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Stage Fright..How do you cure it..
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johnnyblaze
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September 24, 2013 - 9:23 pm
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Hey everyone by that i mean playing in front of anyone..

  I seem to shake bad and have trouble finding the notes on tunes i play extremely smoothly otherwise..

Any tips on this problem??

 

Thanks

John

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HDuaneaz
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September 24, 2013 - 9:28 pm
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I would say practice, practice, practice,......... Know your music well. Once you do that, realize you are playing in front people that love music or they would not be there. Know that they want you to be successful. If you receive criticism, it is to help you get better at playing.

Duane

 

"Violin is one of the joys of my life."

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allisonyli
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September 24, 2013 - 9:34 pm
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if the amount of people is frightening you, you can maybe close your eyes.

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HDuaneaz
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September 24, 2013 - 9:40 pm
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Another thing you can do besides what I mentioned previously. Is that it definitely would not hurt anything to do some deep breathing. There is also an essential oil you can sniff. It is legal. It is called Pine Essential Oil (pinus sylvestrus). The oil helps to relax. It doesn't hurt.

Duane

 

"Violin is one of the joys of my life."

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KindaScratchy
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September 24, 2013 - 10:44 pm
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I think this affects most people...not only in front of live audiences, but also when recording video. I also think that the only way to get over it is to do it as much as possible. It's that whole desensitization thing. It affects me, too, so I'm looking for opportunities to play for people and try to record myself whenever I can.

-- Diane

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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1stimestar
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September 25, 2013 - 12:38 am
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Yep, still get shaky and mess up.  Heck even playing in front of my teacher I mess up more then if I am just playing by myself.  So yea, practice.  Go ahead and dish up some humble pie for yourself and just do it.  

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

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DanielB
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I don't know as it can actually be cured.  Maybe with therapy or something.  (Though if therapy has ever actually officially cured anything, I have yet to hear of it)

But you can work with it.  First, be aware that many great performers have had it, so it doesn't have to be an impossible barrier.  Nathan Milstein, for one violin example.  He always had severe stage fright.  So far as i know, he never actually got over it.  But he gave great performances anyway.

I thing I was told that I found useful was to recognize that it is just adrenaline.  If you had it for a sporting even you were doing or a ride on a roller coaster, you wouldn't see it as the same sort of fear.  It wouldn't be something to avoid, it would be part of the fun.

So let the adrenaline happen, and direct it into your performance.  Try to think of it as being excited instead of as fright.  Shouldn't you want to be a bit excited about getting to play, rather than oh.. bored?  LOL 

One thing I have noticed is that the longer you go without playing in front of people, the worse the "jitters" part of it tends to get.  So play out in public a bit.  A park, a store parking lot, whatever.  I haven't found it to get rid of stage fright, but it can help you keep a workable perspective about it so it won't keep you from performing.

 

 

"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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Ginnysg
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September 25, 2013 - 8:51 am
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I had the same problem.  I'd do just fine in my practice room, but when I tried to play for anyone (or for a video) I'd mess up every time.

So I started playing for my grandkids...  Little kids are great, they will applaud wildly even if you're just playing scales!

Then I play for friends, who know I am a total newbie, so they are very encouraging - and the more I play for people the easier it gets. 

You might try going to a local park and just playing.  People may come around to listen (probably mostly kids - again an 'easy' crowd ) It's a fun experience, and it helps shake off the "shakes" and builds your confidence. 

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” 

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soma5
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September 25, 2013 - 2:39 pm
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Others have already suggested the right things.  Play more by yourself (i.e. practice), play more in front of others (including your pets, for example) and play more for the recording device you use.  You don't record yourself?  You should start, because learning to play smoothly for the recorder is like performing for others.

Can you think of the last time you were listening to someone play and really wanted them to mess up?  I bet you have never felt that way, and I bet that most people in the world have never felt that way.  The audience is on your side, wants you to succeed, and is willing to cut you a lot of slack.

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HDuaneaz
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I didn't even remember this when I made my first comment, but I remember when I used to have lessons with Jack Herriman, he would say, "Come on Duane, I know you can play that LeClair sonata better than that." I knew the reason I was having a hard time with it was because I was thinking about him.

