Beta-Blockers orchestra audition classical musicians

Our episode today is part 1 of 2 episodes about fear and anxiety. Today is mostly about immediate anxiety, or stage fright and some coping skills, including the ever controversial…Beta-Blockers.

We aren’t medical professionals, so always talk to your doctor first before trying them. However, we are dedicated to having authentic and transparent conversations about our experiences.

But drugs are not the only way to reduce the effects of being nervous, and we go into some of the other options to having a successful audition or performance.

Listen to the Podcast Below:

Show Notes

Anxiety Issues:

Shakey bow
Memory loss
Shakey knee??
Losing the bigger picture musically (over thinking the situation in the anxiety filled moment)
Zooming in on one aspect
Black out! (no memory of what actually happened on stage)
Losing the musicality because you’re so focused on the technical aspects
Dry mouth

  • Does having a specific/detailed plan for how you are going to play a piece in performance, does that help combat anxiety? (YES)
  • Think of anxiety as a tangible thing that takes up space. The more space that is occupied by your specific plan for how to play a piece/excerpt/concert, the less room there is for anxiety.

Eustress vs Distress aka Good Stress vs. Bad Stress

BETABLOCKERS!!! Talk to your doctor first!!

Betas block the nerves…what about that nervous edge that HELPS you?
….can slow down reaction time
….can make you feel fuzzy/foggy brained
…you are lit’rally drugged

  • Betas can help counter the physical manifestations of nerves (shakiness, out of control heart rate, etc)
  • Betas are NOT a quick fix – there’s a science behind it that needs to be tried and tested to find out how YOU react to it.

What else can you do to combat the physical reactions of stress?

  • Breathing exercises!
  • Biting into a lemon slice?!?!
  • Bananas?!
  • Visualization (helps with mental part)

How much of anxiety is actually mental vs physical?

If nerves can knock you down, can confidence lift you up?

Upping your mental game will help you combat SOME nerves.

Books to Read:

The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance

10-Minute Toughness: The Mental Training Program for Winning Before the Game Begins

By Don Greene – Audition Success (1st Edition) (6/17/01)

Sign off failures that take 10 minutes because nerves

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What has been your experience with Beta Blockers? And what else do you do to reduce nervousness?