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AdministratorNovember 23, 2016 at 10:32 am
The shakes are always a tough one to address. I wish there was a quick and easy solution, but I haven’t come across it yet. There are a few clues though, in your own description, that seems to overlap with what others have said. My own experience as well, was that once I felt like I had a handle on nerves and focus and performances in general, shakes seemed to not be an issue any more.
For better or worse, shakes, cold hands, heart racing, etc. are all extremely unpleasant when they occur, but they don’t have to affect our performances as much as they often do. The more disruptive side effect of these things is the mental distraction they pose. They take our focus away from what we want and the things we have control over, and put it in a place that actually makes us even more nervous, which makes the physical stuff tend to snowball out of control. So a) having a clear attentional script that keeps you busy, totally engaged, and present, plus b) a plan for what exactly to do or redirect your focus towards when undesirable physical things happen is key. And for what it’s worth, many of these things are much less noticeable to others than we think they are – as obvious as they seem to us. So the things you’re doing – building confidence, trust, anchoring, centering, are all going to help, especially as you gain more experience using these in performance situations. Simulation training will help as well. One mechanical thing you might try is to experiment with moving your muscles more when something like this happens – moving them more in an effort to loosen things up, as you describe in your email, rather than trying to control them. I once saw a video of Pavarotti’s physician explaining how he often would shake his head slightly from side to side before or during certain notes to ensure that he was keeping his neck/throat loose.
As far as visualizing in first person goes, this is just like any other skill we have. All of us have different levels of comfort or ability with this. If it’s challenging for you, just start small. Like, imagine simply picking up a piece of fruit, or typing on a keyboard. And then try it for real. See what’s different. Then try to imagine again, and see if you can fill in more details. Just a couple minutes a day in various settings may help you begin to feel more comfortable with this – and then you can begin to do it with music as well.
For now, don’t worry too much about centering. I think as you begin to feel more comfortable with things like the visualization – and even with the focus exercises and strategies in the focus lesson, centering will become more natural and easier for you to do.