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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 01-02-2013, 09:26 AM   #11
Ken Gordon
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Posts: 415
Default Re: Nerves getting the better of Pipers and Drummers?

For my first few competitions, I, having first carefully examined the venue for obstacles, and being almost blind without them, would take my glasses off. This prevented visual matters from effecting my performance.

At my very first competition in Victoria, B.C., about half way through my 2/4, I started listening to the music instead of concentrating on my playing: my first reaction was amazement at how good it sounded.

My second reaction was to miss part of the tune.

In my first year of competition, I broke down at every one. My general reaction to this was anger...at myself. My second year of competition, I never broke down even once.

As several have said here, as perfect preparation as possible is the rock-bottom solution.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:09 AM   #12
Bish
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Dorset; England
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Default Re: Nerves getting the better of Pipers and Drummers?

I used to suffer from really serious performance fear. My friends thought I was mad, because in their opinion I was a good player. It was knowing what the standard should be that terrified me. I bought the Inner Game of Music, but it was little help. My solution was to play in front of total strangers, which is commonly called busking. It made a big difference.

The second part is to prepare in advance what to play, and stick to it. Thorough preparation is absolutely essential, because the fear is basically a lack of confidence. Confidence comes from proper preparation. Play your tunes every day until you can do them in your sleep. Three weeks should be enough for a performance, provided you play all the tunes every day to a decent standard. Two hours a day should be enough.

On Hogmanay I played in two Hotels. I still felt stage-fright, but nothing like the deeply unpleasant sensation of old. The audience just loved the music, and I was full of confidence. I focused on the music, didn't look at anyone directly, and brought my attention back to what I was doing whenever I began drifting.

Drifting is easy to do, because your attention is being drawn away by the sounds of the audience loving the sounds, loud singing along to Flower of Scotland etc., and just your own mind thinking. I simply focus on my hands, my blowing, squeezing the bag properly and blowing steadily, and execution.

If you make a mistake, carry on as if it was supposed to happen. Always look confident when you mess up. Note the when. No performer is infallible, and even the very best blow it from time to time. Just accept that it was your turn when it happens, and take it like a man.

Good performance comes from good preparation, and frequent performances. Constant exposure to danger reduces its terrors.
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Noble and manly music invigorates the spirit, strengthens the wavering man, and incites him to great and worthy deeds. Homer.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:45 PM   #13
piper01888
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Trail B.C.
Posts: 263
Default Re: Nerves getting the better of Pipers and Drummers?

One method I use [though it won't work in a competition] is to
count all the people in your audience who could do it better
than you.
That was a piece of advice my father gave me en route
to my first public solo performance. i was going to play
for some highland dancers at a local variety show.
All well and good until the third guy that I looked at
was my instructor and the P/S in the band.
I wasn't aware that his daughter was going to be one of the dancers!
I made it through all right, but it did kind of make me
question my dad's wisdom. But you do that a lot as a teenager anyway.
Cheers
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:17 AM   #14
CalumII
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: London Town
Posts: 5,188
Default Re: Nerves getting the better of Pipers and Drummers?

Feeling secure in your preparations is important.

One aspect I rarely see addressed here is simply dealing with the physical consequences of nerves. There is a great deal to be said for putting your pipes down, sprinting 200 yards and back, and immediately picking up your pipes and playing your tunes.
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