March 25, 2011 at 6:18 PM
You walk out on stage, and your stomach does a back flip.
It's not nerves -- it's the fried cheese sticks, garlic bread and fried chicken you ate for dinner!
When this kind of thing happens, we start thinking about what kind of food puts us in the right physical frame for performing. Singers are told not to drink dairy before singing; wind players must avoid things that stick in the teeth and might wind up in the instrument. But what are the guidelines for a violinist?
In college, my conductor, Victor Yampolsky, used to advise us to eat a nice big meal before a concert. While I'd rather have a full stomach than hunger pangs during a performance, I find it's important to think about what goes into that full stomach. For example, bananas, with their high potassium, can be a soothing choice that does not upset the stomach. I find that a simple sandwich works pretty well, too.
What is your favorite kind of food to eat before a performance? I'll start us out with some broad categories, but feel free to chime in with your favorite pre-performance food.
I like to eat jacket potato with salad! A jacket potato is always the food I turn to when I am nervous or anxious, for reasons I don't even know. The craving for jacket potatoes started happening a few years ago! They are fairly high in energy, release carbs slowly, aren't too heavy on the stomach, are healthy and are just plain tasty! And the bit of salad on the side just makes it complete! :)
Interesting that alot of people chose fruit. I like to have Italian before a concert. Slows down my mind and helps my fingers go on auto
I think it's interesting that a lot of people chose "I don't eat before a performance," even though Laurie's teacher advises differently. I'm one of those who doesn't like to eat when I'm nervous. If I can eat an hour or more beforehand, then I'll just eat whatever I'd normally eat for the meal. Otherwise, I just won't eat anything. I don't think I've ever felt hungry during a performance.
Bananas, a lot of them. Very calming.
Fatty healthy foods such as nuts or peanut butter, eggs, cheese, banana, avocados, yogourt (and maybe a few less healthy too as chocolate or crescent bread) + green tea But only on performance days... Not often these days! Spinach works too for relaxing muscles (I'm on that now...)
I do this because I noticed (and learned at school too) that after big christmas meals and such, my hands are warm (and that is very very rare in my normal state).
I profit of that only if I have something to play publically. I can't say it's a miracle but that and exercice (climbing the stairs a few times), is just what it takes to help pomp blood and higher your tempeture. I joke ans tell to my family that "today, I eat like a soloist" (food similar to these restaurant brunch/breakfast) and they laugh! It is told that a fat diet is the trick of esquimos in the north to stay warm. True but since we are not esquimos, just for special occasions : )
Fruit such as bananas. But with an anxiety disorder I threw up before going on stage, though once we began I loved the rush! Still do!!!
Chocolate of course. How come that is not on the list? :)
Noodles. It is a habit I picked up while living in Malaysia. They are easy on the stomach. When mixed with veggies, broth and a little meat they are quite healthy. The carbs give the energy boost I need.
Also, when eaten with chopsticks, there are no worries about getting greasy fingers.
A slice of bread and butter is good enough for me!
As a competetive mountain runner, I have experimented with all kinds of energy/endurance foods, and decided that almond butter with molasses spread on a whole wheat english muffin with fresh banana slices on top was my miracle food. The reason it works so well for performances is that it contains high amounts of electrolytes (potassium, magnisium, calcium), a combination of fast burning and slow burning carbs, and that wonderful nut fat/protien that sticks with you.
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