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 Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2018-03-28 23:15

Anyone have favorite foods that help cool the nerves before an important performance?
I know bananas are calming. Any other suggestions?

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: rmk54 
Date:   2018-03-28 23:42

I have a student from India who swears by coconut water.

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-03-28 23:46

Hi Ken, I believe any food which increases serotonin will help calm you down.

From a Google search, these foods increase serotonin:

1) Eggs
2) Cheese
3) Pineapple
4) Tofu
5) Salmon
6) Nuts and seeds
7) Turkey

Again, according to my Google search, "eggs can significantly boost your blood plasma levels of tryptophan" which is then converted into serotonin.

Bananas as loaded with magnesium. I believe it's well documented that magnesium "calms the nerves" as well as help the digestive system "move the food along".

There has been some talk about beta-blockers on this BB in the past. Personally, I prefer Diazepam (Valium). It's fast and very effective.

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2018-03-29 00:06

And doesn't dull your concentration?

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-03-29 00:55

Well, it depends upon what mg amount you take. For low level anxiety, a 2mg amount might just do the trick for you. If your anxiety level is off the scale, you may have to resort to taking 5mg. It all depends upon your self anxiety analysis.

Another common anti-anxiety medication is Clonazepam. I find it to be weaker in effectiveness and it takes much long in my system to become effective.

As to concentration, I believe that all depends upon the difficulty level of music that you are playing. I believe some music requires an incredible level of concentration while other styles of music require less.

These are just suggestions that you might want to try and see how they affect you.

One last note (yep, pun intended!)...IMHO, the attitude one has is of paramount importance. I've played the double keyboard organ for over 50 years and have give more than a few solo concerts. One of the things I've learned is that if I play to please the audience, I'll probably fumble all over and makes mistakes. If I sit down at the keyboard with the attitude of "Man, I am going to have one heck of a total blast!", I usually play much better and...the audience notices it right away.

Just my 2 cents worth...

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: jonathan.wallaceadams 
Date:   2018-03-29 01:25

My teacher swears by pasta.

Just an aspiring student.
Buffet Tradition
Mpc.: Hawkins "G", Barrel: Moba, Reeds: Reserve 3.5+

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2018-03-29 02:32

I eat a single reed that I've stir-fried with soy sauce and some other vegetables and roughage. I make all the other reeds watch so that they will be on their best behavior when it counts....

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-03-29 03:18

banana and salmon sushi- the good thing about sushi is you can get a 6 pack and just eat enough that you don't feel hungry, then finish it after the gig

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2018-03-29 04:29

Just don’t over-eat!

IDK about performance nerves, but “Traditional Medicinals Chamomile and Lavender Tea” helps me calm down before bed. Chamomile and/or Lavender are calming for a lot of people, but having tried several teas, I think it must be the Lemon Balm in this that does the trick for me. Only three ingredients. Your grocery store might have it.

- Matthew Simington

Post Edited (2018-03-29 04:32)

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2018-03-29 04:57

What if you wanted to go the other way, i.e., more intense? What would you eat for that?

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-03-29 05:38

I think a 100mg caffeine tablet would do just fine! Or, have a high caffeine drink with your dinner.

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-03-29 06:40

At my first college audition, I played ok but I knew I could've played better. Although I wasn't nervous, and didn't feel nervous when I went in the room, my heart started accelerando-ing as soon as I started to play, and I also found myself running out of air quickly.

So I rewatched some YouTube videos created by professionals that talked about dealing with nerves during performances. I had watched them all countless times, but I decided to follow their advices closely. I played my audition music for a lot of people: friends, family, and followers on Instagram (social media). And I copied Albrecht Mayer's pre-performance meal (banana and herbal tea) for my UCLA audition, and for me it has worked for me ever since. My audition at UCLA turned out to be the best I could have ever asked for, as well as the result :)

But there's much more to eliminating stress than just eating bananas. It's also the amount of preparation that goes in so you feel confident walking in and performing. Albrecht Mayer said the worst feeling is when you walk in and think "oh [shoot] I think I could've practiced a bit more, I'm not so 100% prepared this time." And I totally agree. Practice will make you less stressed out, but there are other tips (such as what food to eat) that can alleviate a bit more stress.

Here's the link to the video in case anybody wants to take a look at it. It was very helpful for me.

-- Ray Zhang

Post Edited (2018-03-29 07:33)

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: blazian 
Date:   2018-03-29 10:58

Donald, I read that as one menu item. Bananas and salmon: good for the soul.

