Pre-match nerves

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Steve, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    I'm think I am lucky in that I dont get nervous, however loads of the kids i conduct suffer really badly. I was just wondering what everyone was like while waiting in the registration room or before they go on stage for a big solo. You read of sportsmen with rituals before they compete and I wondered if anyone here had something similar. A good friend of mine once said they ate bananas to relax, that was live on tv before the BBC young musican semi final!!! Lived to regret that.
  2. trombelle

    trombelle Member

    north west
    hey, as a pretty young player myself (17) i can definately sympathsise with those you conduct.
    i do get nervous but the best way to cope is to put it all in perspective. this is not a life or death situation and the audience (inc judges at comps!)
    actually WANT you to perform well! no one wants you to play badly and even if you do, whats the worse that can happen?!?
    i don't have any particular rituals but all i can say is that those scary moments b4 you go on stage are not helped by conductors reminding you of a passage you find tricky, or a dynamic you sometimes forget. i know some do it as a last minute helper but its too late for advice so a quick joke provides a relaxed atmosphere and makes you smile. that way you go out loking confident even if you don't feel it!
  3. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    I have only started getting nervous in the past year or two, but when I do, it's normally because I'm scared of making a mistake and letting the rest of the band down!
  4. Jo Elson

    Jo Elson Member

    I get a bit nervous about solos however lately I have got loads better. It's always alright on the day of a concert or contest though. My primary school headteacher always used to advise me to eat chocolate before a piano exam, I think thats what turned me into a major chocoholic! My brother gets extremely nervous about exams and my piano teacher gave him these nerve drops-dunno if they worked or not, I'd much rather stick to chocolate any day!!!
  5. trombelle

    trombelle Member

    north west
    i know how you feel!
    last time i let my band down, it cost us the contest!
    so now ive felt the worse i can feel, i know its not the end of the world so maybe thats a cure to nerves................ mess up first time, and after that the only way is up!
  6. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    i dont get nervous doing solos anymore - i used to but it just doesnt bother me anymore-which bothers me a bit cos i think i little bit of nerves is a good thing!!

    auditions i get really really nervous!!! i would actually rather play infrot of 100 people rather than just 1 - which is actually quite strange really!
  7. floral_dance

    floral_dance Member

    I have just sat my grade 5 exam today ABRSM. I have not done any before so my tutor thought go in for 5 for the practice and get a feel for it. Boy was I nervous. My friend who played for me kept telling me i was okay etc etc. When she went out she told my tutor that I had played my pieces well but it was going to go one of two ways, to which he asked what she meant. She said she is either going to burst into tears or be sick!!!!! Thankfully niether happened, but I did make a mess of my scales. I played the first couple fine then he asked me to play Ab major, normally not a problem, but it took me three attemps. The first time I played it I was doing well until about the third note from the end an I forgot where I was, but finished. He then asked me to play what felt like every scale I know and thankfully played them without a mistake. So will just have to wait and see if I have passed.
  8. tewkeshorn

    tewkeshorn Account Suspended

    Cheltenham, Glos.
    I'm a bit like Leisa, I dont get nervous at all playing solos or palying to large number of people in fact I enjoy the adrenaline rush just before going on stage.
    But I find it very hard to play at home playing on my own or to practice, I get very self-concious of how I sound to the neigbours and half-expect them to kick the door down so most of the time I hardly practice at home at all and use post-band practice etc instead to get my practice in! :?

    I suppose people react differently to different pressures. :)
  9. aimee_euph

    aimee_euph Member

    i never get nervous, never do and i doubt i ever will. at the end of the day, so what if you mess up, it's only a contest, you tried your best!

    However, i do sympathise with those who do get nervous it's all personal though.
  10. Vickitorious

    Vickitorious Active Member

    I never get nervous luckily!!! But what I do on a contest day or big concert is drink a lot of vanilla coke because it sends me hyper and when I'm hyper I don't care about anything and just get on with whatever I'm doing and it also makes me play better as well!! I also buzz on my mouthpiece about an hour before for about 5 mins and then go and play a few little parts out of my piece, but I think the best thing to do is to pick a piece that you know that you can play really well so you don't have to worry about making any mistakes or anything like that, and just remember that when your on stage performing it's because you love what you're doing (playing your instrument) and that it doesn't matter where you come it's just a bit of fun!! :bounce
  11. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Don't get nervous at all but I do like to take myself away from the rest of the band for a bit of quiet meditation. Nothing hippy, just some deep breathing clear the mind sort of stuff.
  12. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    St Austell
    I think a lot of nerves are related to technical ability. Take the experienced player who has played a certain solo a hundred times - they know that they can play it easily as they have done it so many times before. Then take the in-experienced player soloing for perhaps the first or second time - they have less confidence in thier ability to get through the solo and this causes aprehension/nerves.

