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Old 11-07-2018, 09:35 AM   #1
OHpiper
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Default First time jitters

As they say, " here goes".. Playing in public for the first time this Sunday evening church service. I'm a tad nervous to say the least. Doing two songs, Scots Wha Ha'e and Amazing Grace, first two songs in the green book. I know them well enough by memory, can do each almost perfect. Played for the Pastor a couple weeks ago, seemed ok then. Any tips for calming the nerves so to speak? Thanks all..
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:49 AM   #2
Pip01
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Default Re: First time jitters





Ah, OHpiper,

It is... was... the same for many... if not... all... of us. :)

Your constant preparation is... and of course... paramount...
and shall... carry the day!! :)

The only "trick" that I might offer... is that when you begin
playing... that you not look toward the congregation, or the
choir, or the pulpit.

Catching someone's eye, or they yours... can... and has...
thrown more than one of us... rime to time... :)

Rather... choose a neutral spot... on some far wall... that
is just above and behind the congregation... and settle in...
and play!!

Wishing for you... All the Best!!,

Pip01




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Old 11-07-2018, 12:32 PM   #3
Pppiper
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Default Re: First time jitters

Quote:
Originally Posted by OHpiper View Post
As they say, " here goes".. Playing in public for the first time this Sunday evening church service. I'm a tad nervous to say the least. Doing two songs, Scots Wha Ha'e and Amazing Grace, first two songs in the green book. I know them well enough by memory, can do each almost perfect. Played for the Pastor a couple weeks ago, seemed ok then. Any tips for calming the nerves so to speak? Thanks all..
Nothing than the suggestion to remind yourself of reality.

What's the reality? Well, it's that everyone there to listen to you WANTS you to play well. They don't expect it, but they want it. They're not ready with pitchforks, begging for an excuse to take you down if you do otherwise. Likewise, they will/would be sympathetic in the event there is a stumble or two.

You've done your homework in preparing. Prepare some more if it helps you feel better, but then go out there and play your heart out. Do that, and no harm can/will result.

Have fun.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 11-07-2018, 12:34 PM   #4
Reed
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Default Re: First time jitters

Hi,


We've all been there! I suggest you play your tunes in front of anyone that will sit and listen as often as you can to help get over the 'playing for an audience' jitters. Family, friends, whoever. I will go to a public park and play knowing some people will be listening just to help with being self conscious. It helps!

Second, make sure that your pipes are ironclad reliable before you play for an audience. Don't be the piper whose drones quit, chanter reed chokes, etc. I make it a habit to practice playing any tune a minimum of 5 times in a row with no mistakes before I deem it ready for the performance stage. That is light music tunes, not piobrachs tho!


Practice just your performance tunes only for two weeks before your gig to help zero in on those tunes. This has paid huge dividends for me when I had important performances to play. Know those tunes inside and out, be able able to play them in your sleep. Prepare!


Visualize yourself playing your tunes perfectly inside your mind over and over. See, hear, and feel the experience mentally before you do it; it's a proven scientific fact that humans perform better using this technique vs no mental preparation at all.


If you have access to the venue playing there before your performance as much as possible will help too. It's amazing how familiarity with a place will help calm your nerves. When I played guitar in the church band I would often practice on the riser in the sanctuary during the week prior to Sunday's performance. I was completely comfortable there for any Sunday gig.


Best of luck, and knock 'em dead!


-R
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:06 PM   #5
Abbott
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Default Re: First time jitters

I did my first one in june this year at the music school annual concert. I played I See Mull and Highland Cathedral. the rehearsal in the morning went great but in the afternoon there were lots more people. I had to lead the child chorus and their parents from a side hall into the main auditorium ( empty during rehearsal) but in the afternoon on entering I saw the orchestra on stage waiting to play and all the spectateurs.
MY heart skipped several beats and i had no recollection after of what i was doing.
i followed PIP01 ´s advice and focused fiercely on the wall ignoring the people filming and played until everyone was seated. After i showed the film my daughter had taken to my teacher and he said it was good.
For me the difficulty was to stay concentrated on the tune and not worry about mistakes or things going on around me.
It was a terrific experience so enjoy it.
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:42 PM   #6
el gaitero
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Default Re: First time jitters

Quote:
Originally Posted by OHpiper View Post
As they say, " here goes".. Playing in public for the first time this Sunday evening church service. I'm a tad nervous to say the least. Doing two songs, Scots Wha Ha'e and Amazing Grace, first two songs in the green book. I know them well enough by memory, can do each almost perfect. Played for the Pastor a couple weeks ago, seemed ok then. Any tips for calming the nerves so to speak? Thanks all..
Ignoring staring at them,..Think of your audience as being naked.
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:13 AM   #7
Piping Potential
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Default Re: First time jitters

Always remember that you're safe. Nerves come from the part of our brain responsible for flight or fight. They were important to keep us on our toes so we wouldn't get eaten by a lion. What's the worst that would happen in your church? They boo you out of the building? Even in the extremely improbable instance that happens you'd still be very safe. My guess is that you could sound completely awful and your fellow church goers will still love and support you.


So prepare and practice. If you are feeling nervous, take some very slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Find a relative or other loved one to focus on in the congregation. Have fun on Sunday!
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Old 11-08-2018, 03:55 AM   #8
OHpiper
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Default Re: First time jitters

Thanks all, good advice. I chose to do the evening service, we being a small congregation, only about 30 or so are there. Sort of a trial run before I do a morning service.. This hoping I won't be under much pressure.
I'll give an update later
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Old 11-10-2018, 01:11 AM   #9
TwitchyFingers
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Default Re: First time jitters

If you miss a note/gracenote, don't try to go back and catch it by repeating. Plow right on through. Very few in the crowd will even recognize a small mistake if it happens. Those who do usually have tact enough not to mention it. No apologies while you're doing it.
Take note of your blowing. 30 years in, I still catch myself overblowing if I'm nervous. It's an active and conscious decision to regulate it as best you can at the time. Steady blowing and tone means no squeals or chirps.
As I said above, nerves can still happen after 30 years. If I'm not at least a tiny bit nervous, I begin to worry I'm not concerned enough to do my best.

This is the best advice I can give you:

Don't take a half hour+ of constant tuning before you leave the house. That warms up your pipes to a different point than travel to your gig and waiting for your time to play will have them. Before you leave, take no more than 30-40 seconds to tune as best you can. Put your pipes down for 20 minutes, pick them up and check tuning again. 30 seconds and not much more. Put them down for another 15-20 minutes. Pick them back up and one last go at tuning.
Get to the gig and one quick go at the drones. Leave them alone until your time to perform. In the time it takes to play Amazing Grace or Scots Wha Hae, the pipes aren't going to drift out of tune as much as they would if you had taken a full half hour to have them perfect and let them sit until the gig.

Most jobs you're going to play are going to involve travel time and waiting to play one tune that lasts less than two minutes. Get your pipes to a point that they're in tune from a cold pickup.
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Old 11-10-2018, 02:15 AM   #10
Steve Law
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Default Re: First time jitters

Fully agree with all the above, but especially TF’s spot-on advice about tuning for what’s going to be a short performance.

I (and apparently the best part of 2500 others) will be playing tomorrow at 0600 local, just the one tune When the Battle’s O’er, to commemorate the signing of the Armistice at the end of the Great War 100 years ago.... given the expected weather conditions in our part of the world it would be crazy to tune after a full warm-up and then only play 2 minutes...
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