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Last Minute Relaxation Techniques
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EJ-Kisz
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May 17, 2012 - 10:25 am
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Hey everyone!

So, I think I bit off more than I can chew!  I will be playing in front of people for the first time (after picking up the violin for the first time 3 months ago) and I'm starting to feel the pressure!  

I really haven't been nervous like this in a long time!  I mean, I've played live on Bass Guitar and Trumpet and even recorded, but I've never had nerves like this.  

Does anybody have any last minute relaxation techniques that works for them?

I'm used to my little quirks like the "unscratchable nose itch" and my now famous "pace everywhere."  Those I can handle, but this is a new beast for me for some reason!  

Last minute advice would be much appreciated! LOL  

~EJ

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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NoirVelours
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May 17, 2012 - 10:46 am
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Play for yourself, don't watch the crowd! and breathe lol Good luck EJ! cow-fingerscrossed

"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov

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Dee Major
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May 17, 2012 - 2:03 pm
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Maybe if you play first for family, friends or anyone available, you will get used to an audience and be able to focus better on your playing.  Best wishes, EJ!thumbs-up

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dionysia
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May 17, 2012 - 3:29 pm
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Imagine in your mind [briefly] some disastrous screw-up and then REALLY focus on how you will just laugh it off and keep playing.

pink-violin-girl

I can almost guarantee that whatever disastrous screw-up you imagine for your starting off point will dwarf any actual screw-up that might really happen, and you will already be mentally prepared to deal with it.

violin-student

Best case scenario - you pull it off without a hitch and then realize you were worried over nothing.

cheerleader

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ftufc
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May 17, 2012 - 3:41 pm
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Guiness EJ, it's like sandpaper for taking the edge off!!!  cheers

I'm not promoting alcoholism, just a tried and true last minute relaxation technique...

My daughter and I just had this conversation the night before last.  She played at a world-class venue and was so nervous she was freaking herself out; it's totally a head thing.

As you know (which is the reason for your concern), preparation and mastery is the final solution to performance anxiety.  One technique I used occasionally when I was asked to speak on the spur of the moment to groups of 50 people or more (largest group I ever spoke to was 1100 people, scared the crap outta me), was to try to introduce myself to as much of the audience as I could before my presentation; they see you're human and have made some kind of connection with you; for some reason, that always made it easier for me.

But, after watching my daughter go through performance anxiety for the past 18 mo.s, I also understand there's a HUGE difference between presenting technical information to a crowd, and bearing your soul and opening a very personal part of yourself up to judgement.... again, I'd lead with Guiness!

Good luck EJ, you will be as great as you can be at the moment! thumbs-up

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TerryT
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May 17, 2012 - 3:42 pm
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An old One but a good one.
Visualise your audience wearing only their underpants.

Whenever I am asked to do something in public, I kind of get all arrogant. Not in an outward sort if way, but in my mind, whatever I am doing, it is MY moment, no-one else's .
It's almost a feeling of showing off a bit.
When I see karate students performing in front of people (public display, grading panel etc) the worse ones are the ones who come across as being shy. The confident ones, even if their technique is rubbish, look much better than the hunched shoulders, looking at the floor, trying to hide away.
So when it's YOUR moment, go out there, strut your stuff with confidence (not outward arrogance, there is a fine line between the two).
People will say "he's obviously no expert, but he loves it ( whatever your standard) and they will love it (and you)too!
People will be willing you to play it good, not hoping you cock it up)
Dunno if all this helps, but the more different opinions you get, the more you can choose what suits you.

Oh yeah, and only the small minded people With no guts to Perform In public will sneer and let's face it, their opinion isn't relevant anyway

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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DanielB
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May 17, 2012 - 3:46 pm
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I used to have stage fright issues, EJ.  Used to get drunk to get up the nerve before a show, but I really don't recommend that since it really hurts one's playing.

But one of my teachers taught me a trick that works for me that you can try.  Think for a moment about some exciting action movie or a ride like a roller coaster.  Those things get the adrenaline up and the nerves awake.  That is exactly why we pay money to see those movies or ride on such rides.

Performance nerves are the same adrenaline, the same faster heart rate and etc.  So don't view it as "nervous", think of it as "excited" instead.   Like if there was a roller coaster or something you were really looking forward to getting to ride.  That way you can use that extra bit of energy to make your performance more fun.

That teacher told me that if he went up on a stage or into a studio without at least a bit of adrenaline kicking, he'd feel like the was cheating the audience because he really wouldn't be at his best and his performance might lack "fire".

It actually works for me, most of the time. 