    Being right on top of all aspects of technique is the best way to get over those performance nerves (someone once said that amateurs practice till they get it right, professionals practice until they can't go wrong) Imagine being on stage knowing that it can't go wrong . . . . .
  13. Bob Thompson

    Bob Thompson Member

    North Pennines. Weardale
    I ad never thoubout being nervous before I ead this thread. Now I'm a gibbering wreck thank you............smiles
  14. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Thanks all, thats given me a few new ideas as to how to approach the little people in those few terrifying minutes before we go on stage. Thanks Trombelle, I had never thought that everyone in the hall actually wants you to do well so I will definately use that one in the future. It is pretty obvious when you think about it but you get pre-occupied with the actual competitiveness of it all I guess. I will have to try and organise some sort of sponsorship with Coke and see if we can get the whole band hyper for free, see how that goes as well. Thanks again
  15. Big Twigge

    Big Twigge Active Member

    I have never been as nervous as I was before this years areas, have no reason as to why I was so nervous, am not usually too bad, but felt sick for about two days before and thought I was going to be sick (someone helpfully suggested I might be pregnant!) until straight after we played and then I was fine
  16. Emb_Enh

    Emb_Enh Member

    Here's my thoughts on the nerve thing....

    Conscious and Subconscious.....

    You must TRY to enable the subconscious mind to be receptive to positive suggestions. This allows your problems to be addressed and resolved as your body and your conscious and subsconcious mind work in unison to improve playing/performance negatives. This can be achieved through constant repitition of good habits in a relaxed playing manner. It helps you to resolve inner blockages, and arrive at the process of change and recovery.

    Traditional methods such as hypnotherapy and psychology may work, but the difference is the brief amount of time that it takes to accomplish changes in habits, behaviours and achievement through the use of relaxed repetition. It is a wholly self-centered and an "inner self process", in which our individual needs and goals must be addressed.

    Hopefully as you become more relaxed as a player, the conscious mind is less active and the subconscious is freer to deliver the preprogrammed automatic pilot psychological success of former habitual good practice. This allows you "build upon success" time and time again until you can allow the subconscious mind to become stronger and more effective.

    The positive changes hopefully will begin immediately through the increased strength and focus of your subconscious mind. You will be in control, and aware of the positive aspects that your changes in repetitive good habitual practice have resulted in. The programming used during your practices should be based on your individual, specific needs and goals.

    M e n t a l T r a i n i n g T i p s

    Tap New Abilities.
    Musicians perform best and learn new techniques fastest, training 50% mental / 50% physical.
    The desire to excel and improve is in all of us!
    Limits are only perceived, never proven until tested.
    Technical ability is a learned behavior.
    How you perform right now is not all that's possible.
    Most of us use only 5-7% of our mental abilities. Tap the other 90%+ and immediately give yourself an overwhelming advantage in MUSIC.

    Find Your True Purpose

    The more you put in, the more you take out.
    Winning as a motivator has its limitations.
    Great MUSICIANS find a purpose in their playing that moves them beyond the desire to win or gain recognition.
    Change limiting beliefs into unlimited desire to improve.
    Find your highest purpose for playing.
    The shift in attitude alone will increase your ability to perform.
    Make your commitment to practice a goal in itself...
    Perform through Practice.
    Practice the way you play. Play the way you practice.

    Look at practice as a way to find out about yourself and your limitations/abilities.

    Mental Modeling is key - e.g. observe differences between expected pitch movement and actual, observe errors in your CHOP reaction, then get the next pitch.

    Set performance goals and find ways to measure your practice improvement.

    Develop a Belief System.

    Positive Self-Talk is a technique that can backfire. Those affirmations
    ("I am a good player") or quick auditory commands only work if you believe.

