Essential Secrets 91: Understand Your Nervous Cycles
Understand Your Nervous Cycles
Taking Control of Your Feelings
Some musicians are lucky. They never get nervous before a performance. Everyone else needs to understand their nervous cycles.
First off, know that you are nervous because playing bass is important to you. You care so much about your music that you’re worried about making it sound just right. Consider yourself lucky. Many people have nothing they are passionate about.
Second, learn how your nerves affect you physically. Do you get sweaty palms? Dry mouth? The shakes? Increased heart rate? Shallow breathing? Need to go to the bathroom? Without this awareness, you can’t overcome the negative effects.
Third, be aware of the timeline of your nervous cycle. Some musicians feel overcome with nerves right before a performance or even an hour before they take the stage. Others are afflicted while they’re performing. Learn what you can and cannot get accomplished when you feel nervous. Don’t waste time practicing or warming up if you know these won’t be effective. Instead, fill the time with something that will calm you down.
Fourth, decide on a remedy to counteract your symptoms. Quickly recognizing your body’s reaction to feeling nervous can help you eliminate these reactions just as they start— ending the cycle and saving precious time. Perhaps deep breathing exercises, stretching, selfhypnosis, or a brief visualization will help. Maybe visit the bathroom just before you walk on stage, or carry a towel or a glass of water on stage with you. Some musicians even use beta blockers to feel in control physically.
Finally, decide to push your nervous feelings—which are a by-product of your desire for success—into the intensity of your music. Do not let your nerves affect your private thoughts or arouse your inner critic. Instead, take all that raw emotion and let it escape through your bass. This is the best way to deal with your nervous energy.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET