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Staying Relaxed

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Minibass, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. I've been having this problem for a couple years. When ever I play for someone, like an audition or just for family (sometimes even at my lessons), I just can't play relaxed. I always start shaking and stuff like that. I try not to worry about technical stuff when I perform, but then I mess up somewhere, and my whole performance is thrown off. I know that I can play the pieces and have had many very successful auditions, but I still freak out whenever I play for someone.

    Now I have college auditions and a chance for the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra principal chair. I was hoping anyone knows of some good ways to calm down for these things.
  2. Machina


    Aug 1, 2005
    Get the book the Inner Game of Music by Bary Green.
    Many techniques and answers to your problem can be found in this book.
  3. Yes, yes, beta blockers is what you need!!! It will fix all your problems!

    (Running and hiding).

    No, seriously, experience will certainly help. But what did it for me, was a lot of mental training. I´m sure the barry green book will do.
  4. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    The first thing I would do is to forget about wanting to win the audition. Practice the list only for the love of music. On the audition day you're just going in to play your bass and leave. Nothing more, nothing less. With that mindset there is nothing to be nervous about.
  5. BMason


    Oct 1, 2006
    Houston, TX
    Breathe deeply for a few minutes prior and realize that the panel is there to hear a great audition, not to critique a bad one. Also remember that, when in an audition, your body language is a presentation of yourself. They can tell if you're nervous. If you let yourself go, play for the love of the music, and give off positive vibes, you'll be in good shape. Yo-Yo Ma claims that over half of a great performance owes itself to the visible emotion the player exerted while playing. If you present yourself as a positive, excited, dedicated person, the panel will want to see you again.
  6. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I know the feeling well. I've had it pretty much all my life from child to adult whenever I would play any recital or do any performance or audition.

    The best I've done is to accept that it's part of the public me and rationalize that I really care about doing a good job and caring about what others think...wanting them to like it and just feel good being there.

    It doesn't make me less nervous, it's just about recognizing and accepting my part in the music-making experience. I love music and performing it anywhere under any circumstances is worth it to me in the long run even when I'm scared.
  7. My teacher tells me the crazy things she does to prepare for an audition. What she likes to do, is run a mile before practicing, or run up and down stairs really fast so that she's sweating and her heart is pumping fast so that way she can put herself in the mode she will be in when she is ready to audition and she does that a few times and then when she plays the piece well while her adreniline was pumping she says the audition feels easier. I've never tried it, but I don't usually get too nervous at auditions, just sometimes get nervous the waiting period before an audition.

    Also just play for anyone that you can get. Play for your friends, play for your parents, play for strangers, play for your pets. Even have them critique you everything helps.
  8. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    You know - I used to get hellishly nervous before performing. After the first few times playing in front of others, I slowly started to anticipate the adrenaline rush - then look forward to it.

    I really don't get nervous at all anymore. I actually really miss it, and to be honest I don't really think it will ever happen again until I'm playing for 1000+ crowds, if at all.
  9. Before playing auditions or high-stress performances spend a few minutes breathing deeply; it is more calming then some might think! Remember that you are there because you love the instrument and the music, and your purpose is to express that love through your playing. Once it gets down to it, it's just you and your bass, just like it is in the practice room.

    I'm also an advocate of just starting with open strings with long sustained bow strokes. When you are warming up for an audition, it's not the time to work on your audition piece/excerpts. All the work that will count you will have already done in the practice room for the last few weeks/months. It helps to just take it back a step and go through the basics like long bows and string crossings. After all, that's what the music is based on!

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