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 Dealing with stress 
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Post Dealing with stress
Hey guys, Andy Salvanos Just posted this video on Facebook. I strongly urge everyone to see it: so much has been said about train wrecks and the stress of being solo on stage with a stick but this guy really explains it well and gives a few ways to deal with it. For me it made perfect sense. That and the importance of always have your mind working one bar ahead of what your playing... or as he would say it, visual memory. ;)
Again, thanks to Andy for sharing it.
https://youtu.be/1ZmMa3YHKts



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Last edited by bachdois on Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:58 am
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Post Re: Dealing with stress
Great stuff, thanks for posting! Right up my alley! After a 5-6 year hiatus my debut was the WORST choke of my life! NOT COOL. :)


Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:42 am
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Post Re: Dealing with stress
Looking forward to watching this

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Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:15 pm
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Post Re: Dealing with stress
Very interesting. I wonder how many musicians relate to this way of playing?


Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:47 pm
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Post Re: Dealing with stress
After watching the video I had to raise my hand. I was guilty of two things from his "hit list".

1. I changed my arrangement about 4 days before even though I had gone thru the piece about 30 or so times, definitely not enough to commit to "under pressure" memory. (My experience has always been in a jam you'll always revert to the "most" used method).

2. I was sitting on my computer desk so everyone at the party could see me better but it was something I had NEVER done in practicing, just wasn't thinking clearly.

So these 2 items alone should never have happened.


Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:14 am
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Post Re: Dealing with stress
Great video. I'm going to work on my visual memory. I agree when your muscle memory goes you are lost not knowing what comes next. One gig I had I could not remember the opening chords prior to performing. Terrifying then I calmed down and it came back. Inner Game Of Music recommended by Steve Adelson. Great book.

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Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:13 pm
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Post Dealing with stress
This fella gives an amazing lesson, packed with precious information. He nails it from the beginning to the end! As you say, Rodrigo, a must watch for any performer.


Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:26 pm
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Post Re: Dealing with stress
That's a very helpful video. His advice about not doing focused practice right before a performance reminded me of one of my worst experiences on stage - it was an important gig with lots of attentive people and I decided I would intensely practice of some difficult sections a couple hours before the show. As a result I messed up my muscle memory for those parts and my mind was focused on different details than normal, and I screwed up every one (focusing on my left hand when normally it would be the right, etc).

This experience taught me to be more confident in muscle memory, particularly when losing concentration - rather than intensely starting to analyze and freak out about what my fingers are doing when a difficult bit comes up, I try to "back off" my intense focus and shift my attention to something more general, like overall feel or tempo. His advice to visualize what comes next is a great way to keep your mind productive (as opposed to self-critical) during a performance.

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Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:48 am
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Post Re: Dealing with stress
Let's face it, we generally spend much more time working on music than on performing. You might nail the tunes at home, only to have your conscious, critical self suddenly appear an hour before you go on stage. "Why would anyone want to hear this?", asks the voice in your head. "These people know good music, and they'll notice every little flaw", it assures you.
"Why isn't your left hand moving properly?". "Can you see them looking at you?".
The feeling of impending doom spreads, as asshole-self reminds you of that one time everything fell apart at the first chorus, because you were shaking like a palm tree in a cyclone.

How do you deal with it? Here are some thoughts.
- Try to "visualise" the whole performance. Make a set list. If you're going to talk, decide what you're going to say and when you're going to say it. Not word-for-word, unless you're playing to robots though. If I'm doing a festival spot or any feature performance, I run through the whole set to a "pretend" audience. What I've found in doing thIs is that the music becomes almost incidental. You will be thinking about the pacing of the set list rather than individual pieces or sections, whether or not your joke between song 3 and 4 is funny etc. Why? Because presumably, you have already got the music down as good as it's going to get. Unless you're 3 months out from the gig.
- Nerves are almost always worst at the start of a gig. I always begin with something I can play well and with confidence, in my sleep and with my fingers glued together if need be. They say that audiences only remember the first and last song, but actually they only remember the last one. Don't help them remember the first one for the wrong reasons. Go for simple, and play it well.
- Develop a pre-gig routine and stick to it. Top sports people have routines for everything, to the point of OCD. The routine takes your mind off external interferences and thoughts about "how does the bridge section in song 2 go again?". I use a breathing technique of "inhale for X counts, and exhale for the same amount of counts x2". This mimics your breathing pattern while falling alsleep. Try inhaling for 3 counts and exhaling for 6. Do it for at least 5 minutes maybe 15-20 minutes before you get on stage. Once you're on stage plugging in cables and wondering why the low C string is now tuned to B, it's all too late. Breathing won't get rid of nerves, but it will put your body in a more relaxed state, even if your brain is screaming to run off and hide.
- Let the audience know you're human. I recently heard a great artist start his introduction with "hey I'm feeling a bit nervous today". The people out there know that they would be crapping themselves up on stage. They can relate. There's no such thing as a "flawless" human performance. Give them your best, but don't be aftaid to smile if you hit a bum note. Wear your heart on your sleeve.

This is a constant learning process, but one that is worth pursuing. We're all in this together; musicians and listeners. Coming off the stage at a gig where everything just "clicked" is one of the most rewarding experiences in music.

Cheers,
Andy

PS. I recently used a little trick to reinforce positive thinking before some important gigs. I made a shortlist of people and events whose impact has been extremely beneficial, and kept this list with me during the gigs. Anytime I felt doubt creeping in, I'd look at it and remember these positive moments.

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Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:34 pm
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