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Performance Anxiety and Breathing Trouble


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Jerry
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Joined: 20 Jan 2002
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Location: San Diego

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had trouble playing to the best of my ability in certain performance environments, especially auditions. When I mentioned this issue to my trumpet teacher, he gave me contact information for a hypnotherapist in the LA area who specialized in working with performers. After 3 or 4 sessions with this therapist, I no longer experience the degradation in my playing when I would be in (what I would describe as) stressful playing situations.

I have never been diagnosed with any anxiety disorder.
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Seymor B Fudd
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Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

drboogenbroom wrote:
I love when the web site eats something I just spent an hour working on.

Here's the bottom line I'm going to share with the OP:

We just had a thread on here suggesting that people giving advice about trumpet playing should share their "credentials" so people could make informed decisions about "quality" of the source. You just got a fair amount of good trumpet advice that had a fair amount of amateur medical advice rolled into it, and I don't see anyone listing their training as health professionals. (Disclosure, I have 0 medical training.)

If you have a medical condition, including a mental one, trust your doctor.

Kevin



Kevin! I wholeheartedly agree. Seen too many pepple getting ruined by too many non-professionals. And as I have been working in this area since 1967 I have witnessed too many persons being medicated out of their wits by ignorant psychiatrists who know far too little about the human mind. Of course this is a sweeping statement. You should never generalize! Of course I have seen lots of human beings who were very helped by carefully prescribed medication. Participated in the endless battle between those who advocate only biological explanations versus the opposite. Futile since in the individual case we could find all forms of interplay. What causes the OP:s condition of course is impossible to learn from just reading here. In my reply I wanted to put it in everyday terms but also underline that on the personal level this indeed is an unnecessary suffering that could be alleviated, by different means, mostly psychological as the first line of arrangements. As much as I am in for careful diagnostics often a diagnosis could act as a limitating sentence - restricting ones possibilities. The sum of the human mind is more than transmittors, nervepaths, chemistry, synapses.
But, me, I think I know what I talk about. Having "combined" psychology with horn blowing since the dawn of me as man
Sheer modesty stops me from disclosing my credentials. On this forum I am a horn-blower; but also a rather seasoned human being. "hear me talkin' to ' ya"!! stated already roughly 80 years ago by a rather well-known trumpeter...
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TrumpetMD
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Joined: 22 Oct 2008
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Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

instofbrassdestruction wrote:
TrumpetMD wrote:
An "anxiety disorder" is a very specific medical diagnosis, which requires evaluation by a physician and specific treatments to correct. Has a doctor made this diagnosis in your situation? If not, then I think it would be premature to suggest that you have this condition.

Yes, a doctor did diagnose me around seven or eight months ago.

Thank you for the well wishes.

Thanks for the clarification. An "anxiety disorder" and "performance anxiety" are two different things. I just wanted to clarify what you were asking about. Having one condition doesn't necessarily mean you have to have the other. But they can overlap. And from what you're saying, it sounds like they might be doing just that.

To sum up what I think you're say, you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, and are under a doctors care. In addition you have issues with performance anxiety, and feel that one issue might be impacting the other.

If you think the anxiety disorder is impacting your performance anxiety, it might be worth talking to your doctor or psychologist about this. Maybe bring your trumpet along, to show him/her what is going on. I think that they would want to know what your anxiety triggers are, so they can work with you to overcome them.

At the same time, I think the general advice given by others about performance anxiety is worth considering. Possibly this is something you can work on with your teacher.

drboogenbroom wrote:
We just had a thread on here suggesting that people giving advice about trumpet playing should share their "credentials" so people could make informed decisions about "quality" of the source. You just got a fair amount of good trumpet advice that had a fair amount of amateur medical advice rolled into it, and I don't see anyone listing their training as health professionals. (Disclosure, I have 0 medical training.)

If you have a medical condition, including a mental one, trust your doctor.

Kevin

I agree 100% with Kevin's last statement ... trust your doctor (not us). But at the same time, I think it's okay for people to talk about their shared experiences. It's just my opinion, but I don't think anyone here has offered medical advice, nor do I think anyone should. However, I do think some of us made general comments about mental health and mental health medications, which I suppose could be interpreted as medical advice. But I think it was more likely offered as political commentary (which if it was, is fine by me).

Since the topic of "credentials" came up, for the record, I am a practicing physician in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine. But even with that, I wouldn't give specific medical advice to someone who wasn't a patient of mine.

NYC-player wrote:
You know...nowadays, we are so quick to say " go see a doctor, or psychologist "....

I agree with NYC. No one can say in an online forum whether someone should or shouldn't see a doctor. It's up to the individual to decide.

I wish the OP all the best, and hope he does well in October.

Mike
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Seymor B Fudd
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Joined: 17 Oct 2015
Posts: 361
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TrumpetMD wrote:
instofbrassdestruction wrote:
TrumpetMD wrote:
An "anxiety disorder" is a very specific medical diagnosis, which requires evaluation by a physician and specific treatments to correct. Has a doctor made this diagnosis in your situation? If not, then I think it would be premature to suggest that you have this condition.