And right before playing, take a couple of deep breaths, shake out your hands, and roll your neck a time or two to let the tension go.  If it is a situation where you can get away with it, make a joke or two when saying hello to the audience to "break the ice".  Or crack a few jokes with the people backstage right before going on.  A laugh can make the difference between feeling like "Oh, no.. here we go.."  and "Dang!  I am having fun!"

It is just adrenaline either way, so let it happen and let it work for you instead of against you.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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ftufc
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May 17, 2012 - 3:49 pm
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What if the audience doesn't wear underpants Terry,,,,, then what!

I agree 100% with your perspective,,, nobody wants to invest their time watching someone who is apologetic for their performance; ya GOTTA OWN IT, good, bad, or somewhere in the middle.  And truly just enjoy your moment.

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TerryT
Coleshill, Warwickshire
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May 17, 2012 - 3:52 pm
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Some good advice from DanielB and Fred T.

After all (Fred) as a member of the Senate, you must be used used to it.
We'll have to get used to saying "yes Mr President" in our best Californian drawl, FAF!
Lol

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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TerryT
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May 17, 2012 - 3:56 pm
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ftufc said

What if the audience doesn't wear underpants Terry,,,,, then what!

I agree 100% with your perspective,,, nobody wants to invest their time watching someone who is apologetic for their performance; ya GOTTA OWN IT, good, bad, or somewhere in the middle.  And truly just enjoy your moment.

Nooooo! Don't even think that, haha. Your vision will go fuzzy!

But Yep! 100% on the rest

And Let's face it, it's another skill that one has to Learn.
Even the people we think of as "born performers" would have been crapping their pants the first time.

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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DanielB
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May 17, 2012 - 4:04 pm
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Oh, and if the audience starts throwing underwear?  Relax, it probably means you are doing good.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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TerryT
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May 17, 2012 - 4:15 pm
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roflol
Only if it's the ladies!!

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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DanielB
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May 17, 2012 - 4:30 pm
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Ok Terry, I have to admit you have a point there!!  ROFL

 

Well, unless the player is female or publicly known to be gay, maybe.

 

Have to wonder now if guys ever throw underwear at performers.  I never heard of it, but if there is one thing I've learned in my decades it is that this is a bigger, wider and weirder world than I have ever been able to imagine.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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ftufc
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May 17, 2012 - 4:36 pm
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roflol; yeah Daniel, actually in our local retirement homes, if the gentlemen don't like the faire being served in the dining room, they've been know to peel outta their Depends and launch them!

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DanielB
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May 17, 2012 - 4:43 pm
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Ok... EJ?  Better not try to read too much into underwear getting thrown.  Apparently it "Depends" on many factors and can't be considered a universal sign of approval from the audience.

 

<ducks fast before he can get hit with the BBLP  (Baseball Bat of Lame Puns)>

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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TerryT
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May 17, 2012 - 4:52 pm
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ftufc said

roflol; yeah Daniel, actually in our local retirement homes, if the gentlemen don't like the faire being served in the dining room, they've been know to peel outta their Depends and launch them!

I wish I was old enough to go there right now!

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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EJ-Kisz
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May 17, 2012 - 4:58 pm
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roflol

 

Thanks everyone!  I'll definitely keep my eye out for flying underwear! rofl

I just had a few friends over and I played for them, just to get a feel for performing again.  I warned them that I was a beginner and began playing a HORRIBLE rendition of Twinkle Twinkle!  I mean, pressing down extra hard on my bow, missing notes, just making it sound terrible on purpose!  After they were done cringing, I ran through a few scales to let them know I wasn't that bad! LOL  That seemed to help, especially after they were done sighing and laughing!  I might use that over the weekend!

I really don't know why I'm so nervous right now!  I've played for much larger crowds before.....and honestly, I tend to be a "show off" when playing bass or trumpet!  

It might be because this will be the first time performing since my accident.  For over 4 years, I couldn't play any instrument because of my injuries.  I guess I don't want to mess up my first time back out!

With the "imagine 'em neked" trick, you never know what you'll get!  You might a vid with me having really grossed out look on my face OR a cheesy smile! LOL  

I think I need to relax right now!  ........and maybe that Guiness! blinkcheers

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

SkullSmall-1.jpg

 

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TerryT
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May 17, 2012 - 5:25 pm
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roflol
I'll join you with a Guiness

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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ftufc
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May 17, 2012 - 5:44 pm
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THAT'S it EJ, become the new Victor Borge of the violin [instead of piano]; you can get away with anything if you're funny!

Yeah, is it Friday yet?  Friday = Guiness

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Oliver
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May 17, 2012 - 6:58 pm
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Just play it cool.   What's the worse thing that could happen ?

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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