Nerves on Stage.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by 2nd man down, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    Following on from a discussion that's starting in Random, has anyone got any good tips on how to combat nerves on stage??

    I believe you need some adrenalin pumping, but I get a really dry mouth, wobbly legs and that "out of body" weighless feeling when I'm up there!! My lips go sort of numb too!! :mad:

    Any tips on how to keep my nerves under control??
  2. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    I get really nervous in the build up but once out on the stage I am fine.

    Its all the hanging around that does me in especially at contests. I tend to prowl around the holding area not talking to anybody and just concentrating my mind on what lies ahead.

    Its not the greatest of tips but it works for me!

    We have one person in our band who actually lays down flat on the floor to help her relax, she claims it does work!
  3. vonny

    vonny Member

    Someone said to me once, when you are feeling nervous try and focus on what you are doing and not on who is around you. I remember once going on stage, and immediatley looking to whom was watching - i just crumbled. Because i had looked about me first i began to have pre-concieved negative thoughts... The next time i went on stage i focussed on the job in hand, and i did much better, but for me not being as nervous was a positive step forward :biggrin:
  4. Just Crazy

    Just Crazy Member

    I use rescue remedy, 3 drops before i go on stage and im fine!
  5. matti_raz

    matti_raz Member

    fine? lol

    Just don't think about it- works for me! Deep Breathes, slow blinking and slow movements. Also just make your self look big and cocky when walking out- I don't know why but it works for me.:confused: Guess the idea is that if you exude confidence you sort of get some of it back- if you get me- because I know I don't half the time.:rolleyes:
  6. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    Me too! Self belief can hide a multitude of fears!
  7. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    I tend to suffer from panic attacks which are completely disabling until I can get them under control. This is not just during concerts although this isn't unknown (far from it!), but during any situation when I am slightly nervous - like when giving a training course or something at work.

    Beta-blockers help if the problem is extreme (see your GP for this, not the internet!!) , but so can focussing on deep-breathing, and relaxing every part of your body, starting from the feet up. By the time you get to your head, you will either be very relaxed, or asleep ;)

    It's difficult to give categorical advice to what works every time - after all, if I knew that I wouldn't have a problem! - but you just have to try to find what works for you.

  8. vonny

    vonny Member

    Yeah matti - i can see the point of that :)

    Oh and as an a side - you won't see me at band tonight, how sad is that ;)
  9. backrowbloke

    backrowbloke Member

    For a solo, our top trombone stands on one leg, helps the focus, but I guess thats not going to help :)

    Difficult one, because a remedy for one person doesn't help another & as I don't really suffer from nerves (never understood why people do but hey ho), Confidence is best bet though - believe in yourself.
  10. Just Crazy

    Just Crazy Member

    And what are you trying to say?
  11. skimbleshanks

    skimbleshanks Member

    Whoa, someone else who gets that "out of body" weightless feeling, Hate it. Feels like I've got no legs and I loose all sense of balance: feels like I'm leaning over sideways at 45 degrees.

    Someone suggested that the loss of feeling in the legs could be a circulation problem: combination of hard seats and boney backside. As for the sensation of leaning over sideways, the sense of balance is in the ears. Perhaps it's just the sheer concentration: with the brain so focused on the audio information from the ears it doesn't process the balance information? Anyone have any ideas on this?
  12. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    The balance thing is more likely to be to do with changes in blood flow in the brain (due to altered heart rate, blood presure etc) and altered breathing patterns rather than a simple inner-ear shutdown.

    Try practising when you are in an adrenaline mode so that you get used to coping with it better - e.g. try doing 50 step-ups immediately before doing some lip flexibilities or similar as part of your home practice regime.
  13. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    I used to get very nervous on stage playing solo's and dont ever think i'll get them under control totally, i havent done a stand up solo for 3 and a half years so Saturday should be interesting. Normally i find i'm fine after the first solo bit of the evening, provided it goes well, so in that respect a good confident start to a solo is the perfect remedy.

    Ye gods Crawf, me and you are gonna be a right pair on saturday night and at Malton!! :eek:
    I'll have to remember my hip flask so we can have our own rescue remedy, a sip or two of jameson's!
  14. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    For goodness Sake Chris, the nerves have REALLY got to you :eek: :eek: ...we're playing in Emley on Saturday!!! You go to Malton and you're on your own pal!! :clap: :p
  15. sterlingsop

    sterlingsop Member

    I suffer from nerves, and the best tip I have ever had is from my little brother. He told me to concentrate on the basics, and just breathe. It's a cracking bit of advice, and it's something our conductor Carl keeps telling the band too.

    If you think about it it makes sense - if you remember your technique and concentrate on your breathing then the rest will follow. If you feel yourself getting light headed and giddy you are probably breathing to shallowly, which won't help you play and will also contribute to the weightless feeling too. Take a deep breath (not more than one or two or you will go dizzy from too much oxygen!) and try to relax your breathing. It also helps if (like me) you find yourself getting nervous as the piece progresses. Even if a big solo is coming up, or a big exposed bit or whatever - just take a big breath and control the exhalation a few bars (or section) beforehand to stop that tight feeling in your chest and throat.

    I promise you it will work - it's taken me a long time to trust his advice (well he IS my brother!) but once I started to trust it I have found I can control my nerves much much better. I still get nervous, but more times than not it's the healthy adrenaline-fuelled nerves that helps me perform and not the terrifying-ordeal-type nerves that stop me in my tracks. Remembering my brother's advice got me through playing Hailstorm for the first time a couple of weeks ago, which is something I wouldn't have even contemplated 2 or 3 years ago - and I've been playing a LONG time!!

    Hope you find this advice useful, good luck!
  16. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Re-read the passage Crawf...I said on Saturday AND at Malton!!! Trust me i'll be in Emley on saturday, if not i'll be in my old kentucky home and you'll have the priviledge of being nervous and doing a stand up solo. :p

    :rolleyes: You just can't get the staff these days...
  17. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    DOH!!! :redface:
  18. vonny

    vonny Member

    Deleting shedloads of carriage-returns!

    That is good advice Pam - thank you. I think i will find it benefitial to use the breathing technique in the rehearsal room as well as on stage.

    Yvonne x

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2005
  19. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    For Area and Holmfirth contests this year, prior to taking the stage I was totally relaxed and ready to "get on with it" so to say. But as soon as I was on the stage, all of a sudden the nerves hit me and I found it so much harder to play!

    Yet, for my performance recital at uni in May, I spent the best part of four hours as a quivering wreck, trying hard not to play too much in case I knackered myself out before I even got on stage. I was still shaking as I went up, but as soon as I started playing, I was fine.

    I'm certain this is because everyone gets nervous prior to a concert/contest, and the only way to deal with it is not to resist it, but to accept it. Some people will get it worse than others, but if you work at letting the nerves run their course you will find that once they're gone you'll have no problems whatsoever.

    Hope it helps!
  20. lottie4744

    lottie4744 Member

    I used to get really nervous going on stage, to the point where I was passing out, but what it really takes is being confident in yourself.

    I have a banana every 15 minutes starting the hour before we go on stage at a contest. Also breathing excersizes, if you breath in over 4, hold for 15 seconds then out over 2 it gets rid of the panic feeling before you go on stage, note: don't try and hold it for 30 seconds if you have nasty asthma, that was one of my less clever tricks!

    Most important is probably to keep your breathing under control on stage. That's what I struggle with the most.

    Just got to think about it, if you can do it in the rehearsal room, you can do it on stage. And if there are any mistakes, which there's bound to be, just try and forget about them and make up for it in the rest of the piece.

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