Nervous when playing

Nervous when playing

Nervous when playing    21:17 on Sunday, June 12, 2011          

(2 points)
Posted by GospelJohn

Ok, well i know everyone gets nervous. i've been playing 6years and the only time i HAVE NOT been nervous was in the pit orchestra. I had to skip a year of jazz band when i moved last year, but for this up coming year i'm lead trumpet. I am(not in a bragging way) the best jazz trumpet player my school has seen in a while according to my director. And he is an honest person, he'll tell you if you suck or not. ha. but to the point, I get nervous when playing, no problem, until i play high. for some reason i go from an F above the staff when practicing to an A during a show. It worries me because for jazz band next year we are playing the original "MacArthur Park" (as played by Maynard Ferguson)and i need to play those solos perfectly. haha. what would be the best way to calm myself? I had one person tell me about medication for my nerves and all, good or bad idea?

P.S. i also had a spinal fusion for scoliosis a year ago. That effected my confidence in playing once last year started up. This is an issue with nervousness, not confidence

Re: Nervous when playing    05:01 on Monday, June 13, 2011          

(923 points)
Posted by hegyhati

I don't know wether it helps or not, but there has already been several forums discussing similar questions. Just to mention a few:
All the best!

Re: Nervous when playing    06:54 on Sunday, August 28, 2011          

(503 points)
Posted by Branson

Your comment "I have to play it perfectly" is an indication that you are putting too much pressure on yourself. Few of us can play anything perfectly.

Re: Nervous when playing    14:10 on Sunday, August 28, 2011          

(66 points)
Posted by reedy

I know how you feel mate, I always played in a band situation, brass, wind jazz, big bands etc and was happy to play anything in them not a problem, put me in a solos position and I got really nervous, got hot and shaky, not good.....

I tried so hard to get over this, and went into performances confident and happy but after a few mistakes I fell apart, and this happend for round 6 months I was like that and then I started soloing more, doing more solo work, I joined a big ska band and started gigging and although I was playing solos I was happy to do so and the more I did the more confident I got. Played three recitals this year, one in October which I got really nervous about and got through it but notes cracked and missed, shaky tone, looked really bad on stage etc. could have been due to a brand new trumpet 2 weeks before.... then I started playing all these gigs with more and more bands etc, my second recital I played fine, wasent nervous although got a little half way through when I got lost in a improv solo.... but got through it and was really pleased that I diddnt get nervous and I did alright

now because I failed my 1st recital I had to redo it last week, only infront of the head of music and was very informal, but I played confidently and was really happy with my new mouthpiece sound.

my advice would be to relax, plant your feet on the floor, stand tall with broad but relaxed shoulders, practice this with lots of long notes in practice.

when you go to your performance just take your time, relax, plant your feet and enjoy it! and do it as often as you can! play as many solos as you can!

As long as youve got good technique and practice the right things you can transform your playing in a few months!

just remember you play to your full potential by yourself, 90% in a practice room with maybe someone around who can hear you and 80% on stage, so you need to practice at least 20% more!

Re: Nervous when playing    19:41 on Sunday, August 28, 2011          

(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

Reedy says something but forgets to expand on it.

Remember that you are probably playing because you like to. And the audience is listening because they like to. BOth you and the audience are there to enjoy a musical experience. The logic there is to just do your best and if your make a mistake, no big deal, just do it musically.

Since you get nervous put yourself in nervous situations. If you are living at home with family then try to play for your family once a week. Wether it is solos or etudes (personally I like taking etudes and trying to make them sound like little solos). Once every other week or once a month invite neighbors or friends over and do a little concert for them. If you are in a church see if you can play every third month (or more) for the offering. Put yourself in solo situations; make them happen (family, friends, groups, etc).

WHAT IS WORSE? - (I learned this from a professional in Norway)
Find out what the worse thing is about your nervousness. Is it the shaking, the dry mouth, sweaty palms that make your instrument slip? When you find out which it is make yourself play in that condition.
Example - let's ssy you start shaking when you play. What you can do is set up your music and instrument ready to play. Then go outside and run around the block, come directly inside and play your solo while you're huffing and puffing. when you calm down, go outside and run again and come back in and play. This will get your body used to playing while the adrenaline is rushing. Then when it happens on stage you know you can play that way.
-dry mouth? stick saltine crackers in your mouth. get it dry, empty the crackers out and play with a dry mouth.

I think the best thing is forcing yourself to play in front of others starting with the people in your house.Then expanding that and learning, and remembering, that everyone is there for postive experience. Everyone is there supporting you and you are sharing a gift with them. They will always enjoy your playing.

Re: Nervous when playing    14:47 on Wednesday, August 31, 2011          

(503 points)
Posted by Branson

You might find these posts helpful…

Re: Nervous when playing    19:29 on Wednesday, August 31, 2011          

(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

I like and agree with Branson's posts. Except for the first post, 2nd paragraph, sentence two and three.These two statements are incorrect - everything else is absolutely correct.


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