nerves

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angelafoster
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Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:41 am

nerves

Post by angelafoster »

why does my embouchure fail me when I play in front of somebody alone its a dream

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Classitar
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Re: nerves

Post by Classitar »

Hi Angelafoster,

Can you think of anything that you're doing differently?
When you're alone and playing well, what are you thinking? Can you bring that with you to the performance?

fluteguy18
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Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:11 pm

Re: nerves

Post by fluteguy18 »

Nerves=Adrenaline. Adrenaline causes you to have less control. To remedy this either perform a LOT so you get used to it, eat a banana before performing (contains a natural beta blocker), or get a prescription for beta blockers if you are a serious performer.

beta blocker: a compound that blocks the affects of adrenaline.

lianeandflute
Posts: 135
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:19 am

Re: nerves

Post by lianeandflute »

I don't know how much you perform…
But I would say, as general advice, to keep performing… it's really the only way to learn about what works for you and how you can deal with your issues. I'm still trying to figure out how to control my embouchure when performing too, so I know how you feel!
Maybe try just performing for your close family or friends on a regular basis? Try once a week for a month or so (just play a section of a piece or a study or something, it doesn't matter, it's still experience). This way you're going to get more performing experience, and also you can start to try different things out. E.g. eating a banana, like FG18 suggested, or having a glass of water with you, or doing some stretches or meditating beforehand etc.

I would not recommend beta blockers (the prescription drugs I mean)… I would never recommend drugs to anyone as a solution. At least try out some different methods and try performing more often before you resort to trying these drugs. But, again, please try lots of different things and perform as often as you can. You probably won't need the drugs anyway. Also, if you do try the beta blockers, make sure you try them and figure out what effect they have on you long before an important performance, and several times even, because they can have both positive and negative effects on different sorts of people at different times.

Hope you can figure something out, it's a common problem so you're not alone.

=]
"It's happening inside you; not in the flute!" - Emmanuel Pahud (At a masterclass in Sydney, Nov. 2010)

Arlee
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Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:18 pm

Re: nerves

Post by Arlee »

If you have access to a computer with a webcam or a video camera you can try recording yourself while you are playing. Even just audio recording yourself might be enough to simulate the adrenaline/nerves you experience while playing and give you more practice in how to deal with them.

Also, I had some friends in school that when they were getting ready for a performance would go in practice rooms at opposite ends of the hall. They would run through their piece one time without stopping then sprint and switch rooms and do their piece again. They kept this up until they were exhausted, but it was very effective in recreating a lot of the physical things people experience when their nerves kick in. If you don't have someone to do something fun like this with you could substitute with short sprints instead.

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Zevang
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Re: nerves

Post by Zevang »

Assuming that you get nervous when playing in front at others, you only need to practice more in this condition so you get accustomed to it. In my opinion that's the best way to learn how to deal with it.

fluteguy18
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Re: nerves

Post by fluteguy18 »

It is the best way. I only supplied that information to cover a broad scope of situations. Prescription Beta Blockers, and natural beta blockers (like in bananas) are no substitution for experience. I will admit that I do on occasion use beta blockers. But, this is only when I am very anxious about a performance and I don't want to suffer physically from the effects of adrenaline. Not the nervousness, not the shaking, but the increased output of insulin. I struggle with low blood sugar. My blood sugar levels peak at about 72 (when that is about as low as they should get). That burst of adrenaline when I'm nervous increases my insulin output, and causes my blood sugar to plummet. That can be really dangerous.

But I don't do it regularly. I feel that a slight edge of nerves only adds excitement to a performance. You must master your emotions to be a great performer. Drugs don't fix that problem. They won't make you un-nervous. They just give you physical control again. I prefer performing without them anyway. That druggy feeling is awful. You must practice performing in front of others, and you must also take some hard looks at yourself.

Being a confident performer I think is also about being a confident person. When on stage, everyone is scrutinizing you in one way or another. If you aren't comfortable in your own skin, who you are, and who you want to be... then you won't be comfortable on stage. That is often a very difficult thing to do. It's something that I still work through myself. It requires looking at your strengths and your faults as a whole person; accepting who you are, mistakes, weaknesses and all. Then you have to find bravery somewhere. Take that courage, bottle up everything you've learned about yourself (good and bad), take it on stage with you... then show everyone in the world the real you through your music. It's a scary thing. But once you can do that... nothing is scary.

Except spiders. Especially the ones the size of small watermelons. They're scary. :shock:

lianeandflute
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Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:19 am

Re: nerves

Post by lianeandflute »

FG18 - gee that sucks about your blood sugar levels! From that point of view, sure, the drugs make sense. I understand what you're saying.

I forgot to say - my uncle (who is a professional guitar player) told me that the best way to not get nervous is to be really well prepared. It sounds obvious I guess, but the more comfortable you are with everything technically and musically, the more comfortable you will be while performing, because at least you don't have to worry about those things.

But yeah, unfortunately, the only way to get better at performing is to do it a lot and find out what works for you. Like anything.
"It's happening inside you; not in the flute!" - Emmanuel Pahud (At a masterclass in Sydney, Nov. 2010)

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Zevang
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Re: nerves

Post by Zevang »

Well said fluteguy, I believe that training is the key for achieving higher levels of performance. I also believe that if somebody has a limitation and knows a tool to work it out, there is no problem using such a resource to make things work better, assuming it does not involve forbidden drugs nor abusive consumption.

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Phineas
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Re: nerves

Post by Phineas »

I have been performing for quite some time (30+ Years), and I still get those initial butterflies.

During the Christmas holiday, I was featured to play "Have yourself a merry little Xmas" backed up by a jazz big band. This was the first time I performed on flute in front of this particular bigband(Ala Count Basie/Glen Miller Style) for a performance. I only had a couple of hours to prepare, since I really never rehearsed the song on flute before(Mostly Guitar and Sax). I was shaking uncontrollably for the first 8 bars...LOL Something just kicked it, and I kept going. The performance turned out well, and I am going to be featured again in March. I guess I did ok.

About the only time that I did not have that feeling was when I played the pit. After you play the same show 2 times a day and 3 days a week. You tend to almost memorize the music after a while...lol To the point of boredom! The first week of the show, I STILL had butterflies. Even though the audience could not even see me.

The point is, you will always have some level of nervousness. That is just a part of performance. About all you can do is learn how to deal with it. It never REALLY goes away no matter how much you rehearse.

Phineas

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Zevang
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Re: nerves

Post by Zevang »

This is true.

This is completely natural. By the way, if we did not have adrenaline in our blood we probably would have been an extinct race at some point in the past.

It also happens to me when I did not have the time to prepare a difficult score, generally before the first rehearsal at the orchestra.

angelafoster
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Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:41 am

Re: nerves

Post by angelafoster »

thanks so much for all your comments, very much appreciated, especially the one about being confident in your own skin. :)

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