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por medio

 

Posts: 289
Joined: Nov. 15 2009
 

Mindtalk 

I have some issues mind-talk. Not before the gig / performance but DURING the playing. It ranges from something mundane like "oh I hope that i get the next passage right" to something a little more philosophical "Why am I doing this? I'm not really enjoying this pressure".

Last night was one of the worst, good thing is that my actual playing doesn't usually get affected and I played quite well. However it has been making the gigging a quite a bit less enjoyable.

How do you guys deal with this? I don't have this problem when I'm playing in group/dancers/singers even with just palmas since I can focus on them. But it's quite noticeable only when I'm doing solos, especially slow stuff. To some degree it seems to me that I haven't quite hit the right zone between too much relaxation and too much concentration (i.e. tension).

Thanks for your input guys.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 8 2015 18:52:18
 
Dudnote

Posts: 1796
Joined: Nov. 13 2007
 

RE: Mindtalk (in reply to por medio

Interesting question. When I'm playing alegria I like to think of white bikini bottoms with red flamenco pulca dots on them. Brings a smile to my face every time!!

Hope that helps.

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Ay compañerita de mi alma
tú ahora no me conoces.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 8 2015 19:35:18
 
rombsix

Posts: 7159
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Mindtalk (in reply to Dudnote

quote:

When I'm playing alegria I like to think of white bikini bottoms with red flamenco pulca dots on them. Brings a smile to my face every time!!




_____________________________

Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 8 2015 20:52:46
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: Mindtalk (in reply to por medio

quote:

I don't have this problem when I'm playing in group/dancers/singers even with just palmas since I can focus on them. But it's quite noticeable only when I'm doing solos, especially slow stuff.


I may be wrong but I think this is an issue that EVERYONE has from time to time. Speaking for myself I also find playing for dancers/ensembles lots of fun...mainly because if you are enjoying yourself it doesnt matter too much if you dont hit every note correctly. The energy of the performance and the fact that you are enjoying yourself will transmit to your audience.

Solos are different, especially on stage. Its a lonely place up there on your own and you somehow have to engage your audience and take them out of their seats and into your world. Thats a tough trick!!!

Firstly let me say that the pressure is self imposed. If you feel stressed its because its a piece you either dont relate to or havent practiced enough to play effortlessly. If you dont like a piece, dont perform it. If you feel uncomfortable technically then simplify the hard bits. Im very much a believer of only performing material that you find easy or that you enjoy.

Dont be scared to play tapeado if you forget something. Dont be scared that the audience is judging you. They are paying because they WANT to see you.

Everyone gets played out as well. Have you done too many gigs in a row? If so put the guitar away for a week...go walking or cycling or to the cinema. You will find you play better after a rest.

A little pressure is normal and you will get better with time at dealing with it. Just as long as anticipation doesnt turn to panic, the adrenaline will actually improve your performance. Everyone has this and its part of being a musician... rather than a problem, it sounds like you are really on track to being a professional.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 8 2015 21:21:33
 
por medio

 

Posts: 289
Joined: Nov. 15 2009
 

RE: Mindtalk (in reply to Pimientito

Thanks for the input. And thanks Mark for your perspective.

It's a great point about choosing the pieces that I'm comfortable with, as it is indeed during the slightly dodgier pieces that my negative talk starts. I will just need to practice more and strategically on those pieces so I'm 110% confident.

As for the bikini-girls... I think I'll use a less distracting mental focus technique!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 9 2015 3:01:39
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1521
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Mindtalk (in reply to por medio

If you make from your hobby your work, you gain a job and lose a hobby.
Playing feels like work for now and than during gigging.....

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 9 2015 9:28:57
 
Blondie#2

 

Posts: 530
Joined: Sep. 14 2010
 

RE: Mindtalk (in reply to por medio

Get the 'Inner Game of Music', which deals with this problem in depth.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 9 2015 10:01:42
 
sig

 

Posts: 296
Joined: Nov. 7 2007
From: Wisconsin

RE: Mindtalk (in reply to por medio

I've developed some tricks to focus my mind on staying in the moment so to speak. Two things have helped, one I've found helpful is to practice like you are performing, in other words, don't stop and fix mistakes. Set aside a specific time to play like you are performing, ignore the mistakes and keep going. Go back later and work on the tricky bits rather than during your "performance".

Here's another trick I do, I grab my guitar, sit down, focus on one part of my instrument, take a deep breath and as I exhale, I simply repeat the following phrase: "play beautifully" to myself. I also create an audience in my minds eye and anytime I feel a touch of nerves or stress, I simply repeat the phrase, "play beautifully".

Here's an excerpt from an article I read a number of years ago that I thought made sense as its about changing a mindset:

"In the end, it's all about the music. It’s not about you or me really. As musicians we are the real instruments from which music flows. The instruments we play are merely extensions of our beings. When you play for others, you are a “giver”. When was the last time you ever felt nervous or afraid of doing something nice for someone else? If you hold the door open for a little old lady do you feel nervous or afraid? When you donate money to a charity, do you experience fear or self doubt about that? When you give your time to someone who needs help, do you feel nervous about that? Playing music should be no different. Don’t think of yourself as an Olympic competitor that must perform perfectly to win a gold medal. Don’t think you have disappointed the entire human race if you make a mistake or if the crowd doesn’t like your concert. If you think of your performance as “giving to others”… you won’t feel nervous or afraid, stage fright will melt away. When you perform, you add value to people’s experience when they hear you. Some may like it and some may not, it’s their choice or preference and even if you play perfectly, not everyone will love what you are doing. That comes with the territory. But you will have given of yourself either way. You came to share what you do with the audience. Feel good about that because when you feel good, the chances of making mistakes in a performance diminish.

