How do you cope?
Your group plays a short early evening concert and then you have trouble getting to sleep.
You play an afternoon solo concert for shut-ins and are drained and carry home the weight of their circumstances.
Your concert surely brightened their day. Thats what you should carry away. For occasional insomnia, talk to your doctor. Ask about zaleplon. Thats worked very well for me.
Mediatate. Go for a stroll in the park. Talk to your significant other.
Go and have a beer with the brass section!
Erik, from a pro's perspective, is this a common thing?
I read serious works, like philosophy, which tire me mentally and allows me to sleep easily, and make me feel better for having read the content and worked on intellectual development, and conversely make me feel uneasy when I'm not doing that and just going through daily life.
Get used to doing enough little performances that they are just part of your life - AND - try watching some British mysteries on TV from a La-Z-Boy recliner in the dark. That should shut off your brain in 10 to 30 minutes.
Interesting question. I guess I think about the more universal aspects of the music, rather than the particular circumstances of the concert I just played.
I find a long walk and the writings of St. Paul to be some great ways to calm the soul.
One thing you will learn if you see your physician about insomnia is that they do NOT recommend drinking alcohol -- at all -- as a solution. It's not because of the likelihood of addiction, because that risk attaches to any chemical approach, including "sleep aids" like diphenhydramine, Sonata, Ambien, etc. Rather it's because alcohol has been found quite ineffective despite widespread anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Your doctor will have a pamphlet on insomnia that has good general recommendations for relaxation etc. Reading is usually high on the list, but from a book or magazine or newspaper -- NOT reading from a tablet or phone. This is how I catch up on articles from
From a pro's perspective: regarding the emotional drain of playing for shut-ins, I actually experience the reverse. I walk away in the knowledge that for relatively little effort on my part, I have brought a lot of joy to people who are not shy in expressing their gratitude. The one situation that I do find emotionally draining is when I go with a group of colleagues to play Christmas carols at the jail. For obvious safety reasons, the inmates cannot be gathered in one large group, so we spend a couple of hours walking from pod to pod to pod, playing three or four numbers in each location before moving on. It is physically and emotionally exhausting. I always plan on having a healthy lunch at a nice restaurant and not getting much accomplished the rest of the day.
"trouble getting to sleep after a concert" That is probably perfectly natural and universal. The same nerves or adrenalin or whatever it is that gets you through a concert will keep you up afterwards. I once had a restaurant job playing 8--2 am , six nights a week, every week for a solid year. Even when the show became routine I would not fall asleep for another hour. The drive home helped a little. Some lead Opera and Musical singers will not eat a big meal before the show, but will go out for a late dinner and drink afterwards. Maybe read a long, wordy novel by Dickens, Scott, even Faulkner.
I'm not considered a pro player, but I do teach quite a few people and I always carry home the weight of their circumstances. It's hard to say how common this is. I tend to be too empathetic for my own good.
Interesting responses folks. Had to look up HSP. Think my ex would disagree. Anyone for burnout? Less coffee and more protein? Booze is out and like many seniors, already prescription poor.
I need two hours or more after each rehearsal, not just after performances, before I can sleep. I have always put that down to the emotional density of the music. I don't think I want to "cope" with it other than waiting it out. Many chamber music groups drink a cup of tea (or whatever they like) together after the rehearsals in order to unwind. I do not think the sleep I am not having harms me at all.
Rocky, I think mindful meditation has a place here.
"Your group plays a short early evening concert and then you have trouble getting to sleep."
Oh no! I thought the concert was the physical activity.? 50? Vague memory. I have a safe, legal plan for next week. I hope that this discussion helps others.
Then there is the issue of staying asleep. Alcohol can act as a stimulant, thus disrupting sleep. The aging process isn’t kind to sleeping either. There is enough in this subject to create a “sleep.com” forum that Laurie could administer.
Scott, I used to recommend physical exercise to almost everyone, but I got so accustomed to no one ever doing it that I stopped even considering it as advice.
I think both of these things are not violin or music related things, strictly. Exercise is big for sleep in general and stress, and stress itself is a big factor in insomnia. There's also the attitudes you bring into these situations - You can look around at the problems of the world and get paralyzed - Global warming and all kinds of pollution, income inequality, politics, etc, but a lot of people can thrive in spite. You have to think about what you can change and what you can't, and if it bothers you that much, then the problem still exists whether you play for shut-ins or not. You can not play, but those people still have their problems; you just don't confront it directly. You can try helping them, but without a sense of perspective and boundaries, you start taking the weight of the world onto your shoulders needlessly.
I have this problem too: after every rehearsal and every concert, I'm too wired to sleep for 6-8 hours.
"Scott, I used to recommend physical exercise to almost everyone, but I got so accustomed to no one ever doing it that I stopped even considering it as advice"
If we defined compassion as a wish for others to be healed or free from pain, discomfort, isolation, poverty, etc feeling compassion or empathy carrys feeling sorry for others which is sorrow. Detached compassion is the hard to master trick.
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