View Full Version : Nervous = No superior

01-17-2005, 04:46 AM
In 2 weeks im going to be performing in a solo/ensemble competition in Arizona. I'm playing "Concerto in D Major" From a "Well tempered Clavier" by Bach. I practice, but whenever I play with my quartet, (ps- we're going proffessional and I've started another post in the "Getting started" Forum...so if you could help me with my questions there that would be very well appreciated.) I can't help but get extremely nervous, and I mess up. Well, im scared I won't be able to shake it by the time of the comes competition, and im going to end up letting my group down and not get a superior. Does anyone have any advice on how to help me get rid of this horrible habit?

01-17-2005, 05:21 AM
Gotta play in front of people. Start with your dog or girlfriend, then parents, and so on. It takes time, you'd better start today! :)

01-17-2005, 05:26 AM
Bizarros advice is right on, the only way to get rid of it is to play infront of people as much as you can, you can also practice over and over again till playin becomes automatic, still you might mess up. Stage fright is as much a part of playing as are sore fingers :D

01-17-2005, 10:47 AM
I have told this story before ( yaaawwwnn ) but I guess itīd make sense to tell it once more... itīs similar to the advice by Bizarro and Koala.
When I started out, I learned a lot of tunes. Back then, my best friend Patrick would come over once or twice a week, and everytime heīd come over, Iīd play the new stuff I had learned... songs, etudes, exercises etc.
I donīt know where he got the patience to listen to all that ( or the nerve to come over anyway after a while ), but it helped me a lot. Even though he was a good friend, he was "audience", and it helped me a lot to play for him.
Later, when I had my first show, I sure still was quite nervous, but somehow I think it was way easier than it would have been if I hadnt had Patrick listening to my progress every week...
So get used to playing for people. Mick Goodrick once said "Even if only ONE person is listening to you, you already play radically different"...
Good luck

01-17-2005, 11:59 AM
A bit off the point but I read an interview with Slash recently where he said he practices at really low volumes because he hates people hearing him practice !

But more usefully the "Inner Game of Music" book by Barry Green has some interesting insights. To be honest there are a couple of central ideas re-worked in different ways - but if one of them works, who cares! Central to it is conquering the inner voice that provides a running commentary in the negative. Even in a short time scale just the first chapters gives some good ideas about recognising and turning off that "voice of doom" and recoginising tension and "over trying".

01-17-2005, 12:11 PM
yep ashc,
fabulous book.. i can recommend it as well.

01-17-2005, 01:07 PM
Sven, actually you did recommend it.. thats how I found it :D :D

Even since I've been fighting my inner voice e.g. "you are rubbish make a mistake now on the 4th repeat of 4, it'll really p*ss you off"

01-17-2005, 01:24 PM
Sven, actually you did recommend it.. thats how I found it

ah, alright :D.
do you think it helped? did you read it once, or do you still look for stuff in it sometimes?

01-17-2005, 01:35 PM
So far I read it once, straight through without really doing the structured exercises. For me most of the tools and ideas were in the first 30 or 40 pages.

I reached the point that I recognise when I'm doing that "negative commentary" thing and can sometimes fight it off - but it's a difficult one to beat, but it does help to recognise it for what it is.

It helped with recognising tension, like if your grip feels like 5 out of 10, first try an 8 and see what that feels like then try to relax to a 2 or 3 etc. I still tense up when I try to go to my limit but I recognise it now and I can work on it.

Trying to be aware of "trying too hard" helps too.

When you have all 3 of the above going on it's highly counter productive.

I will dig back into the book for new ideas over time as this stuff does seem to make a difference but you can't get instant, lasting results. Partly I think I'm "over aware" as in my '30s I'm not in the same mode of "go for it, what the hell" that I had when I was a teenager.

01-17-2005, 01:49 PM
i know what you mean...

i don't think that someone is able to read it and do all the things recommended instantly.
but that is not really necesary as well i guess.
if that "grip-level-thing" helps your fretting hand, then the book was worth the buy. it probably helps more than tons of other exercises.
just being aware of what happens is so valuable i think - and so many people just play and wonder why they suck... if you have "the awareness" you still suck, but you know why! lol...:D
it can save you so much time cause it really tells you on what to concentrate, and especially in these times where so much info is available through the net it's easy to get confused.
i also liked the improvisation and visualisation stuff he wrote about.
all in all a very valuable book i'd say that can save you a lot of time and that can even things out if you are stuck somehow. may it be inspirational or techniqual - it really gives you ways to straighten out bumps, fears and mistakes you do over and over again without noticing.

01-17-2005, 01:59 PM
Yes, it has helped me to always think: "if it's wrong, why is it wrong?" Sometimes it takes a while to get to that question and other times I can't find the answer, but awareness is the key.

Los Boleros
01-17-2005, 04:41 PM
I believe that being nervous in front of people is an issue that arrises also from familiarity with what you are doing. Yes practice as much as you can if front of anybody but practice even when there is nobody. I believe that when we perform, we should be operating at about 20 % of our total skill level for it to sound awesome and for the confidence to be there. The only way to achieve that is practice , practice , practice. I don't know if this song you are going to perform is easy for you but if it isn't, you should be working toward that first.