If you don’t get anything else out of this article, at least remember this: The best antidote for stage fright is to change the mindset from “impressing others” to “giving to others”.


Hope this helps!
Sig--
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 9 2015 14:38:06
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11760
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Mindtalk (in reply to por medio

Alcohol/weed can take the edge off. I know that is not for a lot of people but it's the truth. Not to be performing drunk or high, but to surpress the adrenaline and nervous energy that can hinder the performance. On stage we are not hunting wild animals to feed the tribe but it can feel that way. There are lots of ways to focus but in the end it's not always bad...sometimes the nervous energy heightens the performance a bit. PDL said this in a magazine and it stuck with me..."if you THINK you are going to make a mistake, you are LOST..." very intimidating from a guy like him...but it is true. You have to feel pretty confident and then when mistakes DO happen you can just shrug them off as anomolies.

I have seen people fall apart on stage...I have been on stage with them and it sucks. I have done pretty well interms of guitar solo situations over the years...I am more nervous when we have very green programed dance material...one wrong move and it's a train wreck. Especially bad is when very high matainence dancers give you the dagger eyes in rehersal and EXPECT the worse from you on stage. That is bad...but I noticed some years ago this type of dancer is the insecure one. I saw a slight tremble there from the hand in the serious pose...and that was enough for me to say to myself..."no I got this **** down, they need my support because THEY are the insecure ones..." and that's it. I don't let it bother me anymore.

Good luck man.

Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 9 2015 17:48:48
 
Leñador

Posts: 5229
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Mindtalk (in reply to por medio

quote:

Alcohol/weed can take the edge off.

Hah! That's what I BEEN saying! Actually, I like weed, but I can't mix it with performing, I get too self-conscious but the perfect amount of alcohol works wonders for me. It has to be carefully calculated but the right amount does the job beautifully. I drank a little too much once and came back in on a dance solo on the wrong beat, it was a mess lol luckily I got it together pretty quick but for a second there it was pure panic. JUST enough to take the edge off and it's all golden.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 9 2015 18:00:54
 
por medio

 

Posts: 289
Joined: Nov. 15 2009
 

RE: Mindtalk (in reply to Leñador

Thanks guys. It's true that on some of these more difficult solo pieces my mindset is "not to make a mistake" to begin with - certainly not very helpful or positive. I've been quite aware of this and I often start out quite relaxed and well, but by 5th minute of the 8-minute piece as I'm going through some tricky passages my zen-like state had already disappeared into the ether.

I guess I actually am quite insecure when it comes to music. I always worry if the audience would like what I'm doing.

All of the tips are very helpful (even the alcohol/weed consumption, although I probably won't do either before gigs as my tolerance is VERY low). Thanks heaps.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 9 2015 19:54:55
 
machopicasso

 

Posts: 845
Joined: Nov. 27 2010
 

RE: Mindtalk (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

PDL said this in a magazine and it stuck with me..."if you THINK you are going to make a mistake, you are LOST..." very intimidating from a guy like him...but it is true. You have to feel pretty confident and then when mistakes DO happen you can just shrug them off as anomolies.


That quote's profound in a way, but I took it to mean something rather different. I took PDL to be saying, if you're worrying about making a mistake, then you're "lost" in the sense that you've lost focus on what you're playing. You're too preoccupied with making a mistake to properly engage the music (and thus more likely to make a mistake).
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 22 2015 11:07:42
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11760
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Mindtalk (in reply to machopicasso

quote:

ORIGINAL: machopicasso

quote:

PDL said this in a magazine and it stuck with me..."if you THINK you are going to make a mistake, you are LOST..." very intimidating from a guy like him...but it is true. You have to feel pretty confident and then when mistakes DO happen you can just shrug them off as anomolies.


That quote's profound in a way, but I took it to mean something rather different. I took PDL to be saying, if you're worrying about making a mistake, then you're "lost" in the sense that you've lost focus on what you're playing. You're too preoccupied with making a mistake to properly engage the music (and thus more likely to make a mistake).


Don't think your take is really any different to what I was saying. The original poster claimed to be losing focus while performing but (so he claims), doesn't really make any mistakes. One simply needs to forget the fingers in order to focus on the music and expression.

Here is the full quote of PDL:

"If you think you are going to make a mistake, that your fingers will not arrive at a point, that they won't play the right note at the right moment, you are LOST," de lucia intones. "You forgot the most important thing : the expression, the serenity, and the feeling."

Ricardo

_____________________________

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 23 2015 11:36:55
 
Mark2

Posts: 1520
Joined: Jul. 12 2004
From: San Francisco

RE: Mindtalk (in reply to por medio

Mariano Cordoba told me performance anxiety is a sign of not knowing the music well enough. He said practice your solos to the level of 200%, because your ability will go down in front of an audience. So, if you know your stuff 100%, you may only perform at 60% when facing the public. At 200%, you have leeway. For me what worked was repetition. First solo gig I ever did, my knees started shaking in the middle of a tune. I don't know how on earth I finished. Years later working two -three nights a week and it was old hat. I really don't enjoy the idea of performing unless I'm at that level of comfort, even though I tend to enjoy the performance itself even when I'm not that ready. It's been a very long time since I was hungry enough to hustle that many gigs, so I only do a gig if someone asks, and almost always regret having accepted until it's over. Then I'm glad I did it because usually it's fun. Strange.......
Weed and booze never worked for me, but it wasn't because of lack of trying.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 23 2015 17:51:20
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