Once-upon-a-time there was a classical guitarist with severe performance anxiety. Throughout her years as a working musician, she managed to control it through judicious elimination of caffeine on the day of playing and maintaining a regular pre-performance regimen including the use of breathing exercises learned during delivery of her three children. Nothing really worked all that well, uncontrollable shakiness of the hands often threatened to take control of the show.
Recommendations of relief by self-medication using beta-blockers began to sound quite appealing, but her natural aversion to non-organic approaches to dealing with life’s issues held her back from taking the leap on that avenue. Good thing. Most who went that route, acquired other side effects that only compounded the basic performance anxiety problem.
Then one fine day, rumors of the Banana Cure began circulating among other afflicted cgers.
That was one cure this lady cger was willing to investigate further. Coming from a scientific background, she tried her best to set up quasi-experiments to see if the Banana Cure had any merit or if it was purely placebo.
“Have you ever thought of bananas as a natural remedy? New research shows that bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, which is known to help you to relax, improve your mood and cause you to feel happier…Bananas are a natural stress reducer! Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.” Bananas; Nature’s Remedy
Bottom line: consuming a banana an hour before performance, then a second banana about 30 minutes before performance did indeed take the edge off of shakiness in small muscle movements required during precision performance situations. Once that edge was removed, entrance into the creative zone opened up the thrill of performance in the moment – taking control of this lady as a conduit for musical expression.
Note: A few months ago I stumbled upon this site – validating my personal findings. In a graph showing various methods to help curb performance anxiety, the Banana Cure had a 45% effectiveness rate…
The site’s featured documentary film, Composed, goes into depth on the subject of performance anxiety; offering hope, solutions – but most of all encouragement that those of us who struggle with performance anxiety are not alone…
“The film explores what without exception all of us, performers, have experienced and known well – first, love for our craft and stage, and then performance anxiety at the other end of this beautiful and exciting spectrum. Congratulations to the director John Beder and his team for completing this project and for inviting all of us to a meaningful and necessary conversation.” Maestro Christoph Eschenbach