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Keep Calm and Play the Violin – 3 Ways to Remain Calm when Playing

April 9th, 2016 by Katherine Moller

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice, practice, practice…  I am sure that you have all heard that old chestnut!  Sometimes even once you have practiced a difficult passage until you can play it, it will still cause you anxiety!  Here are 3 tips for overcoming anxiety while playing:

  1. keep calm t&t:  We naturally lean forward toward the music stand when we get to a difficult passage.  By leaning back a bit, it sends a message to your brain that you are feeling calm and relaxed.  This will often improve your playing.
  2. Breathe out:  Often when you are trying really hard, you hold your breath.  Breathing while you play is important in general; but if you breathe out as you are playing the hard passage, it will calm you.  I often use this trick!
  3. Focus on only one element:  I find that it sometimes causes me anxiety to think about playing a whole passage correctly, especially if I have been struggling with it.  Instead of trying to get everything right, focus on trying to get just one more element right each time.  This takes some of the pressure off, even for me, and I can often play the whole passage.

Have fun practicing and performing!

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