So, the secret, if it can be done; even though we love and appreciate our audience or teacher, I believe the best thing to do is try to tune then out. I just watched I. Perlman play Zeigeinurweisen (probably spelled it wrong). He played it with feeling. If you watch him, the only thing on his mind is expressing himself through that beautiful piece of music.

 

I have see movies about baseball pitchers who totally shut the fans out of their minds so they can concentrate FULLY on their pitching. I believe this actually happens with baseball pitchers.

Duane

 

"Violin is one of the joys of my life."

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KindaScratchy
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September 25, 2013 - 8:16 pm
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Ginnysg said
Little kids are great, they will applaud wildly even if you're just playing scales!

Thanks for that mental image, Ginny. I love it and am still chuckling about it. :) Makes me wish that I had little kids around to play for.

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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johnnyblaze
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September 26, 2013 - 7:08 am
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DanielB said

But you can work with it.  First, be aware that many great performers have had it, so it doesn't have to be an impossible barrier.  Nathan Milstein, for one violin example.  He always had severe stage fright.  So far as i know, he never actually got over it.  But he gave great performances anyway.

Glad you mentioned him..Milstein is one of my favorites and he looked very cool and relaxed while he was performing.

I noticed with alot of people as soon as you hit one bad note its like a domino effect because all you can think of is your mistake so others foloow one after the other..

John

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Fiddlerman
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September 26, 2013 - 7:45 am
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A few physical tips to overcome nervousness.

1) Breath from your stomach
2) Lean forward (it's the attack mode and this really works, leaning back is defense and fear)
3) Concentrate on phrasing, making music, rather than technique or the performance situation.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Mad_Wed
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September 26, 2013 - 12:38 pm
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Nice tips there, guys, thank you! I'll try to use them either =)

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Crazymotive
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Well, I have suffered from anxiety for many decades. I have even had to use valium or xanax occasionally to keep my anxieties under control But I don't need to take any tranquilizers for stage fright because I don't seem to have stage fright. In fact when i do get anxiety it is usually due to things I cannot explain nor seem to have any logical reason for becoming nervous.  But when I am performing I am always relaxed, no nervousness, no anxiety, no butterfies, etc. It's kind of ironic because one would think that the one time I should feel anxious and uneasy is before or during a performance. But wth me it just doesn't work that way. When I am playing around others or in front of an audience I feel comfortable with my surroundings and with what I am doing and it actually acts as a "natural tranquilizer". It actually makes me feel better, calm and more relaxed than I would otherwise feel.                                             It's weird I know but for me thats how it is.

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1stimestar
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September 26, 2013 - 1:20 pm
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Crazymotive said
Well, I have suffered from anxiety for many decades. I have even had to use valium or xanax occasionally to keep my anxieties under control But I don't need to take any tranquilizers for stage fright because I don't seem to have stage fright. In fact when i do get anxiety it is usually due to things I cannot explain nor seem to have any logical reason for becoming nervous.  But when I am performing I am always relaxed, no nervousness, no anxiety, no butterfies, etc. It's kind of ironic because one would think that the one time I should feel anxious and uneasy is before or during a performance. But wth me it just doesn't work that way. When I am playing around others or in front of an audience I feel comfortable with my surroundings and with what I am doing and it actually acts as a "natural tranquilizer". It actually makes me feel better, calm and more relaxed than I would otherwise feel.                                             It's weird I know but for me thats how it is.

That's wonderful.  Aren't our brains amazing things? 

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

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Crazymotive
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September 26, 2013 - 2:03 pm
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Crazymotive said Well, I have suffered from anxiety for many decades. I have even had to use valium or xanax occasionally to keep my anxieties under control But I don't need to take any tranquilizers for stage fright because I don't seem to have stage fright. In fact when i do get anxiety it is usually due to things I cannot explain nor seem to have any logical reason for becoming nervous.  But when I am performing I am always relaxed, no nervousness, no anxiety, no butterfies, etc. It's kind of ironic because one would think that the one time I should feel anxious and uneasy is before or during a performance. But wth me it just doesn't work that way. When I am playing around others or in front of an audience I feel comfortable with my surroundings and with what I am doing and it actually acts as a "natural tranquilizer". It actually makes me feel better, calm and more relaxed than I would otherwise feel.                                             It's weird I know but for me thats how it is.

