly under confidence that got me. I kept worrying that I would get up there and forget it. I thought about that so much that it ended up happening.

I just need to learn to relax and have confidence when I play!!!
~Laura

remnantpark
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Post by remnantpark »

Oh, I had a similar experience in piano...

I had a concert to do for piano and I was really nervous about it. I knew everything well by heart but when I started playing during the concert, I totally forgot one line, a line which I have NEVER screwed up...And plus it was the ending...Ouch. Shameful. I kinda cried when I sat back down. Everybody else 'seemed' to play perfectly.

I also go to the music community division of this college located in the state for piano and everytime, I am nominated to go to the honors audition. I am so determeined to at least make it into the honors concert just ONCE but i never do and it made me quite embarrassed. It's not the matter of my playing but the matter of my confidence. the last time I walked into the dreaded room, which was only a month ago, I saw that grand piano and I trembled. I messed up terribly, in all sorts of places, notes disappeared by accident, I had finger slips, my last and ending notes were terrible. I never played this terribly ever before. I got out of the room, almost about the cry because I obviously didn't make it to the honors concer. however, when I received my scores, I received no criticisms and even had a score that would make me qualified to go onto the honors concert. however, I didn't make it...why? Because the judges KNEW I could do this if I had the confidence but because they have seen obvious signs of my nervousness, they could not let me play in the concert. They could see my legs shaking underneath the pedals, they see my frozen face, they know I am heck nervous.Thus, they did not pass me into the honors concert. Which disappointed me...a lot.


It's really okay, we all know your pain. I suffer a lot when it comes to confidence. I can't even practice in wind ensembles! How foolish! Don't regret. Forget the tears that you tried to choke up. Take this mistake as something to learn. You are probably a really good flute and piccolo player and playing the solo is an honor, don't you think? It;s not the matter of perfection or accuracy in memorization...Its the quality of your musicality and love of playing the piccolo/flute which I am quite sure you have achieved. The audience admired your courage and playing...I am sure you have really high expectations for yourself, and sometimes we don't demonstrate our best ability. Let us not pick on the technical stuff, the mistakes, the slips, the forgotten lines; those things do not matter at all to the audience -trust me they don't. They know if you are good player or not despite the mistakes -it's just this weird jist thingy. It'll be okay. :wink:

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piccolobander
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Post by piccolobander »

remnantpark wrote: It's really okay, we all know your pain. I suffer a lot when it comes to confidence. I can't even practice in wind ensembles! How foolish! Don't regret. Forget the tears that you tried to choke up. Take this mistake as something to learn. You are probably a really good flute and piccolo player and playing the solo is an honor, don't you think? It;s not the matter of perfection or accuracy in memorization...Its the quality of your musicality and love of playing the piccolo/flute which I am quite sure you have achieved. The audience admired your courage and playing...I am sure you have really high expectations for yourself, and sometimes we don't demonstrate our best ability. Let us not pick on the technical stuff, the mistakes, the slips, the forgotten lines; those things do not matter at all to the audience -trust me they don't. They know if you are good player or not despite the mistakes -it's just this weird jist thingy. It'll be okay. :wink:
remnantpark, all I can say is thank you!
This happened to me in February (Feb. 2nd, to be exact) and I have I have turned to so many people for some sort of comfort. Yes, the endless hugs, and sayings like "Nice recovery", "It sounded wonderful the second time through" and "take it as a learning experince" were all nice, but it wasn't what I wanted to hear. Honestly, you are the first person who has truely made me feel better! So THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! :D
Your words actually brought some tears to my eyes, but good tears. Tears of relief that are saying its ok, and I might finally be able to move on!
~Laura

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 »

flute_unit_L wrote:OK I know this topic is really old and I haven't been on this forum for a long time but I have great advice for when your nervous:
Eat a banana (has chemical that reduces tension)
and breathe heavil 15-20 minutes before performance and continuously until your about to play then stop and sigh.
This should really help cuz it helps me alot.
As I've commented before, bananas have no power to calm besides a placebo effect. The B vitamins in bananas are what are supposed to calm you, but they exist in such minute amounts that they will have no noticeable effect unless you eat a whole bunch of bananas straight off the tree. The effect is similar to that of tryptophan in turkey....If you ate the whole turkey you might get a bit drowsy, but no normal person can consume enough to get a real effect. Even if this weren't the case, the potassium in bananas acts as a mild stimulant for the nervous system, which could actually ramp up your nerves. If you believe eating a banana will calm you down, it probably will, but it's not because of any chemicals in the banana.
breathe heavil 15-20 minutes before performance and continuously until your about to play
Well hopefully you're breathing continuously right up until you play...If not, it probably doesn't bode well for the performance! :wink:

In any case, if you breathe that deeply for that long, you're probably going to pass out (or at the very least be VERY light headed) by the time you need to perform. 3-5 deep breaths immediately before taking the stage can indeed help to calm you a bit, but breathing that way for 20 minutes would probably do more harm than good.

