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I play tenor in a community big band. The problem I'm haveing is we when we have a gig and it's my turn to play a written solo I seem to screw it up every time but when I practice at home I can play it fine. How do I get over this hurdle? Thank you for any tips or advice in advance.
 

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This is a tricky one,

Really, nerves just go away with time and playing live more will help but it takes a while. it happens to everyone, even michael brecker probably got nervous as a kid and maybe messed some things up so just go gig plenty and you will start to feel better and a bit more confident.

The other thing I can suggest for written solos is learning them off by heart. If I learn something really well off by heart it usually sticks and I understand it on a deeper level than dots on the page, so maybe knowing the solo through and through but still having the page there as a reminder just in case you might do better?
 

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This is a tricky one,

Really, nerves just go away with time and playing live more will help but it takes a while. it happens to everyone, even michael brecker probably got nervous as a kid and maybe messed some things up so just go gig plenty and you will start to feel better and a bit more confident.

The other thing I can suggest for written solos is learning them off by heart. If I learn something really well off by heart it usually sticks and I understand it on a deeper level than dots on the page, so maybe knowing the solo through and through but still having the page there as a reminder just in case you might do better?
The problem is being in the spotlight,can put pressure on anyone , a few do excel from it, but on the whole you have to put trust in your ability.
Ok i agree if you can learn as much of the solo as you can?, thats going to help,try breaking the passages into small chunks" internalize them play them through.
When you have the first four bars off, move onto the next,play it by ear/finger memory, then look again at the music!..check its the same?.
Keep going until you can hopefully play most of it by ear, this will help!.
I f you struggle with reading, i doo...using your memory/ear is the best way forward.
 

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You have to develop what I call a "healthy don't' give a **** attitude".

But I have to qualify that. You have to take it seriously and do your best and not be willing to settle for anything less. But you also have to have a "healthy" outlook, to accept that things happen and not be uptight about it and not worry about mistakes if/when they happen.

Music is a temporal art. Once something is sounded you can't change it or take it back. You have to accept that that wrong note is already in the past - it no longer exists - and concern yourself only with the present, the moment.

Of course another side to that is preparation, that an amateur practises until he gets it right and a professional practices it until he can't get it wrong

Regarding stage fright, there are plenty of threads about that which you can find and read.
 

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I play tenor in a community big band. The problem I'm haveing is we when we have a gig and it's my turn to play a written solo I seem to screw it up every time but when I practice at home I can play it fine. How do I get over this hurdle? Thank you for any tips or advice in advance.
I bet you are trying to play it louder with the band than you do at home, and if you try to play it TOO loud, the horn misbehaves. Dial the volume back a notch and see if it helps. Conversely, when practicing at home, play it louder to more closely resemble what you are trying to do in public.

Also, perhaps try a slightly harder reed in band. I don't mean go out and buy harder reeds, I mean pick one of the naturally harder reeds out of the batch you already have. This will help a little with the natural tendency to play louder when you have a band behind you.
 

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All good advice - My .02 to go along with that would be to suggest you relax. I mean really relax. Make a concious effort to do whatever zen thing you need to do right before your big moment and instead of thinking about the music - Think about relaxing. Your chops will flow smooth and sweet if you just let your body take over. It knows the part - too much thought and you lose it.
 

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You have to develop what I call a "healthy don't' give a **** attitude".

But I have to qualify that. You have to take it seriously and do your best and not be willing to settle for anything less. But you also have to have a "healthy" outlook, to accept that things happen and not be uptight about it and not worry about mistakes if/when they happen.
Smart, very smart.
 

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I can relate to what Gary suggested and I recommend you think deeply on it.

I suffer from stage fright to the degree that my hands shake and wobble like a fat lady's bum.

To give an example, I mentioned in a recent thread that I have to do the demonstrations for the school kids each year. I can remember being so nevous once and having the shakes so bad that I couldn't play the clarinet at all. Seriously! I was supposed to just play "Blues in the Closet" What could be simpler? Most of my beginner kids can rip through this blues head after about 8 weeks of lessons.
I got up and made a total **** up of a tune I've played a zillion times.

It's more than just being prepared.

I still get terrible stage fright, but it does get less as time passes provided you

a) Force yourself to perform. This isn't easy if you suffer from stage fright. But you have to do it.

What got me through was

b) Do what Gary said and develop a healthy does of "I could give **** what you think of my playing." You do your best but don't put heavy expectations upon yourself. Aim to play the first note well and anything else is a bonus when you're still finding your stage feet.
Next time aim to play the first 2 notes well.

It's important to remember that the audience are on your side. They want you to do well and unless you live in Tasmania the audience are intelligent enough to understand that you're nervous and they'll be pretty forgiving.

It's also important to totally disregard the fear of looking bad in front of the more experienced musicians. Everyone was nervous to start with. Everyone misses notes. Any decent pro will go out of their way to help you get back on track. Whether it's calling out changes when you lose the form on a standard, or whatever, most cats know what you're going through and will remember what it was like. The others are just proof that instruments can grow *******s.

So just have fun and remember that Tiger Woods shanks it occasionaly and that Babe Ruth struck out more than anyone else too!

IT WILL PASS WITH TIME.
 

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I play tenor in a community big band. The problem I'm haveing is we when we have a gig and it's my turn to play a written solo I seem to screw it up every time but when I practice at home I can play it fine. How do I get over this hurdle? Thank you for any tips or advice in advance.
Does this actually have to do with being nervous, or are you having trouble 'finding yourself' when playing with the band? Do you screw up at rehearsals too?
 

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First, I'll duplicate the answer about learning the solo. One of my old teachers, Red Price, used to say "don't practise it until you get it right, practise until you don't get it wrong"

My favourite trick to feel at ease is to imagine the audience naked, (or in their underwear at least if that is too horrible a concept).

I have a short article on performance nerves and stage fright, you might find that useful.
 

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Thanks for posting that Pete.

Here's a question.

If everyone gets stage fright, shouldn't we just see it as part of the whole learning process?

Instead of trying to avoid, ameliorate, or deny it, and in so doing, exacerbate it, what would happen if we just shrugged our shoulders and accepted that for a while at least we're gonna screw up royally?

What if we said to ourselves "Hey I'm new at this live performance thing and I'm more than likely gonna get more things wrong than right for a while yet."

Wouldn't the acceptance of the situation take a great worry off our shoulders. Wouldn't it free us up to concentrate more on our playing and less on the consequenses of screwing up?
 

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What if we said to ourselves "Hey I'm new at this live performance thing and I'm more than likely gonna get more things wrong than right for a while yet."
Yes,in some/many cases. But the problem is that everybody is so different. Kind of a glass half full or half empty situation.

This might work very well for some people, but for others perhaps it might reinforce the likelihood of them going wrong.

So there could be just as many people for whom "I'm going out there and I'm going to get it right!", might be a better thought process.

However one of the hardest things to reassure yourself is that many mistakes are not noticed by the audience. But this is extremely difficult to do.
 
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