Yes, a doctor did diagnose me around seven or eight months ago.

Thank you for the well wishes.

Thanks for the clarification. An "anxiety disorder" and "performance anxiety" are two different things. I just wanted to clarify what you were asking about. Having one condition doesn't necessarily mean you have to have the other. But they can overlap. And from what you're saying, it sounds like they might be doing just that.

To sum up what I think you're say, you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, and are under a doctors care. In addition you have issues with performance anxiety, and feel that one issue might be impacting the other.

If you think the anxiety disorder is impacting your performance anxiety, it might be worth talking to your doctor or psychologist about this. Maybe bring your trumpet along, to show him/her what is going on. I think that they would want to know what your anxiety triggers are, so they can work with you to overcome them.

At the same time, I think the general advice given by others about performance anxiety is worth considering. Possibly this is something you can work on with your teacher.

drboogenbroom wrote:
We just had a thread on here suggesting that people giving advice about trumpet playing should share their "credentials" so people could make informed decisions about "quality" of the source. You just got a fair amount of good trumpet advice that had a fair amount of amateur medical advice rolled into it, and I don't see anyone listing their training as health professionals. (Disclosure, I have 0 medical training.)

If you have a medical condition, including a mental one, trust your doctor.

Kevin

I agree 100% with Kevin's last statement ... trust your doctor (not us). But at the same time, I think it's okay for people to talk about their shared experiences. It's just my opinion, but I don't think anyone here has offered medical advice, nor do I think anyone should. However, I do think some of us made general comments about mental health and mental health medications, which I suppose could be interpreted as medical advice. But I think it was more likely offered as political commentary (which if it was, is fine by me).

Since the topic of "credentials" came up, for the record, I am a practicing physician in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine. But even with that, I wouldn't give specific medical advice to someone who wasn't a patient of mine.

NYC-player wrote:
You know...nowadays, we are so quick to say " go see a doctor, or psychologist "....

I agree with NYC. No one can say in an online forum whether someone should or shouldn't see a doctor. It's up to the individual to decide.
I wish the OP all the best, and hope he does well in October.

Mike



+1! + it's up to the individual if the doctor should be trusted; with that I specifically mean does one get a feeling of trustworthiness + deep knowledge, am I being listened to etc. Do we share a mutual understanding - or does our possible doctor possess the ability to explain.
Of course in an emergency situation I would rather be saved than explained to....
All the best to our OP
_________________
Cornets:
Getzen Custom Series Denis Wick Ultra 7C
Getzen 300 series
Getzen Eterna Eb Schilke 14 B
Trumpets:
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King Super 20 Symphony DB (1970) Brand (swiss made) Lead/DW Ultra 7C
Selmer Eb/D trumpet (1973)/H.Selmer 2 D
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NYC-player
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Joined: 03 Jun 2016
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The world has become so wussified.

Whatever happened to stand up and be a man.
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Seymor B Fudd
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Joined: 17 Oct 2015
Posts: 361
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NYC-player wrote:
The world has become so wussified.

Whatever happened to stand up and be a man.



At least in Sweden. We are the homeland of the "know-it-alls".
If we ever stand up we do so collectively.
Or being leadtrumpeters.
_________________
Cornets:
Getzen Custom Series Denis Wick Ultra 7C
Getzen 300 series
Getzen Eterna Eb Schilke 14 B
Trumpets:
Bach 1B Commercial ML
King Super 20 Symphony DB (1970) Brand (swiss made) Lead/DW Ultra 7C
Selmer Eb/D trumpet (1973)/H.Selmer 2 D
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danny45635
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Joined: 01 Feb 2015
Posts: 479
Location: New York

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going into my senior year of high school too. I try to stay as relaxed as I can before an audition/performance, and try to plan my day to make sure I don't have anything that can distract me (like being late, forgetting mutes/music etc). I try to pack my case with everything I need the night before to ensure I'm prepared. I know this may not apply to your situation, but it gives me some comfort knowing I'm all set. I also do a lot of slow relaxed breaths before I play in an audition/performance (on the way there and right before), which has really helped me maintain a more relaxed mood while performing. The performance anxiety I've been able to overcome is nowhere near as bad as what you describe though. I still get a little performance anxiety when I'm playing out of my comfort zone, like improvising in jazz. Cause you have an anxiety disorder, I'm not sure if what I said above will help, but it's my two cents. I hope your audition goes well!
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BudBix
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Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Posts: 382
Location: Atlanta, GA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:44 am    Post subject: Re: Performance Anxiety and Breathing Trouble Reply with quote

I recently read about a study where the participants were told to think to themselves "I'm exicited!" Based on The idea that it would be easier transition from a anxious state to an excited state because they are physiologically similar emotions. I find the very hard to move to a relaxed body state once the adrenaline kicks in. The study found those who were instructed to say I'm exicited did about 20% better than the control group.
A longer term solution could be meditation. Check out Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabot-Zinn. He's help a lot of people reduce anxiety with his Mindfullness based stress relief program.


instofbrassdestruction wrote:
Hello all!
I will be a senior in high school this coming fall, and I am currently working on audition ťtudes for All-District (and hopefully All-State) band. I have been working since mid-April and I have made a decent amount of progress since then. Auditions arenít until October, so I am not extremely concerned about being unprepared technically, but I am worried about getting too nervous and ruining my audition.

