Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Thirteen Ball, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    The most important wepon in a musicians armoury, yet also the easiest to disarm him/her of. An ill-chosen word from a conductor or section partner can undermine everything, yet a well-placed little word of encouragement from the same can work wonders and turn a decent performer into a star player. It never ceases to amaze me the difference that a few words can make.

    I recently moved instruments, from Eb to BBb bass. Practices are going a little better now, and I'm turning into a BB player, rather than a failed Eb player. OK, my top register's almost completely dissapeared, but my low register has improved vastly, as has my lung capacity. I thought it was just the instrument I wasn't used to, but having played Eb a couple of times on carolling jobs, I've realised I was completely wrong.

    It's not the technique I'm struggling with on my new instrument. It's confidence. All my bandmates have been very supportive, bless them, and my section principal has practically carried me for the last few months, but it's not fair on them when I'm scared of passages I should be able to play in my sleep. I wish I could have posted this anonymously because I'm a bit ashamed of much I'm struggling behind the scenes.

    How do I get back the confidence I had when I was an Eb player? I could look at a run or arpeggio and knock it straight out. Now I feel worried I'll goof it up before the mouthpiece hits my lip, and I feel like I'm not pulling my weight sometimes.

    Any advice greatly appreciated.
  2. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    Heck, you're not the only one!!!

    I'll publicy admit that the pressures of work & family mean that I often cannot find time to practice and it has an inevitable effect on playing and more importantly stamina.

    I think the biggest killer of confidence, especially when playing solos is lack of stamina - not knowing if you are going to miss a note, or even make it to the end.

    Just recently, I made a pre-new year's resolution to get my instrument out every day, even if just for 5 minutes, as I am told that even than makes a BIG difference....

    Practice, Practice, and more Practice cures all least I hope so :D
  3. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Agreed, practice is the key. I am lucky in that I dont ever have confidence problems when it comes to playing and because of that I generally get by. However, I change instruments more times than I eat hot meals and I am always slightly concerned that the new insturment wont do what I want it to or make the sound I want it to. A couple of days practice does the world of good though, after that anything is possibly.
  4. Rambo Chick

    Rambo Chick Member

    well mr thirteen ball, you've given the reason straight away why you lack confidence! You TELL yourself you can't do so you are defeated before you blow a note! as my other half stated its in yer 'ead! truth is you actually CAN play those arpeggios and runs-if you can play 'em on EEb, you can on BBb!

    what i find works is when you are approaching the phrase in question, slow it down in your head when you come to play it, and ideally it should come out for you. dont let your brain panic and your fingers will work!

    so hope this helps

    see you at band!
  5. Crazysop

    Crazysop Member

    Very true I do this all the time, convince myself thatI can't play something and lo and behold I can't, but if I think well , it;s a bit tricky but i;ll give it a go I usually sail through!!! And if all that fails, just give it your best shot, no one can ask for more. If you've tried your best and it goes wrong, so what! you can hold your head up high and say you gave it your best shot.
  6. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    Strewth, this is starting to sound like an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting :D

    This is all sounding rather familiar - I used to really get the shakes on the stage.
    But Mr Wadsworth convinced me to try and "think myself up" before going on. Avoid any negative thoughts and try to think of more arrogant confident thoughts and it does work.
    It just needs the courage to try. Not easy if you are a bit naturally timid like wot I am... :(
  7. Bones

    Bones Member

    Hallelujah, a fellow neurotic. Hi, I'm Rich and I'm a nervous trombonist. Anyone who knows me will know that I am a reasonably confident person. Anyone who's sat next to me in band will know I am shaking like a plate of jelly, whenever I have to play anything (Bang goes all my dep work from now on).

    I wholeheartedly agree a few well placed words (wrongly or rightly) can have a tremendous affect on someones ability. Not saying we need to be treated like prima donnas, but human beings would be nice.

    Stick with the BBb, sounds like you are in the middle of a good team, and they appreciate the work you're doing.

    Good luck in New Zealand

  8. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    Hey Mr Walker! I can honestly say I've never heard a better rendition of the end of Bohemian Rhapsody than your one!
  9. Bones

    Bones Member

    Induced by Caipirinha. Insprired by vodka.
  10. BigMal

    BigMal New Member

    As a fellow sufferer of many years I sympathise with anyone who lacks confidence.

    However I am not certain that practice is always the answer. As a member of a non-competing band, I could play most that was put in front of me. BUT come the day of the concert - shiver shiver shiver.

