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Joined: 26 Oct 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:02 pm    Post subject: Confidence Reply with quote

Hello there, I'm a current second year music student at university based in London and I'm currently having a crisis moment.

I've got my Grade 8 from June/July 2013, had 16 violin lessons from a violin professor from a conservatoire (I have 4 remaining lessons for this current year), I even got accepted at another conservatoire in in 2013 whilst auditioning for universities/conservatoires, and planning to do the Violin Diploma hopefully this year...but I've had a big step back.

I failed my performance recital this summer which has never happened to me before. On my re-sit performance I ended up having a panic attack and just walked off stage full with full of shame. None of this has ever happened before. When I did 2 years music performance at college (best 2 years of my life) even though it was mainly contemporary band works and not classically based, we performed to each other on a nearly daily basis, however at uni we only had one workshop day. The only thing I can think of is that I haven't performed in front of people enough as I've only been practicing by myself. (bare in mind i was practicing around 3 hours a day)

One of my aims was to be a solo violinist, along with my other aims by the time I finish uni, and now I feel like that dream is pretty much gone. I've gone from a confident person with their instrument, to someone who has nearly no confidence at all

I hope someone here can help me and get me back on track Crying or Very sad
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Joined: 12 Aug 2010
Posts: 509
Location: Mt. Elgin, Ontario

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Melissa,

I understand how you feel. I've experienced this in my teens and have
seen this countless number of times in children.

First of all, you are normal. Making mistakes is part of life. They are
really stepping stones instead of failure. Actually I like to eliminate the
terms "success" and "failure" because they are really all relative dependent
on one's perspective).

For example, one might judge failure when one refuses to go on stage at
all. Another might judge failure for someone not trying again after failing.
(From what you wrote, you have accomplished quite a bit and have been
successful at it. It would not be right for one to judge you based on this
failure while you have a list of successes behind you.)

There is a violinist virtuoso that I'd like to refer you to. He is definitely
professional class and has already performed around the world. His name
is Alexander Shonert. He is willing to help ordinary people like you and
me, and at a very reasonable rate. I have already taken a few lessons
from him and have learned a lot. He will not only help you technically
and artistically, but will also prepare you for performance.

You can reach him here.
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Joined: 21 Jun 2008
Posts: 42
Location: Los Angeles, California/Boston, Massachusetts/New York, New York

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Melissa,

I am sorry to hear about those tough moments. Panic-attacks can be devastating to a performer's career. I'd encountered something similar to this years ago.

I asked my self these questions when I was trying to sort-out what was happening:
1. What triggered the attack?
This can be very helpful when trying to find the "trigger" event or situation that led to the attack. Sometimes it's obvious, other times, not so much.
2. What is my perception of the audience and my relationship to that perception?
Basically, what do you think when you are playing for an audience, what do you think of the audience (do you perceive them to be on your side, against you, or static) and how do you cultivate that relationship.
3. Why am I playing?
Are you playing to impress, are you playing for the sake of music, or do you have no solid idea.

After asking these questions I uncovered quite a few answers. Things like how you view the audience can be an incredible factor. In my case, the more I realized that the audience was my FRIEND the better I became at dissolving feelings of panic.

The TRUTH is that every performer has nerves before a performance, from Itzhak Perlman to Hilary Hahn. Panic-attacks are obviously a more extreme form of this, but its causes can be linked.

Remember that those coming to hear you are coming to hear YOU! They are there to support you and want to hear you perform! This statement is a bit generalized on my part as there will be people who do not like you're playing, but just like a garden that a has a few dead or dying things the majority of it is growing and the majority of the audience is supportive. You can't and shouldn't try to PLEASE the audience - it will never happen - instead offer your playing as a gift!

Just a small bit of advice that may be worth trying is to attempt to imagine the feeling of playing the violin when you first began. That (hopefully) joyful happiness that you experienced then, can be translated to your playing now and may help dissolve some of the panic.

I hope something in here is useful to you. It is though all my opinion and you're free to disregard it.

All the best.
- LSOviolinist
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