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Jul 19 2011, 09:26 AM
Joined: 18-July 11
Member No.: 286927
Morning, often read the messages, but have only just decided to join. I am currently waiting, not so patiently for my grade 5 theory results and also my grade 3 piano which I took last Saturday. I was just wondering if anyone has any tips for controlling my nerves. Have always suffered during my exams (I am grade 5 Sax and Clarinet) and was recommended the Bach remedy. But after taking what must have amounted to half a bottle in my cup of tea and also sprays on the tongue, I walked into the examination room and completely went to pieces...although well prepared and I ended up as a quivering wreck and came out in tears, not good for a 40 year old women! Help needed please, am seriously thinking of giving up on the lessons.
Jul 19 2011, 09:53 PM
Joined: 17-April 07
Member No.: 10759
Hello and welcome..
Forgive me but I am going to go out on a limb here but I strongly suspect that there are other stresses and strains in your life that are compounding themselves when it comes to perfomance or exam nerves..its all building up and whoosh out it comes when you took the exam..I could be wrong but it is a very common situation, more common than you imagine. Being totally prepared always helps as we know we can get through whatever happens so any doubts we have as to our level of competency can add to the worry..dont take an exam until you are way past that level and working on much harder repetoire, then it should be a lot easier..
Our basic brain operates on a fight or flight response when we had to leg it a bit smartish when being stalked by predators in early or pre history.. This particular part of the brain which is still present in our modern brains cannot seperate the difference between actual threat (Charging mammoth) and social threat (i.e. Performing nerves) and kicks a huge amount of adrenalin into our system..This in turn prepares us for a quick getaway and we start to sweat, get pannicky as the muscles tense and our mind becomes clouded with panic..our fingers go numb and everything seems to go Hairpins over Bustle..As a calming measure we take deep breaths in an attempt to calm oursleves, this is the worst thing we can do as we can hyperventilate as we overload the brain with oxygen..the best thing to do is exhale and hold the breath out to starve the system of excess oxygen which in turn will slow the flight or fight section of the brain down considerably and help us to remain calmer..Also by accepting that we are nervous that helps a lot rather than fighting it..I dont reccomend imagining the examiner naked..that could put you either right off or into a fit of giggles..
More performing will help so get out there and play for people so taking an exam will just be another performance..
I dealt with serious professional stage fright many many years ago and it does eventually pass but you will need to work through it and keep going..
Best of luck, don't beat yourself up, everyone can have a touch of nerves..and lord knows I've cried lots of times..
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