Sweating While Playing

April 25, 2004 at 02:22 AM · I have been watching some of my favorite violinists play and I am always interested about sweating when playing (I know that sounds extremely strange lol.) I have rarely seen some of the great violinists such as Heifetz or Milstein perspire at all while others such as Menhuhin, Stern, and even Joshua Bell sweat a lot when performing. I look at one side as somebody like Heifetz doesn't sweat because everything comes easy to them. However, some people sweat when they are very into the music and they give such painstaking thought to each note. I often feel that it looks more "pleasant" seeing a pianist (such as Gilels in the DVD of him playing the Tchaik concerto) because it looks more intense then when a violinist such as Stern looks like he's going to pass out. I know some people have a problem with perspiration regardless of playing the violin or not. But what are your views on the reasons for sweating while performing and whether it is a good or bad thing?

Replies (36)

April 25, 2004 at 02:40 AM · Well, you also have to take into consideration the extreme heat stage lights give off, and for an extended period of time under them, anyone is bound to sweat eventually!

April 25, 2004 at 03:02 AM · Sweating is a good thing. I don't care about any musical aspect of it, but if you are not perspiring then there is something wrong with your body and you should go see a doctor. Perspiring is your body's method of keeping cool and keeping your body at that perfect temperature. If you're not perspiring you're most likely sick, and your body temperature may be reaching Extreemly high levels, and if it gets too high it's life threatening and can cause death (I don't think i need to tell you that death is a bad thing, though i guess it depends on your beliefs)

Obviously it is possible not to be dripping in sweat, but even still they are perspiring. I figure so long as no-one slips on the sweat it's alright.

April 25, 2004 at 03:07 AM · I basically start sweating as soon as the temperature is 75 or higher. Hence performing often yellows my shirts within the space of five minutes. Annoying, but I guess it's what I have to put up with unless the place is willing to turn the air conditioning way up for me :D

April 25, 2004 at 03:40 PM · I personally rarely sweat when I play.

I don't think it means there is anything wrong with you, I think it just means we are all different.

April 25, 2004 at 05:52 PM · Sweating depends upon adrenaline(epinephrine) and may be a Stage fright sign ,besides heat

April 26, 2004 at 12:49 AM · Stage fright, for sure. Whenever I get nervous my hands (and my hands alone) sweat like nothing else .. quite strange I know. It also presents a few problems with shifting and vibrato and everything else .but I found this powder called Prantal which basically stops it. Aside from my hands I hardly sweat at all, I think it's just one of those things that's different for everyone.

April 26, 2004 at 02:06 AM · I sweat very often when I practice, though not so much performing. I don't sweat so much when the weather is cool, mostly when it is above 60 degrees. And even when the weather is cool, my body temperature gets very high and I turn red and look flushed. No matter how cold the temperature, I have my windows open a crack when I am practicing.

Lauren

April 26, 2004 at 02:35 AM · (Look at all the Google ads that come up for excessive sweating in the right hand column of this thread..lol)

April 26, 2004 at 02:53 AM · My hands sweat very little when i play. But I sweat so much around my neck that I have to use a good pad to prevent the finish from wearing off my violin, which did happen with my first violin.

April 26, 2004 at 10:35 PM · I used to sweat alot, but I find proper breathing reduces sweating. Any thoughts?

April 26, 2004 at 10:48 PM · I guess we're dealing with perspiration as a physical reaction versus psychological perspiration here, right? I have a couple of students who get nervous playing in lessons and get sweaty hands (and I've had this myself). I rarely perform, and when I do I'm too scared to sweat, but when I practice alone, no pressure, my hands are fine but I seem to perspire everywhere else - neck, back, name it! Ewwww!

April 27, 2004 at 09:03 AM · ads for excessive sweating? i can't see anyth.. oh that's right, norton blocks those ads for me.

Oh well, I guess i'll just have to imagine them

April 27, 2004 at 06:29 PM · i cant shift very well when i sweat, which is unfortunate because it was 94 yesterday and i have 3 concerts this week, oh well.

October 4, 2004 at 07:05 AM · The only thing I really dislike about sweating while performing is when it gets in your eyes. One time I had this cream on my face while playing (bad idea, heh) and it got into my eyes through the sweat. Anyway there I was crying on stage during a lively piece!!!

No one noticed when I asked them after the concert anyway. Maybe they were just being polite...

October 4, 2004 at 04:58 PM · I guess it induces the "Ewwwww" factor most of the time . :P

October 6, 2004 at 07:59 AM · Beats me, I do sweat a lot due to nervousness and at the same time being excited...I think its healthy, it helps with the surge of adrenalin..

