Stage Fright

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Jasonp, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. Jasonp

    Jasonp Member

    I'm reading a lot about psychology in music performance and ways to deal with problems like stage fright.

    Have any of you suffered from servere stage fright, and how, if at all, have you dealt with it?
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    What texts/references are you using?
  3. stotty74

    stotty74 Member

    I've not personally had stage fright, but i remember about 15 years ago going on stage for the MFY Finals at the Royal Festival Hall in London, and my friend was extremely nervous before we went on. Anyway the band all got on stage and sat down, but my friend was soooo scared, he just stood there and couldn't actually sit down!! We had to persuade him to sit and then he sat through the whole performance and didn't play a single note!! As soon as we got off stage he was perfectly fine, except for the feeling that he'd let everyone down.
  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  5. sheilawinter

    sheilawinter Member

    All i do is try to picture myself in the bandroom
    I do nothing different on stage to what i do in the bandroom
    if i breathe in a particular place i make sure i breathe in that place and it seems to settle the nerves
    But i found a tip helped me once of calming the nerves was to wet my finger and wipe behind my ear and it gives you a cooling sensationto calm you down give it a try it did work for me on a couple of occasions


    I have never suffered from stage fright. don t give a dam, I m too good.
  7. Daisy Duck

    Daisy Duck Member

    Confidence is a big part of stage fright. If you've prepared well and you believe in yourself, you'll be fine.

    I don't get nervous really, but I find it difficult playing in halls with different acoustics - can sometimes feel like I'm sight reading a piece because it sounds so different.
  8. cookie2

    cookie2 Member

    I have suffered from stage fright since fainting on a contest stage at the age of about 15. It wasn't related to to nerves but was the start of a bit of a mental block for me.

    While I was doing my degree course I regularly fainted during recitals. I'd get very breathless and my heart rate would go through the roof, then things would gradually turn black. The strange thing was that once it had happened I was able to go back on and perform without any problems! :-? It was suggested that I was standing to stiffly and locking my knees, therefore restricting the blood flow. Whatever it was, I got through my final recital with a chair and a prescription for diazepan (sp?) which was perhaps a little extreme.

    I wish I'd had access to more information on the psychology of stage fright, as I'm sure it would have helped enormously. I also wish someone had told me about rescue remedy, which I use nowadays.

    I've also found that when playing solos it helps to learn them by heart rather than having the music in front of me. I don't know why this is but I was persuaded to give it a go and it worked :) I think it's because I concentrate more on remembering the music than on the people watching me, and it allows me to go with the flow a bit more.

    I reckon nerves are a good thing, they keep you on your toes, but stage fright can be pretty debilitating, and it's interesting to read about other people's techniques for getting over it.
  9. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    I am sure that there are some physiological elements of stage fright, but personally I feel the main aspects of dealing with this are those of self-confidence and self belief - regardless of if someone has musical stage fright, needs to prepare for important business presentations, sales pitches, or for examinations et al - I believe are all are related to those important elements.

    If one has confidence in ones abilities, the self belief to know you can do it - then I feel this helps enormously. Don't just know what you know... know what you don't know :)
  10. hvb_shizzle

    hvb_shizzle Member

    But psychology affects the confidence the performer has. I personally suffer with nerves and i find a steady breathing rythem which lowers the heart rate and the herbal rescue remedy are the only things that work for me
  11. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Hi Sarah

    I agree, and this could turn into a great debate.

    What I would ask here is... what aspect of psychology is causing the affect to the performance and why is this so...? If there's a psychological issue, is this because of a lack of confidence, or no self belief in ones ability, or is something else causing the anxiety. I agree, you will never usually get rid of all nerves, but what I said above ought to help most people I'd have thought.
  12. cookie2

    cookie2 Member

    I have absolutely no experience in psychology whatsoever, but from my own point of view I think self belief does play a huge part. However, it's not necessarily belief in one's ability to play the music, present the pitch, answer the questions etc, it's belief in your ability to cope with the situation.

    I knew that I could play the music, I'd spent hours practicing to get it spot on, I just didn't believe I could get through the performance without fainting, I assume that's why once I had I was able to carry on.

    How many bands know the feeling of being able to play a test piece really well in the bandroom only to muck it up on the stage because "We never do well at contests"?

    Now that I have strategies (and potions!) I can rely on, I haven't done it, and the more times you're sucessful the easier it is to control <goes to find something wooden to touch> :-?
  13. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    I expect you have read "the inner game of music" by Barry Green?

    I have worked with people with performance anxiety and without wishing to generalize they do seem to be highly intelligent, sensitive and quite highly strung individuals, very often there will be an incident back in childhood which damaged confidence (often minor but not seen from the child`s perspective).
    Many of the top players use Beta blockers.
    One tip from Black Dyke`s lovely flugal player is no caffine on the day of contest/concert which works for me.:)
  14. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    I once did a theatre gig (in Norwich) with a 4 piece band and 2 of the group (new boys) got terrible stage fright when the curtains opened and dried up for the first 2 numbers in the set! I wasn't nervous until I realised I was now performing a duet! Got through the show ok but had to bin the undies
  15. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    I've known some very good players who got the shakes on the contest stage. I think there is the underlying fear that something could go wrong which would embarrass you and let the band down. I do believe that preparation gives you confidence and that you can use the adrenalin to help your performance. The once I really messed up on the contest stage was in a piece where the trom solo in the test piece was right on the edge of my ability, and I allowed myself the possibility that it might go wrong - it did.
    The only other musical situations where I've been really nervous were piano exams - but I do play like I've got 3 thumbs on each hand!

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