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

The only benefit that I can see about eating a banana shortly before a performance, is for my blood sugar level. My blood sugar levels usually run slightly low, but something about the rush from a performance causes my blood sugar level to drop. So, sometimes I will eat something shortly before I perform so that I dont have a sugar drop.

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 »

Flute_unit_L:

There is a difference between opinion (which can only be formed about something with no definitive answer...Usually something based on preference) and misconception/misinformation (which is a misunderstanding of something that does have a factual basis). You believing the bit about why bananas calm your nerves is a misconception rather than an opinion. The "factual" basis for that belief that you presented simply doesn't hold up, as I explained above. As such, I disagreed with it. That does not mean that you have to stop eating bananas before performances, just that they're not doing what you thought they were. These forums are meant to allow open discussion and you can't have that if no one is allowed to disagree with others. If that happens, it's just a bunch of people posting comments on the internet. I also am on a large number of forums, and any forum that's worth posting on has a similar dynamic to this one...Disagreements happen, but as long as folks remain civil, that's part of the fun, and it can be quite enlightening.

A similar point to one I made above holds true with regards to disrepect. There is a difference between disrepect and disagreement. Disagreeing with another's ideas does not necessarily entail any disrespect. Folks here do a pretty good job of respecting each others opinions, though that does not mean that they always agree with them. Most of the major contributors, myself included, are more than willing to put our thoughts out there when we disagree with something (as I did with your last post), and there's nothing wrong with that (that's what the forums are for) so long as we don't openly mock others or their ideas, become obscene or offensive in the content we post, etc. Most "fights" that develop here seem to originate with others reading too much into what is posted instead of what was actually written. No one here will limit your right to your opinion, but neither can you reasonably expect to limit our right to disagree when we have reason to.

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 »

I didn't specify how it helps but it just does
Actually, you did in your first post...This is a direct quote from that post:

"Eat a banana (has chemical that reduces tension)"

Just based on the fact that you believed in it (and explained it) mistakenly, it is indeed a misconception, so I did not go "over the top" in labeling it as such. A placebo effect could very well explain what you've experienced, but that does not mean that eating a banana prior to a performance actually helps....By that same token, going for a mile run before a performance, or riding a mechanical bull the third Saturday before you're slated to play won't help either, but if you're convinced it does, then you'll probably play like it did help. Whether or not your teachers or others have done it in the past, there is no scientific merit to the idea that a banana relieves tension. It simply doesn't apply beyond psychological trickery. If you believe that it helps you to eat a banana, go right on ahead and do it (though hopefully you brush your teeth afterward to avoid blowing banana through your flute), but there's no reason to perpetuate an idea with no real merits just because some folks are convinced it matters. It has no impact on anyone else if you do or do not eat bananas, but there's no reason for more flutists to get it into their heads that bananas will help you perform when there's no basis to that claim.

my evidence rests in the fact that I've never had an accident in performance and I am always commented by everyone I know for my stage presence and confidence when playing at a recital.
Which, unfortunately, is relatively weak evidence in comparison to science and an understanding of what the various compounds found in bananas do to the body. Human beings are incredibly prone to the power of suggestion, so merely believing it helps is enough to get the desired results...The actual act of eating the banana is in inconsequential in comparison.

btw this method has been used for a long time by my private teacher and her college professors and many other professional flute players so it is unlikely that this is a misconception
Just because other players have believed it does not necessarily make it accurate. One of my favorite stories to demonstrate this point involves Sir James Galway. He's convinced that laying a flute (assembled) on a north-south axis at night will improve its resonance. This is purely voodoo science (much like the banana bit), but that doesn't keep him from believing it. Unfortunately, the vast majority of flutists are not well informed when it comes to the instrument, performance, practicing, repairs, etc. In the flute world, consensus does not equate to accuracy (and in many cases actually equates to baseless belief perpetuated for many, many years).

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