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  • Fear of playing infront of others

    Ok guys how do you overcome this? I have recently been asked to play organ at a large church and as luck would have it I have only once before played infront of others and basically I froze and totally messed it up. I have a Rodgers 35D at home for practicing on. The organ at the church I will be playing for is a Noack that was installed in 1991. This is also the first "real" pipe organ I have ever played. The first mass I have to play at is on august 31st. So give me all the sugestions you can please!

  • #2
    Re: Fear of playing infront of others

    Select music that you're quite comfortable with, and keep it simple. A simple piece played well is much better thana difficult one with mistakes. I'd suggest you invite some friends to come and join you while you practice. Ask them to move around a bit and actually make a little noise, so that you get used to folk being around. Thiswill lessen your chances of being distracted. Spend a good bit of time with the instrument you're to play on so that you're quite comfortable with it. Any chance you could play something for the congregation prior to having full responsibility for the service? A communion piece or postlude for instance, would allow you to play for folks, but not necessarily be the center of attention. This sounds a bit pretentious, but remember you're really not performing, you're leading worship, so just let your music be your gift to God. Lastly, remember that you're doing something that no one else in the room can or is willing to do. Good luck and let us know how you do. [:)]

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    • #3
      Re: Fear of playing infront of others



      Ludwigtone's advice is so excellent and thorough, that it is a tough act to follow. Our church has both a loft console and a chancel console. It took me a while to move down to the chancel console, even though I normally play a non-choir Mass with only a cantor. The lectern from which the cantor sings is right behind the chancel console. The organist faces the altar area sideways, looking directly at the lectern. Thus, the chancel console is THE place to sit if one is organist for an cantor-lead Mass. Well, I conquered my stagefright by staying focused on what I was doing and concentrating on the cantor and the altar area, while avoiding eye-contact with the congregation. Now, I am equally comfortable at either console, but prefer the chancel for keeping more coordinated with the cantor.</P>


      Good luck!</P>

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      • #4
        Re: Fear of playing infront of others



        Allow yourself to be nervous! A great mentor of mine once said that it is the sign of quality. The advice you have been given to prepare is wonderful. But don't expect yourself to come to any new and exiting experience without the normal butterflies. Read the posts about our worst experiences. We have all had them!</P>


        You will do fine. BECAUSE YOU REALLY CARE !</P>

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        • #5
          Re: Fear of playing infront of others



          I get the same issue with keyboards, but not with recorder! go figure!</P>


          Practice recording yourself. To me, as soon as I start video taping myself or trying to create a wav file, I'm nervous and scew up.</P>


          Its about focus too, as soon as you are in front of people you have this layer of thoughts and emotion between you and the music. </P>


          The responses here are correct. Do it in front of people or a video camera again and again. The stress will die off. [:)]</P>

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          • #6
            Re: Fear of playing infront of others



            Agree with what has been said, buthere's a different perspective:</P>


            Taking a vitamin B complex might also help calm the jitters a bit. I'd also avoid too much coffee or sugar beforehand, but do make sure you have eaten somethinghealthy, like a banana. [8-|]</P>

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            • #7
              Re: Fear of playing infront of others

              Thanks for the help guys!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Fear of playing infront of others

                [quote user="soubasse32"]


                Taking a vitamin B complex might also help calm the jitters a bit.</P>


                [/quote]</P>


                That's a new one to me; I've never heard of that use before. I know one performer who takes propranolol (a prescription beta blocker) occasionally for performance anxiety/shaking/trembling.</P>

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Fear of playing infront of others



                  Taking any sort of pill is new to me too. </p>

                  The only thing I "take" is a handkerchief so that I can wipe my hands dry before playing - when I'm nervous my hands sweat excessively (only my hands, I don't suffer from damp patches under my arms, thankfully!).
                  </p>
                  1971 Allen Organ TC-3S (#42904) w/sequential capture system.
                  Speakers: x1 Model 100 Gyro, x1 Model 105 & x3 Model 108.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Fear of playing infront of others



                    Agree with Ludwig tone. Very good advice. </P>


                    Play music that you know very well. Spend plenty of time on the organ that you will be playing on. Get as comfortable and as familiar as you can with the instrument in advance. Make note of registrations you like as well as any problems (e.g. a stop that doesn't work, etc.), so that you don't get any unpleasant surprises on the day you are to play. </P>


                    If you can use the pistons to save your settings that would be great. Then just write on a post-it note what each piston generally is, so that on the day of the service, if you forget what piston two was while playing a hymn, you can just look at the post-it note on the console, and voila! If you are unable to use the pistons, then see what settings already exist that you might consider using as well, and use the post-it note. Or, you may decide to use your own stuff. In which case, make sure you write down what you picked that day so that you don't forget. </P>


                    Just in case, maybe leave your music bag and organ shoes in the car the night before so that if you're all excited about the Sunday morning, you won't walk out the door and realize later that you forgot something important. You can even decide what you want to wear the night before and have it out so that when you wake up you won't have to think about what to wear. In other words, make the morning as smooth for you as possible. </P>


                    You conquer your fears by embracing them. Pray to God to help you to glorify Him in worship, and play in front of others as much as you can. The more you pray and put yourself on the "hot seat," the more the butterflies will go away. The same holds true for recitals and concerts. </P>