- Martin

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-03-29 11:39

In 1990 I played the NZ premiere of Linoi by Harrison Birtwistle, a VERY Zintense piece...
My last minute preparations included eating spoonfuls of instant coffee, then swigging straight from a vodka bottle. On that occasion it had the desired effect, but I would never recommend this to my students!

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2018-03-29 22:20

Lots and lots of chili, for extra gravitas and support below the diaphragm; la forza del destino! More seriously, for concentration without too much edge, I've had good luck with Japanese green tea, especially matcha. It's caffeine, but it doesn't all go online right away. Just don't try it on an empty stomach, or you'll get more vibrato than you might have intended.

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2018-03-30 01:41

Not everyone will respond to increasing serotonin; some of us are dopamine deficient, and I am one of those. If you have done 23andme, you will be able to find out if you have SNPs in the CBS pathway that interfere with dopamine production. I do, severely, and found that supplementing with L tyrosine fixed my stage fright, making it "normal" instead of "disabling." But, I had found that before I ever did 23andme, and the 23andme simply explained why what I used worked. I take a large dose daily, and will give the caveat that if you are NOT dopamine deficient, even a small dose of L tyrosine can make you over-dopamine-ated, which is not a pleasant state. I had almost quit performing, even in low level groups, before I found this, because I would have trouble not fainting on stage just anticipating a solo, not even playing one. When I was a professional section violinist, I also had such incredible stage fright that it was a factor in changing careers. After, it was a whole different ballgame and no big deal to play in public. While there are psychological and preparation reasons for stage fright, there are also chemical ones, which are sometimes easily fixed. But you have to want to approach it from a functional medicine point of view (finding and fixing the cause) rather than just doping yourself.

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-03-30 04:38

I don't know why I didn't think of this before...but, intense exercise reduces anxiety almost immediately. May I suggest after eating, excuse yourself and go to the men's room. Do about 10 full or semi-full push-ups and see what happens. Your anxiety should be gone, you'll feel better about yourself due to release of endorphins, and your level of concentration might actually increase.

"If you feel anxiety rising, quit what you’re doing and take a quick walk, do some pushups, or climb a few flights of stairs."
From: (Towards the bottom.)

Now, I need to start practicing what I'm preaching!

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2018-03-30 05:49

Has anybody had the opposite problem, how do you deal with it? A friend ate something that disagreed with her before a performance and it came back to haunt her half way through. A soloist might be able to manage an unscheduled absence, but a pit flautist finds it harder. She persevered with the performance, but it was an extremely stressful time for her. I think it damaged her confidence as a player.

A few years ago I found myself sitting beside an oboist with the most spectacularly noisy case of flatulence, so much so that it almost became a part of the performance.

Tony F.

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-03-30 06:28

I have found that 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in about 6oz of water will settle just about any upset stomach problem.

I believe gas in formed in the stomach when there is too much acid present and sodium bicarbonate simply neutralizes the acid and prevents further gas formation.

An easier solution is to simply carry along some Pepto Bismol tablets.

Post Edited (2018-03-30 06:40)

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: SonicManEXE 
Date:   2018-03-30 09:40

This subject has proven to be much more in-depth than what its name may suggest. All I can say is that you should know what agrees with you and what doesn't. I love Italian food, especially pasta and cheese, but my stomach doesn't react well with heavy amounts of dairy or a lot of the preservatives and junk that goes into our food here in the US (I know this because on my trip to Rome last year I ate as much pizza and pasta I wished and I was fine), so I know not to eat a mountain of cheese, a chocolate bar, greasy food (McDonald's, Chick-fil-a, etc.) and the list goes on before something important, whether it's a performance or not. But that's just how I work. It's not a flattering subject to talk about, but it's something important to take into account.

Ft. Lauderdale & Tampa, FL

Post Edited (2018-03-30 09:41)

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-03-31 05:44

My Vodka story above is true, but I REALLY don't advise this (I was a young and wild 23 year old trying to smash it out of the park, and got lucky that time!).
I used to know a Violist who ate chocolate immediately before a performance and then threw up. These days I prefer to play with an "almost empty" stomach, and it's usually half a banana and some sushi...

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-03-31 07:44



Post Edited (2018-03-31 07:45)

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 Re: Dinner Menus pre-difficult performances?
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-03-31 07:50

Yes, DARK chocolate!

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