Smudger5150 wrote:Topic also reminds me of a Frasier TV episode regarding performance anxiety.
The extract I'm thinking of went like this:-
Bulldog: .....It's me I'm worried about,
I've got some serious butterflies going here.
Frasier: Bulldog, you're on the radio all the time.
Bulldog: Yeah, but that's me being me. This is acting, it's scary.
Frasier: Listen, that's all part of the thrill of the live performance.
Butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, scratchy throat,
pounding heart! I suppose you have all of those?
Bulldog: I do now!
Thanks for the laugh!
That bit reminded me of one of several strategies in The Inner Game of Music for dealing with performance anxiety, which is to acknowledge and observe your own physical reactions (the butterflies, sweaty palms, etc.). If I recall, there were a couple of rationales: diverting one's attention from the imaginary scenarios that caused the anxiety reduces the anxiety, and familiarizing oneself with the phenomena of stage fright makes it less of a catastrophe in itself, and more a condition that one can systematically learn to cope with, like playing with a cold.
Another strategy from the book--there's much more to musical performance than simply hitting the right notes in the right order, just as there's more to an actor's performance than pronouncing every syllable in the right order. Most of us enjoy a heartfelt musical performance with some mistakes far more than a clinically perfect display of technique, and the people in the audience are no different. They're there for the music, not the notes. And they're rooting for you--the better your experience, the better theirs, and vice versa. I'm conflating Barry Green with Benjamin Zander, but they teach essentially the same thing: When the mind is preoccupied with the emotional and intellectual content that we're trying to communicate with the language of music (and which we've diligently considered and refined as part of our preparation), there's less room for the anxiety to expand into.
I think I read once that John Duarte suffered from performance anxiety. He was fine playing in jazz ensembles, whether on guitar, bass or trumpet, but disliked being alone on stage.