I love music, and play instruments with great love and some expertise. But when I have a recital, the music seems to go right out of my head. It can actually disappear from my mind. There must be some way to conquer this fear. I would love to share my music with others, but right now, I cannot. Help!
asked 10 Dec '09, 23:14
Do you get lost in the music when you play? Is that when you perform your best? That's what you also have to do when you're on stage.
Imagine yourself on the stage with your instrument. Momentarily feel that surge of anticipation and excitement going in front of all of those people. Now imagine your mind becoming very calm. Imagine yourself entering that state where the music just flows naturally and freely from your mind to your instrument. Then, begin to play.
Keep practicing this way in your mind several times. Make sure that you vividly imagine the crowd while you are playing; at the same time, vividly imagine playing your instrument well and delighting the crowd.
Once you can consistently play effectively and joyously in front of a crowd in your mind in this way, you will also be able to do it in front of a "real" crowd. And it will feel better than you ever imagined.
I found out for me the best way is to not care if they like me or not, but just enjoy the moment myself. If I mess up, and look at the crowd, that is when thoughts start of, "oh no I messed that part up! That sounded bad and they noticed!" As I think on these thoughts, I mess up more. I have to come to a place where I feel "I am not here for your entertainment!" You can stay or leave for all I care, I am here to enjoy this. When I can get to that "super ego" state of not giving a care what anyone thinks, all worries disappear. Now it is in this moment I can play my very best! I have no fear of judgment of, "what do they think?", because I don't care what they think.
Now here is the hard part, the more they clap for me, the more that can pull me into, "wow they like me", then I start to worry about not pleasing them again! I have to almost force myself into "so they like me, I am not here for that, I could care less." Then I can keep blowing everyone away with my playing without any nervousness because it doesn't matter if they like me or not.
The other thing is appreciation goes both ways, so as I say thank you and do mean it, I need to keep in that nothing matters mind or I'll start messing up trying to please them. In other words I stop owning myself and start letting them own me! I need to keep owning myself, almost with an attitude of, "what do I look like, your court-jester here!"
Think of the Fonz on the television show "Happy Days", no one owned him, he didn't try to please anyone to like him, he just was himself of himself. Now Richie was completely the opposite always trying to please everyone to like him, and wondering why he couldn't. The Fonz clearly owned himself, Richie on the other hand was owned by everyone.
Richie's friends would ask him to do this, that, and the other thing and Richie always agreed. The Fonz on the other hand would reply with something like "I will if I feel like it", or, "we'll see if I have time."
This is about self worth, are you worth more than those that may judge you? If you say no, then their opinions count more than your own of yourself! We need to be in that yes position, that their opinions count less, far less, than our own opinions! Here in this self worth spot we play our very best and are highly appreciated.
No matter who we play for, even a king or queen, if I say, "Ohhhhh wow I am playing for the king today I have to be absolutely perfect for him!" You will sound lousy with all this worry. But if I treat it like Forest Gump, (just an event) "oh yeah I need to play for the king today and maybe later I'll play for some friends", it is like playing any other time, and all nerves go away.
I played clarinet all through middle school, high school and the university, everything from concert bands, marching bands, and small ensembles like wind-ensembles and chamber orchestra groups. I sometimes even performed solos. I still perform from time to time in with a classical group. This makes me no expert, for sure, but when I am nervous, I pretend I am just practicing. Otherwise, I do get overwhelmed by the heat, lights, voices in the auditorium---just knowing many people are watching. If I allow the feeling to continue my hands will shake and I will lose skill and become upset. The pretending I am alone or with the group in rehearsal really helps. I got better with the pretending as time went along and now usually feel quite poised.
answered 10 Dec '09, 23:41
I am a flutist and I help myself with visualisation. I have regular concerts/competitions so I am forced to play in front of the public. A fortnight before the event I start to visualise in alpha state how I play nice, people like my playing, and then I receive a great applause and many good critics. I do this then every day till the big day. I can then easily express myself with my playing. I know a conducter of a choir that uses EFT for the stage fright before concerts, he says that it helps him. Try it, you can learn it for free. Check on the internet. Also NLP has some technique, where you make a black and white film where you are watching yourself sitting in a concert room or cinema and watching yourself on the screen how you perform your task (play an instrument). Then when you come to the end of the film you jump into the movie, into you (your character) and rewind the movie backwards in colours. This is just in short for illustration :) Just pick one of the NLP books and explore it, this method is used to cure all kinds of fears/fobias.
answered 11 Dec '09, 12:35
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