Many players have anxiety about performing in public and in some instances, no matter how well they have prepared they get preoccupied about making mistakes. Then when they make the inevitable mistake they obsess over it and lose attention to the music they are playing after the mistake. How does a teacher train a student to keep playing and immediately forget about their error.
Dogs seem to deal with this type of thing in a fairly effective way. A case in example: dog is outside roaming around its yard. Dog sees squirrel and immediately runs after it, fully with the intent of catching it (which has never happened.)Squirrel adeptly jumps onto tree which it has done many times before and gets out of danger. Dog barks a couple of times, but then, as before knows that there is no way it is going to catch that squirrel, yet again.
At this point the dog's brain say oh drat! And dog gives itself a good shake and goes about its previous business of sniffing and marking as if nothing had ever happened. The key to this is the dog's shaking itself. That gets rid of the anxiety.
Interesting observation about "shaking it off"! And, interesting question, looking forward to interesting answers.
The phenomenon of "object permanence" comes to mind. I remember learning about it in Psych 100.
My teacher refers to this as "not presiding over the train wreck". It is REALLY hard not to dwell and analyze because that's precisely what we teach ourselves to do when we practice.
Stage Fright/ performance anxiety. The topic comes up frequently, and I will repeat myself.
Joel, that reminds me of when I was in (very ) amateur theatre years ago. We were performing in the bar of a local sports club. For the dress rehearsal, for an audience of 5, I was a wreck. For the first full performance to a packed room.......fine. (and I had to play a small amount on the piano too)
I think there's no magic bullet for stage fright. People have one embarassing performance and then mull over it forever, avoiding new opportunities to play. I think pretty much everyone would see their jitters more or less disappear if they instead performed even more often. That was my experience; after a couple years I just stopped caring if I made a fool of myself.
In my case it's really weird, or not, I don't know.
Oh boy, this hits home. What you describe used to happen to me just before the first note - which I would then screw up and fret over for the rest of the performance. Needless to say, it was not a route to a concerto career.
I've been using a beta blocker to eliminate right-arm shakes in performances where I could be heard (i.e., other than in orchestra settings) since I learned of it at the San Diego Chamber Music Workshop in 1977. Before that, from late 1951, at the age of 17, I had been plagued by that symptom of "stage fright." However, for the previously 13 years of my violin playing I would play anywhere, for any group of people with no worries or problems. Funny, the shakes began for the first time while I was playing a couple of old-English songs for my high school English class, the simplest music I had ever played for an audience.
Elise Stanley, your comment on rock groups reminded me of comments by two of the Beatles (whom you would think would be just like you said -- not worried in the least whether the audience liked them). John Lennon remarked how he would often throw-up two or three times before going out on stage, he was so nervous. And George Harrison remarked that it didn't matter what he did to calm himself down before hand, meditating, smoking pot, having an alcoholic drink, the moment he took that first step towards the stage all that would be for nought and he would feel sick to his stomach hoping the show would go well.
I’ve read that Hilary Hahn doesn’t get performance nerves. In one of her old blogs, she related how, at her Carnegie hall debut at the age of 16 , as she was walking down a corridor to go on stage, she passed Isaac Stern , who called out “have fun out there Hilary”
I was a Suzuki kid, and I can tell you that I have
Probably the worst experience I had of this was performing the Mozart G-Minor piano quartet. Our pianist wasn't quite secure, and managed to slip some wrong notes into her first descending scale. After that, I got increasingly anxious to the point of feeling out-of-body. I literally felt as though I were hovering a foot and a half behind myself, and was whispering instructions on how to be better. Relax wrist, elbow not too high, look at the cellist here, etc.
I was 5 or 6 when I first appeared in a piano recital, on stage in the conservatory recital hall--with no anxiety whatsoever. I don't think I even knew the word. I was OK until I was 16, when I got nervous before a recital in the teacher's living room; so I stole a Miltown (early tranquilizer) from my mother's purse beforehand. At the recital, I sat down and launched into Mozart Fantasy, but blanked out when I got to a run. Picked up after it, and finished. On the way home, my mother said, "Erin, it's OK that you forgot the music, but did you have to swear in front of all those people?" I have no I idea what I said. Moral of the story is, don't take a tranquilizer. I have not performed in public on violin, piano or cello since my disaster 53 years ago. Sigh.
"Not presiding over the train wreck" -- Lydia I like that. Also "not presiding over the thought that maybe there could be at some point a possible train wreck" -- this would all be helpful!