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Discussion in 'Ask Patrick Neher [Archive]' started by ThumpPlunkJunk, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. What do you find are the best ways to control nerves?

    I recently auditioned for district orchestra and my scales were one step above "crash and burn", by my own judgement (the judges gave me some decent scores, but I wasn't happy with it at all).

    I realized that it came down to this: I was nervous, I had the jitters and I couldn't shake them throughout my scales. Throughout my solo and sightreading, it got better, but there was always that block between me and the music--like a sort of haze of nervousness that steps in between you and everything you've worked for for months prior. Do you have any tips about getting rid of this? Or some way to make the effects lesser?

    I've heard bananas help. :p


  2. Lee H

    Lee H

    Nov 30, 2011
    Redding CA
    smoke one... just kidding

    I find splitting wood helps me blow off steam. I think it is just the physical exertion involved
  3. Anon2962


    Aug 4, 2004
    I find practicing playing while nervous is the best way. Play in front of whoever'll listen, even if it's just down the phone or over skype. Record (preferably video) these performances. Then, when you look back you'll see the reality of what you were playing - often what feels like a catastrophe is in fact just one or two fluffed notes. Sometimes what felt pretty great had some fundamental flaws of rhythm, intonation, etc.

    I'm be interested to hear what Patrick has to say on this.
  4. PNeher


    Mar 31, 2005
    Bellingham, WA
    Hi all,
    Some good comments by others here. I too chop wood to blow off steam (and to warm-up!). Bananas are helpful. So is a meal of high carbs right before playing (for some of us ... this is what I do: salmon, pasta. No green beans (too gaseous)). Some like Ibuprofen to hep calm nerves. Some use Beta-Blockers (I strongly advise against this). Some do alcohol (again, don't do it!). Some do coffee (No! Not unless you rehearse this way). So... you must get used to the situation: video, mirrors, recording -- all help get you used to it. Play infront of peers, absolutely! BUT THE MAIN THING, is to be Well Rehearsed and Confident that you will do as you expect to do. If you lower your expectations, that is one way, but really be prepared is the best way.
    Hope this helps (I will write more when I have time....)


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