I suffer from an anxiety disorder, so as you can imagine my performance anxiety is ridiculous. I tend to see black spots (to the point where my music is barely visible), get extremely hot and sweaty, and I have a huge problem with shortness of breath during solos in front of small audiences. Itís gotten to the point that Iím nervous working on my ťtudes with my band director. I canít seem to get air through my trumpet and my chest begins to feel heavy, and thatís exactly what it sounds like.

My band director suggested eating bananas and taking baby aspirin before performances, and I tried it before a judged solo and didnít black out, but still experienced the shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat. I am just wondering if any of you have dealt with a breathing problem and possibly have any suggestions.

Thank you!
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ssbtrumpet1
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All great advice here; I'm not opposed to going the medication route for specific events if need be - or just get through that one recital/audition.

One thing I began doing in the recent past is to try "practice for the moment." This would incorporate a lot of visualization of the event your practicing for, but with one exception: try to make yourself feel the nerves you're going to feel during the audition. I've heard and done all the visualization routines to overcome the nerves, but little helped. It was only until I started practicing to get nervous that I started to overcome my performance anxiety. I rationalized that if I visualize the performance situation, and the nerves I would mostly be experiencing, I would better prepare myself for the performance situation. For me, it worked; I was able to take the edge off the performance anxiety and perform with managable nerves.

One could also arge that practicing to get nervous will only make you nervous, and you very well may be right. This is just what worked for me. I've always felt that the missing piece to the visualization method was practicing what you're going to feel like during the performance; get used to the nerves; then desensitize yourself to the nerves or a least get a handle on them.

YMMV
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JoseLindE4
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Visualizing getting nervous and handling it well takes away more fear than visualizing staying calm. At a certain point, performance anxiety becomes a fear of fear itself: you aren't afraid of playing poorly, you're afraid of the symptoms of anxiety.

This type of fear a strange thing. If you're in a state of performing perfectly calmly, you can barely conceive of the mindset of the panicked performer. If the world is falling apart around you, the idea of calmness seems completely foreign. Each side of the fence is invisible to the other, even when you've been on the other side. You can't really imagine the fear of being chased by a lion unless a lion is currently in hot pursuit.

Medications are never the preferred solution, but the correct one, thoughtfully prescribed, can make someone's life way better. I suspect that a lot of folks were self-medicating their anxieties away with booze and drugs back in the gold-old-days. Self-medicating is a very terrible idea.

The best drug-free solution I've found is to do it more. Find opportunities to play in front of people. It can work well to find the most pressure-free performance environment and work up from there. Be casually mindful of your anxiety levels.
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area51recording
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NYC-player wrote:
The world has become so wussified.

Whatever happened to stand up and be a man.



This. Summon your inner Clint Eastwood. After a few years of that, you can try summoning your inner Chuck Norris, but that's only for the truly advanced....
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Mr.ozinsky
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Joined: 09 Mar 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Performance Anxiety and Breathing Trouble Reply with quote

instofbrassdestruction wrote:
Hello all!

I will be a senior in high school this coming fall, and I am currently working on audition ťtudes for All-District (and hopefully All-State) band. I have been working since mid-April and I have made a decent amount of progress since then. Auditions arenít until October, so I am not extremely concerned about being unprepared technically, but I am worried about getting too nervous and ruining my audition.

I suffer from an anxiety disorder, so as you can imagine my performance anxiety is ridiculous. I tend to see black spots (to the point where my music is barely visible), get extremely hot and sweaty, and I have a huge problem with shortness of breath during solos in front of small audiences. Itís gotten to the point that Iím nervous working on my ťtudes with my band director. I canít seem to get air through my trumpet and my chest begins to feel heavy, and thatís exactly what it sounds like.

My band director suggested eating bananas and taking baby aspirin before performances, and I tried it before a judged solo and didnít black out, but still experienced the shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat. I am just wondering if any of you have dealt with a breathing problem and possibly have any suggestions.

Thank you!


I had a great teacher who used to tell me that the only way performances and these issues get easier is to constantly put your self in situations where you are performing so that the more you do it the easier it becomes.

I would also recommend singing your parts. So when you find yourself in a performance situation you are relying more on your brains ability to hear the music on the page in front of you rather than thinking about the physical and psychological issues with performing.
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