Have You Ever Messed Up In Performance Due To Nervousness?

Sent Friday, May 31, 2013

Clarinet Mentors
For clarinetists who want to perform more easily and beautifully
In This Issue                                           May 30, 2013            
  • A Note From Michelle Anderson - my days of looking like a hockey player
  • Free Training - 4 tips for reducing performance anxiety 
  • Michelle Recommends -  other technics for reducing the effects of nervousness
  • Clarinet Is Easy - Step-by-step video lessons to help you improve your clarinet playing and save you a lot of time and frustration
A Note from Michelle Anderson

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to the Clarinet Mentors bi-weekly newsletter. 

It has been a crazy couple of weeks for me. Lots of playing, and then, earlier this week, I broke a front tooth in a way that made clarinet-playing pretty well impossible (I looked like I was right out of an NHL scuffle...). Tricky to practise, and quite frustrating. I also had to figure out how to record a clarinet video for this newsletter without playing clarinet! (If you look closely, you might be able to see my "hockey-player" smile!) As it happened, one school where I teach several students, had a fairly high-pressure music exam this past week. Many of the students were battling stage-fright, or performance anxiety. This is pretty common. I thought that it was a good time to share with you some of the technics that have worked for me.

This weekend, myself and colleagues of mine from the Lion's Gate Sinfonia, are performing with the local Youth Orchestra as a way of mentoring the next generation of musicians. I always enjoy these sorts of performances. (Thanks to my dentist for getting me back in shape!) I hope that you are all enjoying performing your clarinet this week.

If you are new to the Clarinet Mentors community,  I welcome you to this newsletter. It comes out every two weeks, usually on Wednesday,  and contains some of my favorite clarinet pointers and ideas for you.

Have a great week, and thanks for being a part of my community!

Free Training - Nerves! Aaack! Help!
Have you ever felt as though you completely crashed during a performance?
Have you felt nervous and made weird mistakes?
Almost all musicians have likely experienced this at some point. It never feels good! Some people seem immune to performance anxiety, and others experience it regularly. For myself, I perform quite frequently, and it is true that experience does lessen nervousness. Things aren't quite as scary when they become more familiar. Having said that, there are still moments when I am performing something that feels extra challenging to me (and usually also quite exposed, such as a solo) when I feel my heart speed up and the panic meter starts to beep "red alert"... At times in the past, this would lead to the proverbial crash and burn. It was very frustrating!
Luckily, I have learned some technics that really help me to minimize the effects of nerves on my performances. I have actually made extensive study of these technics, and I use them regularly with myself and my students. I recommend that you try some, or all, of these before your next big performance. They work well when used daily for a week or so before the performance. These videos really just give you a small taste of these technics. If they work for you, I encourage you to seek out more information about them. Having said that, even though I was trying to be brief, I still went over YouTube's time limit, so I have had to divide these video lessons into two parts. Both links are below. These are good resources to keep in mind when you find yourself feeling nervous about an upcoming performance.
Please add your comments and questions to the YouTube comments section below the video. I enjoy hearing from you, and I do check in to answer those comments a couple of times a week.
Please click the image above for Part One.
Click on the image above to view Part Two of this two-part video lesson.  
I have more videos currently in production. If there are topics that you would like help with, please send me some suggestions. If you are on Facebook, you can post your comments at: http://www.facebook.com/ClarinetMentors
Michelle Recommends - Other ways to control performance anxiety
There are many different ways to minimize the effects of anxiety on our musical performances. The four technics in the videos above are my personal favourites. They are the ones that I personally use, and teach to my long-term students. Some of my colleagues have done much more study in this area than myself. Here are two other technics that have been recommended to me, so I will pass them onto you if you want further resources:
  1. NLP (Neuro-Lingusitic Programming) - This science basically examines how we condition ourselves to respond to situations in our lives, and helps us to condition a different response than what we currently get. There are books, practitioners and even YouTube videos to give you more information about this. I am curious to know if any of you have used NLP in your life, and in particular, in your musical endeavours.
  2. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) - This is a therapy that is also applied to minimize different stresses in life, in particular, serious trauma. Your performance anxiety may not qualify as serious trauma, but I personally know an amazing musician who uses this technic to successfully overcome major performance anxiety. 
I have not personally studied these two practises, but I have heard of them being used very successfully by other musicians. I recommend them to those of you that are curious, and seeking more knowledge. I would love to hear of your own experiences with these, or other technics.
Clarinet Is Easy - Your Step-by-Step Beginner Course - Now Available! (Also enjoyed by many intermediate level players)
How To Solve Your Common Clarinet Frustrations and Play Clarinet More Easily
I firmly believe that if anyone has the "recipe" for how to play clarinet, things are really relatively easy to do. Most of our frustrations come from inadvertently learning bad habits along the way. With that in mind, I have created for you a 10-lesson comprehensive course for beginners (and self-taught intermediate players) that gives you the tools to truly learn the clarinet easily, while avoiding all of the most common frustrations that can plague us. I believe that these lessons can save you hours of grief by giving you the best practise systems that have worked for hundreds of clarinetists. The lessons have great content, and are presented in a video format so that you can watch them again and again. If you would like to play with more ease and have a clear understanding of the fundamentals of clarinet playing, you can get more information on the Clarinet Is Easy course here (including some free preview videos):
If you are curious about this, you can also try the first lesson with a 100% Money-Back Guarantee. If it is not the right style for you, you get your tuition refunded, no problem.
About Michelle Anderson
Michelle Anderson, the founder of Clarinet Mentors,  is a professional clarinetist and teacher who currently lives in Vancouver BC. Her professional career spans  30 years and she currently plays regularly with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, the Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the West Coast Chamber Music series. She has performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Touring Orchestra and many other groups. Michelle currently specializes in teaching adults to play clarinet more easily and quickly through online resources, and conducts the Vancouver Clarinet Choir.
Michelle Anderson, Clarinet
Thanks for reading this biweekly newsletter.
Helping you to find success on your instrument with sound teaching techniques, and useful learning systems.


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