The student is nervous. It is her first jury – the end of her first semester as a college freshman. She is a music education major.
She loves playing trombone; she has practiced diligently. She has a good accompanist and she is well prepared.
Yet…the student is nervous.
The first couple of phrases go well. She plays with a good, full tone and good technique. Then…a missed note…an out of tune note…a tricky articulation that does not go as planned.
Next, a very strange thing happens. She cannot finish the next phrase in one breath as planned. She must breathe where she never breathed before. This throws her off and the whole cycle starts over: missed note…out of tune note…tricky articulation…and the mistakes seem self-perpetuating.
How does she break the cycle, or better yet – how does she avoid getting sucked into the cycle to begin with?
1. Realize that everybody gets nervous. It is not practical to expect a complete lack of nerves.
2. As well prepared as you might be – prepare even more. Sustained, patient effort over the course of the semester will pay off.
3. Don’t forget to breathe. In any situation, 5 minutes of attention to breathing can change one’s outlook. Before going on stage, lie down and breathe – just observe your breathing…don’t try to change it. you can also try some constructive rest. Here’s a sound file guiding you through a sample session: Constructive Rest.
Rob from Canada says:
The new approach to breathing and tonguing is making a huge difference in my sound as you predicted. I can’t believe how effortless my playing has become along with the ability to play much louder and for much longer phrases with complete control.