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Old 10-29-2012, 03:20 PM   #3
SquintingPatrick
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 851
Default Re: Nerves getting the better of Pipers and Drummers?

It's all in the mind, of course. A string of early successes on the practice chanter led to the unwarranted attitude that I was not just there to compete, but to show the judges how's it's done. As a result I was usually excited, confident, and relaxed before the events. As soon as I got onto the field, and had a chance to listen to other pipers, I would then realize that I had no chance of winning. In going from supremely confident to alarm, and then complete resignation, my relaxed attitude would resume.

These days, I have become numb. Over the years, all possible mishaps have been visited upon me, to the point where I simply accept Murphy's Law as a given, and so leave all my worries behind. If the drone reed falls in and get slathered with airtight, so be it.

Ultimately, what has really helped me, I believe, is that I don't compete to get the trophy, or to play better than other pipers. Rather, I practice against a certain standard - it's all about playing the music well - and I am on the boards to give a good accounting of myself against that standard. And since I am my worst critic, the worst the judges and the audience can do is to reinforce my own verdict. Added to that, I have often felt that I have already been judged before I start playing. I tell myself that the judge, and the whole world, already know how well, or badly, I play from my warming up and tuning (as I do other pipers). The die has been cast before the first note. There is no need to be nervous.
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