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The Secret to Feeling Calm When You Play Your Instrument

So, it’s the year 2009, I’m in college at that time, going to school in Seattle, Washington. And in Seattle, there is a jazz jam session at this bar called the Owl N’ Thistle. Cool little dive bar, exactly what you want in a jam session, kinda smells like stale booze, all the good stuff, right?

So, I go for the first time, even the second time, third time, fourth time, fifth time. Honestly, it really doesn’t matter at this point in my life. The same feeling inside of my body was always the same, it was just always the same, and that was terrified, tightness, stress, and anxiety before I went up to play. I was scared, I was horrified to play.  I had serious problems with performance anxiety.

Now, also at the same time, some of my colleagues within the school, players that were a little bit older than me, a little bit more experienced than me, noticed that I was playing really tensely, like they would look at my body when I was playing, when I was jamming with them and they would see that my shoulders would crunch up, that my hands were very tense and rigid, and they point that out to me and said, “Brent, you know I feel like there’s a lot of stress and tension in your body when you’re playing, and even though you play a lot of good stuff, it’s kinda coming across that way.” So, the problem, my friends, is I had not figured out how to play music in a calm state.

So, in today’s episode, what I wanna do is I wanna talk about the two sides of things. A- the performance anxiety side, but B – a secret to learning how to play calmly that we all can be working on and has helped me make a lot of improvements in this right now.

Welcome to episode 391

In this episode:
1.  How do we feel calm when we perform? 
2. 5 Tips for overcoming/avoiding  performance anxiety
4. Addressing the root cause and finding some tangible results
5. The secret to learning how to play calmly

Important Links:

LJS Inner Circle Membershiphttps://members.learnjazzstandards.com/sp/inner-circle-sales-page-podcast-direct/,

Listen to the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast https://www.learnjazzstandards.com/ljs-podcast/

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstrahttp://www.brentvaartstra.com
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for learnjazzstandards.com which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."

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