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I've stopped practicing, just when I need to work hard.

practice ensemble nerves

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#16 Guest: VH2_*

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 15:21

Perhaps the truth of the matter is closer to what Polkadot says - there is the element of flight, fright or freeze going on to.  If I'm totally honest, I'm frightened, no terrified.  This opportunity is what I've wanted for years.  It took me a long time to get to a place where I could even consider I might take lessons and finding an ensemble to play with is a dream, and happy as I am, I'm so scared that I won't be able to do it.  Logical me knows it will be fine and the conductor has said she can re-write the parts to make them easier and so on, but emotional me, the one who wants this so much, is still the child who got thrown out of instrument lessons.  I know, I know, it's stupid, but there you are.  Maybe I just needed to admit that.


Yes, it is so much easier to stay in your comfort zone, but then you do not grow.


Whenever I get stressed about a coming performance I ask a) what is the worst that can happen and b) who really cares.


a) Total freeze, really bad playing


b) my wife? ... I am divorced  :(

my daughter? ... she is on the other side of the planet

my brothers? ... they are too wrapped up in their own things

my mother? ... she is too stressed by the increasing infirmities of old age to pay much attention

my dog? ... she died a few years ago


the audience? ... they'll soon forget, in fact they might even have enjoyed it!!



Anyway, as your logical brain already knows, the more you face your fears the more you emotional brain will learn to cope with the new experiences.

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#17 BadStrad



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Posted 20 April 2014 - 17:22

Oddly - performance nerves isn't really an issue.  The experience of trying to get thirty thirteen year olds interested in physics on a Friday afternoon and sometimes failing, but often succeeding (to some extent) probably helped with that one.


I think I needed to admit what I was scared of, to be able to see it written down, external to me, so I could consider it as something separate from me.  Of course the responses here,  and me just getting over myself a bit have also helped.  What ever it was - today I practiced.  I decided to just play a few scales and then call it a day, no pressure.  After they went surprisingly well I got a bit more confidence back and carried on. 


I am back on the horse!  As usual, having the kind responses of other forumites helped to clean the fuzz out of my head.  Thanks all!


But any other suggestions are welcome - for next time I'm having a wobble, or for anyone else out there feeling the same thing.

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#18 ChristopherO


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Posted 22 April 2014 - 08:11

BadStrad, thank you so much for this thread.

You may have read that I have found my long sought band - and I am struggling to put in proper sound practice.The thrill of having found the opportunity and the fear of mot performing, can overwhelm.


The advice you have received here also helps me and I pray that practice with the my band will come good and those repititious tricky bars will start to mean something.


Not knowing about your ensemble I can only say that whilst I am well short of the expected minimum grade for the band everyone is helpful and I think I will survive - and hopefully feel like a good member.


Thanks also to sbhoa's wisdom, especially "most stuff will sort itself out during rehearsal and some will only sort itself out in rehearsal because it's getting the context that is the problem"

And Polkadot - "one of the pieces my band is rehearsing very difficult, as do my clarinet partners : We still can't play it at the speed required".
Until today I thought that this was only my problem.


And Badstrad, you say - the joy of playing just the first note of each bar - that was once mentioned to me and I treated it as a joke and not something to actually do; now where I have a fast bar of triplets I will think about simplifying by playing the first note of each triplet? Especially as i am just second clarinet so could slip into a bit of anonimity!


My thoughts are with you Badstrad and the hope that the feeling of achievement with the ensemble with make the practice more enjoyable.

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#19 RoseRodent



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Posted 22 April 2014 - 08:51

I can most certainly relate to this, and had been somewhat nervous of saying so, as it seems to be expected that when you reach a certain level you will never again have motivation problems with practising. But I find that as the performance looms around the corner, far from this motivating me to work harder and settle those final issues, I start to feel fatalistic about the whole thing. It sometimes OK and it's sometime not, and what will be will be on the day. I start to feel that I am not in control of the issues any more, that I am out of time, that there is nothing I can possibly achieve in so short a time anyway, that I shouldn't muck about with a program that is pretty secure in order to try to get a little more expression out of it and risk the whole thing coming down in flames. So just when I need to be working my hardest and my best, I walk away.


I have to work really hard to feel that I do still have details that I can work out at this stage, and am somewhat forcing myself to go over the bits where I feel I want more security, as there is cleary something that can be done, otherwise practice of all forms would be fruitless. I am achieving things, but still tend to feel that the best thing to do in the week before a big performance is run away! So I'm going to go and practise that 7th position leap again, just because it would be ridiculous not to, no matter how much my gut feeling tells me that preparation time is already over. 

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