                    FEAR stands for: False Evidence About Reality. (A priest said this during a sermon). So in other words, what we fear usually never really happens, we've just blown things to such a proportion that we allow fear to almost paralyse us. Fear is simply an emotion whose purpose is not to paralyse us, but to tell us that something is about to happen which needs to be prepared for. So be prepared as much as you can by being as familiar as you can with the instrument and playing stuff that you feel completely comfortable with. </P>


                    As already suggested, you can also record yourself to see how things sound too. </P>


                    I've never heard about the vitamin B complex, so I'd like to hear more. Definitely avoid the coffee due to the caffeine (your sympathetic nervous system will already kick in a bit due to nerves, you don't need caffeine to jack up your blood pressure, pulse, and all that even more). Sugar will also get you more jittery. A banana is good for carbohydrates as well as potassium which will help give you energy. </P>


                    Be careful about any advice you may get about medication, such as taking beta blockers soley for calming the nerves as opposed to taking them due to an actual medical condition on the advice of a physician. (Although I am going more and more into music and teaching, I still make sure to keep my RN licence current). </P>

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                    • #11
                      Re: Fear of playing infront of others



                      I've been handling my own fear about playing in public by simplifying the music where possible or finding easier arrangements becuase someone said earlier that a simple piece played weill is better than a complex one played poorly. I just let our pianist do the embelisment because she's been playing the hymns longer than I've been alive. Eaiser arrangements also let me put in a little improvisation. </P>


                      I'm unfamiliar with music playedin the Mass. Is it publiced in simplified versions? What do they do in parishes where thereare no accomplished organists or good instruemts? Being in a Baptist church I'm sure I'll never have the chance to play a Mass. Just curious.</P>


                      I've sitll not overcome my fear of playing my trombone when my daughter is around.She is an all-state french horn player. I'ma mere wannabe playing at an eight grade level. </P>

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                      • #12
                        Re: Fear of playing infront of others



                        At risk of being labeled a 'drug pusher,' I'll throw out a little more info regarding the use of propranolol. Here are a few references I found interesting:</P>


                        http://idrs.org/publications/DR/DR16....Reynolds.html</P>


                        http://www2.fhs.usyd.edu.au/bach/sta...,%20assess.pdf (This is a fairly lengthy article, but the discussion of Drug Intervention starts on page 15.)</P>


                        http://www.ethanwiner.com/BetaBlox.html</P>


                        As I mentioned in a previous post, I know a performer (singer) who takes propranolol prior to certain performances. While she says that the medication does not calm her emotionally (i.e., she's still nervous), it helps greatly with the trembling and shaking she experiences. I also know an ophthalmologist who takes propranolol prior to performing cataract surgery to keep her hands from shaking.</P>


                        Of course, drug therapy shouldonly be considered as alast resort, and only under the guidance of a physician. There are contraindications to use of propranolol;it's not for everyone.</P>

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Fear of playing infront of others



                          I recently returned to the organ after a 20 year absence and have played in church a few times. Since I'm "new again", I really struggle with the nerves problem and this thread is of real interest to me. All the advice here seems excellent and I have been following most of it already. I have not heard or tried the use of Vitamin B complex. Let me suggest something along that line that I'm sure really helps me: Passion Flower extract.</p>

                          I read an article by a syndicated Doctor, Dr. Weil, and he recommended Passion Flower as an anti-anxiety herb. He claims that it works as well as the most common prescription anti-anxiety drug and has NO side effects. I tried it and I'm sure it helps. It has really cured me of the shakes, and makes me calmer when I play before people. I'll probably outgrow the need of this crutch, but it's a real help while I regain my composure.</p>

                          It can be purchased at some health food supplement stores or on-line. A lot of information can be found by Googling it. It is sometimes promoted as a natural remedy for insomnia, but it does this by reducing anxiety, not by making you drowsy.
                          </p>

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                          • #14
                            Re: Fear of playing infront of others



                            I'm not a man for chemical solutions to problems. My best advice would be to do it more! Practice, prepare and play, then repeat A LOT. Over time, you'll just get used to what you're doing, you'll realise that mistakes, when they occur, are not the end of the world, and you'll feel more and more comfortable with the idea that you've got a job to do that you're capable of doing, and you'll just get on with it. Try not to stray too far from your comfort zone in terms of music. There are lots of suitable manuals only albums out there if you're not comfortable playing with pedals all the time.</p>

                            Before you play (maybe the night before) visualise, in as much detail as you can mange, playing what you're going to play, with people there, and visualise it all going very well. Feel that sense of control over what you're doing, feel the fact that you have no real need to be nervous. Nobody is trying to catch you out, most will be extremely grateful for your efforts. Visualise a successful performance.
                            </p>

                            Incidentally, don't be fazed by the "real" pipes. Just enjoy it and remember: you can do this easily, the people listening don't change that. </p>

                            On the day, if I get nervous I find it really useful to focus on a particular line of music. It doesn't matter which one, but really concentrating on the music can help get through awkward spots. Remember, your hands know what they have to do, they'll only freeze if your brain stops them, so keeping your brain occupied with some particular aspect of things can help.
                            </p>

                            Best of luck!
                            </p>

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Fear of playing infront of others



                              Hey Enigma,</P>


                              Your situation sounds like mine. I was away from the organ for long periods of time. When I started again I could barely play chords and a bass line. What brings you back and what and whereare you playing? It took me a year and a half to get where I am now. I still mess up and experience some embarrasment. Fortunately our music diriector understands my learning curve and he is the only "professional" musicisn in the church. </P>

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