October 6, 2004 at 02:18 PM · uh. mostly i get sweaty palms due to nervousness when im onstage, which gets really irritating most of the time and just freaks me out more. but i sweat while practising sometimes. yea maybe its just a matter of how you look to your audience rather than it being something clearly "good" or "bad" for you, in the sense that its definitely possible to be just as involved with the music without sweating :P

October 6, 2004 at 04:57 PM · My hands sweat whenever I use them for a while (even while writing), so my fingerboard eventually is drenched with water :DC

October 6, 2004 at 08:15 PM · sometimes when i sweat at the neck, it gets too slippery on the chin rest and my violin starts sliding off...am i holding it too low? i didnt think i was....

October 7, 2004 at 06:53 AM · Daniel,

Have you tried a "strad pad"? Although I don't sweat myself at the neck, my feeling is that it could very much alleviate your problem. The advantage of a strad pad over a simple cloth is that the pad is affixed to the chinrest with velcro, meaning it can't shift during playing.

October 7, 2004 at 06:57 AM · i don't think its worth worrying about a whole lot, it either happens or it doesnt/ heifetz did sweat a bit though, he would sometimes lose a couple of pounds in a performance.

October 7, 2004 at 07:07 AM · Mind you, the worst conditions for sweating is when you're under a heat lamp (read: stage lighting) in the middle of the day since the heat is directed onto your entire body. Especially bad in Australian summer :P

October 7, 2004 at 07:13 AM · I don't know if the weather or heat has so much of an affect of sweating while playing the violin. A couple of days ago, I went up to Pacifica for a rehearsal and it was ... fricking cold there. It was like windy, and the room was as cold as a freezer. I started playing for about 20 minutes and then I was SO hot and I was sweating profusely. Maybe it's just me. I always sweat when I practice/perform. I don't really like it though... because I get really hot and I'm really sensitive to heat... like, low tolerance sensitive. I could probably faint haha

October 7, 2004 at 09:57 AM · well, general sweating (which is different to being under a heatlamp) I always get with hard pieces. I noticed a couple of times in the past, if I was really unhappy with a piece and I tried extensively hard to get it to sound right, I literally drip.

October 29, 2004 at 08:33 AM · I tend to perform (and practice) better when the temperature is quite hot. However, if I am performing and my hands begin to sweat, namely my bow hand, it is very troublesome... and that sounds like something someone who didn't play violin would postulate (how musicians could possibly play if their hands are sweaty), and I actually thought so up until about two years ago--when my hands began sweating during concerts! Very troublesome indeed.

October 29, 2004 at 06:22 PM · Perspiration tphh thbbh. Perspiration thbb, thbbb.

Some people think it's gross,

But it's really good on toast

Perspiration, thbb thbb. . ..

Sorry, haven't eaten yet and it's nearly noon. Just felt like jumpin' in on this thread for a moment.

I only perspire when I'm really having a good time playing. If I'm nervous, I go cold and dry, but the sweating that comes from a really intense, emotionally charged session is one of my most favorite things — not the sweating, by itself, but the fact that it's a physical cue that I'm completely engrossed in what I'm doing. This doesn't happen often enough.

October 29, 2004 at 07:42 PM · My mouth waters when the music comes together. OK for the violin: not so good with anything windy. Lost the A that way on the tenor recorder in a piece that used a lot of A's.

October 30, 2004 at 04:04 PM · lol — I have had a rare drooling bout once or twice, too. Good thing it was at home and not on stage or around anyone else!

October 31, 2004 at 04:32 PM · mix adrenaline, anxiety, nervousness, a intense body activite...there you go! sweating like a pig. :)

June 24, 2005 at 06:13 PM · I hate when I get sweaty palms at crucial moments and the fingerboard is slipper when wet! Overshifting and weak vibratos...I will try Prantal per the advice of the above posting.

June 24, 2005 at 08:05 PM · I remember once I was performing and my right hand was so moist from perspiring, the bow flew out of my hand and poked the person sitting next to me in the eye!!!! The bow was ok. :)

Lance

June 24, 2005 at 08:09 PM · Cure armpit sweating

Simple 30 minute surgical procedure Free doctor's consultation.

www.handsweat.com

I think it's funny that this was one of the as by google that came up on the left side. lol

June 24, 2005 at 08:38 PM · Sometimes a cure for sweating can be to put some rosin on your hands to help you better hold the violin and bow. Not too much, or your hands will stick. But a little so the sweat isn't totally ruining your performance.

And wiping, of course.

June 24, 2005 at 08:44 PM · I always sweat when playing and I have wondered at those who hardly seem to. I don't know how they do it...

I played Elgar with orchestra the other day and I was terribly nervous- it went great, but I used every opportunity to wipe my hands on the side of the dress:)

June 24, 2005 at 11:39 PM · Hi everyone,

Sweating happens to me too!! but what should I do if my bow hand is sweating that it is ruining my new bow hair!!

Thanks

June 25, 2005 at 02:33 AM · Maybe if sweating problems are that bad you should see a doctor? Just wondering.

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