Nervous before your performance?
Say the alphabet backward in your mind to help regain a sense of calm. Scroll down to learn the limitations of this trick (and how to work around this) and watch a short video explaining why this works.
Basically, without using what I call the "$100 fancy medical-science words" (which I feel qualified to joke about after going to nursing school), we can explain our brain like a bunch of networks or pathways, if you will.
I like to visualize these pathways as being similar to spaghetti. When the brain is calm, all the spaghetti line up in a row and are organized. When the mind is anxious (like before a violin recital), the brain pathways get scrambled up like a plate of cooked noodles.
Here are my visuals:
This is why it is important to plan at least one relaxing activity for yourself (or your violin students) before giving a recital. I make this a part of the lesson, and the student declares what they want to do that will relax them, and I stress to the parent how important this is to the success of the student performing.
Next, it helps to have a few tricks to calm performance nerves immediately before a performance which is where the backward alphabet comes in. I have even done this as a group activity with all students together before we start our recital, and it's fun, gets the mind free from mustering up fears about the performance and calms the performer down.
However, the problem with this trick is that once the brain learns the pattern of a backward alphabet, this trick no longer works. Fear not; any word, name or phrase will work for this performance anxiety-relieving tip.
Below are some other words backward to demonstrate:
Have a tip to help relieve performance anxiety?
Please share in the comments below. Thanks!
Butterflies in your stomach?
Try this little trick of saying the alphabet backward in your head to re-route your mental circuits and steer away from the uncomfortable experience of performance anxiety.
One of the ways this works is because a backward alphabet is an unknown pattern to the mind. This also means it will become ineffective if used too frequently. If that is the case, then start spelling other words in your mind backward like: Violin Concerto and Johann Sebastian Bach:
How do you help your students alleviate the stress of performance anxiety? Please share in the comments below.
Hi! It's me, Heather. I absolutely love working on the Music for Young Violinists project and all the many facets: blogging, website, music, teaching materials, freebies, videos, newsletter and giveaway contests. The best part is connecting with you so feel free to drop me a line. You can learn more about me on the "ABOUT" page. Thanks!