    Closing your eyes, and picturing yourself PLAYING the DHC only works if it combines knowledge, imagination, belief.
    True belief comes from confidence - from the experience of success.
    Until you prove yourself, it's okay to adopt the beliefs of successful players - possibilities, challenges, performance boundaries.
    Model these beliefs systematically until you internalize them as your own.
    Every Day is CONCERT Day.
    The ability to perform on CONCERT day is the product of weeks and months of mentally draining practice.
    Include CONCERT-day intensity as a mental practice.
    Good mental habits in practice include concentration, composure, confidence, and decision making.

    Block the Pressure
    The only pressure of competition is self-imposed fear.
    Remain in the here-and-now. Ignore the emotional baggage of CLAMS, pitch counts.
    Focus your breathing, vision, muscle memory.
    Don't change from what has worked so well in practice.
    Execute your mechanics the same way as always.
    Block out the crowd, the trash talk, your own internal dialogue, and even your own bandmates if they talk too much.

    Do it right and you've moved into the........

    .....Sound of Silence.

    In the Silence......

    The mind goes quiet, everything is in slow motion.
    No self-talk, no reviewing mechanics, no performance instructions, no chatter.
    The mind becomes still and silent.
    You want your senses in a heightened state of awareness - don't break this state with internal dialogue.
    Read and react - without conscious thought.
    It's the instant of peak performance.

    Y O U ' R E I N T H E Z O N E ! ! !
  17. Tobin

    Tobin Member

    As we all know, nerves are an extremely difficult thing to overcome, and everyone has their own way of 'coping' with them. A few people have mentioned that "what is the worse that can happen if it goes wrong". I agree that no one will be flogged!! for splitting a note, but speaking from experience, its the thought of not only letting yourself down, but the rest of the band also. :(

    Over recent years, i have miraculously discovered that practice makes a huge difference (improvement) to on stage nerves!!! If you look at all the top solists, Marsalis, Bousfield, Murphy, webster etc etc. they look so relaxed and at ease when performing, no matter how difficult the part. This is not because they are extremely calm characters, it is because hours (of good practice) have been put in before the performance stage, thus removing the element of doubt (nerves).

    The other main advice (provided by Eddy Severn - Trumpet), is to be positive, try to avoiding thinking about it!! Just let it happen. From experience, whether it be practising or on stage with the band, i know this approach works. If one thinks about the difficulty before your entry (which i always do) - for exapmle "will i get this top C", the chances are it will be missed (again which i always do!), there is doubt in the mind. If one is positive the chances are it will be played. Great players don't even think about it, it just happens, and after it they say "i got that top C!" But once again, it's all down to excellent preperation.

    PS. Completely unrelated to nerves - Eddy Severn (during a lesson) took my soprano of me (and said try bass guitar - joke!!!!), started on a top C and went up to a super C - how impressive is that!!!
  18. Emb_Enh

    Emb_Enh Member

    Over recent years, i have miraculously discovered that practice makes a huge difference (improvement) to on stage nerves!!! This is not because they are extremely calm characters, it is because hours (of good practice) have been put in before the performance stage, thus removing the element of doubt (nerves). The other main advice (provided by Eddie Severn - Trumpet), is to be positive, try to avoiding thinking about it!! Just let it happen.
    PS. Completely unrelated to nerves - Eddy Severn (during a lesson) took my soprano of me (and said try bass guitar - joke!!!!), started on a top C and went up to a super C - how impressive is that!!!


    Good advice mr.Tobin! --VERY impressive!! - Eddie is a GREAT teacher -get around to him for as many lessons as you can!!
  19. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    I usually get nervous when doing solo's in contests, or in auditions. But when doing solo's in front of audiences, I always seem to cope well. I just know that if I enjoy myself then hopefully they will to.

    Knowing your part inside out will enable you to remove your nerves by a humungous amount, as you can say to yourself "I've played this, and I know that I can do it."

    It's the method of making sure that you know in your head that you can do something, as if you in anyway doubt your abilities then your mind will pounce on it and it will obviously go wrong.

    Concentrate on having fun, and knowing you part and everyone is bound to succeed. Confidence for me is the key to success.
  20. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    South London
    Couple of pints of guiness and a whisky chaser?

    I don't really feel nervous once I'm out on stage. I just sit there and play. It's only at the end when I stand up and realise there's an audience there! Sort of a "oo, hello there!" moment! It's only the bit just before we go out when everyone's talking about what they might mess up and I think "Well if this lot are going to play that bad, what the hell am I supposed to do???" that makes me slightly nervous!
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