    I am coming to the (perhaps defeatist) that there may be no answer, and some people are destined never to perform to their full potential on the public (or contest) stage.
  11. groovy

    groovy Active Member

    I personally find that I play well and am not nervous if I'm in a rage! Before I have to play in a competition or contest I get myself all worked up about something and then usually play a blinder. This is just what works for me but maybe some way of taking your mind off being nervous (without losing it completely) will help.
  12. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I wish I could be more helpful. Although in some ways it's a bit different, I have this problem if I have to compere.

    I can play a stand-up-solo, as difficult or risky as you like and carry it off with a certain amount of panache.

    I can teach a class of revolting 13/14 yr olds and give a star performance.

    Stick me in front of a band or choir where all I have to do is conduct - no problem.

    Ask me to speak


    :hammer :hammer :hammer :wow

    I get the runs, the jitters, the shakes. Kalms have no effect. I spend hours preparing speeches, trying out jokes, getting general information. I practice in front of my family and generally make an ass of myself until it is all over.

    It usually goes ok, but it is sheer hell. I know it is only to do with confidence, but no amount of knowing does any good. The thing is, keep telling yourself it goes OK. If it doesn't, it doesn't really matter anyway. In the great scheme of things, it doesn't actually matter at all.

    Nobody is going to die, the world isn't actually going to end and your friends will all support you no matter what. That's the only thing that gets me through, actually.
  13. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Thanks for the advice and support folks. I'm not sure it'll improve my playing, or how i'll be at practice in half an hour. But at least now I know it's NOT just me that feels like this. And not to be alone helps a lot.

    Cheers folks. Beers on me next yorkshire areas.
  14. brass journo

    brass journo Member

    mines a pint then! Mr. Thirteen Ball - you are doing great and sadly, but don't tell anyone, I have to agree with rambo chick's comments - If you think back to where you were in March and where you are now - that should give you confidence - not in a long while have I witnessed such a progression in a player and you should take confidence in your other skills such as composing and arranging - not many people could spin off a classy arrangement in such a short space of time - you certainly saved my bacon with Mary had a baby!!
  15. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Have you considered whether you are comfortable yet with pitching since you've moved to BBb? If there is any insecurity there, imagined or real, that could be a factor in how you approach the music, although from what people are saying it doesn't look as if anyone else is aware of any problem ;)
  16. Vickitorious

    Vickitorious Active Member

    When you're at band thats where you're allowed to make mistakes.. everyone does.. so the more you just go for things in the bandroom... you'll feel more confident on stage or whatever... everyones on your side no matter what *bursts into song cus i heard it yesterday* .... Think of it been on Eb again... Just go for it! Look forward to having something difficult to play.. it's a challenge.. and you love challenges don't you? ;):p... (cue for you to say yes) :p
  17. fitzy

    fitzy Active Member

    Confidence is a huge thing on soprano. Hopefully what I do translates to other instruments!

    I just go for it. If I'm feeling a bit down, I just go for it even more. I constantly have to tell myself that missing a note isn't a big deal. If I am musical, then I'm happy.

    Just go for it balls and all! ;)

    Hopefully that makes sense. I've had a bit of dutch courage tonight ;)
  18. Tobin

    Tobin Member

    Such an important issue and so much has been written on the subject. No easy answer as there are many variables that can effect confidence. I have had MANY on stage nightmares ranging from the areas to even in a silly bowling club!! One thing to recognise is that the demon is within!! I think it's pretty much irrelevant what anyone else says to me. The pressure is coming from ones own negative thoughts. But obviously it isn't as simple as saying "i will play well" and then it will happen - unfortunately!! If you are in good practise the more confident you will be.

    Crazysop makes an excellent point - lose the negativity, either think postively or focus so much that you are not even thinking about it at all - it just happens!!!! Easier said than done tho!!!! This "ease of operation" is often reserved for the top class players - they are in such good condition they can't be anything else but confident.

    A good tip i've heard a few times is get used to "performing" during practise. It's performing that's causing the problem, get into the swing of performing music as opposed to practising it - reduce the pressure of having to go through a piece top to bottom as a one off occasion.
  19. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    That's so right!
    How many times do we stand up at home and actually run the piece through from top to bottom without stopping for a rest? You don't get that chance on the stage...yet I guess I do it all the time.

    Surely knowing that you can do it and comfortably at home will boost confidence when it comes to doing for real...
  20. pjb120

    pjb120 Member

    I always find it handy to make 'temporary friends' with a couple of people in the audience. When standing up for a solo, or about to sit down at a contest, catch the eye of a couple of people you dont know in the audience, smile and nod them a quick hello.

    It sounds stupid, but it really works for me because they usually smile back and hence give you some support + acts as a good distraction. When combined with lots of practice and a confidence in your own ability, it will stop you from feeling the jitters in no time!;)

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