That's wonderful.  Aren't our brains amazing things? 

 

Yes they are. In fact when I am at home and I feel a state of anxiety coming on I'll often reach for the violin before reaching for a pill. And quite often after playing for a while I won't need the pill. It's amazing how doing something that you really love and enjoy can help improve your state of mind and bring both relaxation and a sense of satisfaction. . Of course there are times when medication is necessary and can't be avoided, but,  many times I can avoid it by picking up the violin and playing a few tunes I enjoy, or maybe working on a new piece that I'm trying to learn. 

I don't know if this will work for stage fright but I would say that perhaps when up on stage focus on what you are playing, just as if you were practicing at home, rather than focusing on who is watching or what they might be thinking. Doing so may help to relive the stress and nervousness and you will be less likely to make mistakes. I can't say for sure but I think it could help in dealing with stage fright.

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HDuaneaz
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September 26, 2013 - 2:35 pm
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I wouldn't advocate the use of a drug to relax. It just simply isn't something that can be sustained indefinitely while remaining healthy at the same time.

Duane

 

"Violin is one of the joys of my life."

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JoeP
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September 26, 2013 - 10:58 pm
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I haven't heard any mention of The Bulletproof Musician.  Dr Noa Kageyama, trained as a classical violinst, then as a sports/performace psychologist, and now teaches at Juliard.  He has a technique that he first learned from a sports Psychologist, Dr. Don Greene

You can find a number of videos featuring Dr Kageyama on YouTube. for example.

You can also find some books by Dr. Don Greene on overcoming performance anxiety on amazon.

Both of them recommend an approach called centering.

Worth a look!

joe

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coolpinkone
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September 27, 2013 - 1:58 am
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 Good Topic.  Pierre..Love those tips.

Daniel...loved  your article.  I could so relate to much of what you have said.

I have shyness, and passive tendencies to a fault.  As a matter of fact, I  wouldn't even play sports that had a solo event, hitting a ball, kick ball.  Anything that had a single focus.  I was good at  gymnastics..went to practices ..practiced and did well but never once hit the floor exercise, vault or beam. I did my last uneven bars in the 8th grade.

In school as a good student I took F's on my speeches... and it was like this in many areas...to a fault.  Not even asking questions in class if I needed help.  Could not stand the attention to me.   I did take speech in college and passed with a B..... woo hoo...I did it. (won't be doing that again.. :)

And many many  years later..same thing with me... I meet up with other violinists to play and it takes three to four sessions to feel comfy playing....

NOW I am in Music class in college and each class I have to go up and play those five finger Patterns and the triad, and inverted  triads in front of the whole class... (on the Steinway)..and now we are clapping and counting for our mid term and also conducting.. ta ta ta..  IT is stressful and I have been so anxiety ridden from it...considered quitting because I want to learn the book stuff.

But I have to say... the environment and the teacher and other students has helped..  and it is getting better... Not over it...Not even halfway better..just better.

I like the tip that others mentioned here also.. Most people just want to hear us play.  And most people are on our side.  It doesn't kill us.  It does get better...but so far...at 48 I am not cured.  Grandchildren to do clap... and dance..and that is  so good.

The red light of the microphone and the fear of posting even here is enough to make me crazy... but the pay off is good.. great.

As for other things, wine, a pill or something to relax. I have found that they have helped some tension in my neck..and some nervous issues...and helped those around me deal with my pre-performance crazies.... so yes, a bit of help. But I can assure you that none of the above has ever enhanced my performance.. And au natural is best. (But if medication or a little relaxing something helps.. go for it..no judgement from me...life is short).

That being said, I still suffer from stage fright. Any time I have played/performed it is a blur.  I rarely recall playing, I am prone to forget entire parts of the songs that I have known and played well, and I am prone to all of a sudden having bad posture that affects my clean bowing so I hit all kinds of strings.

And here I am.. I lived to tell about it.

Good luck everyone.

Some of the days...well it has to just be good enough to play pretty stuff for ourselves... because we deserve it.

Good topic...good luck.

:)

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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