Originally blogged May 7, 2012
The fact is, everyone is taking them. Every professional musician I have ever asked admits using them and credits winning their job to having a beta blocker in their system. I do not believe that this qualifies as a metaphor for jumping off the Brooklyn bridge along with other wayward souls. I do believe in evening out the playing field.
I don't believe that I have any extraordinary performance anxiety. However, when you dump thousands of dollars into flights, hotels, rental cars, lessons, etc in pursuit of "the job", you do start to care...a lot. That desire to justify your expense certainly adds a lot of pressure and that pressure can make anyone sweat.
I have tried the beta blocker you see here and another one that was way too strong for me. I took the stronger one when I auditioned for Knoxville and had to be awoken in my warm up room to play the audition. Clearly I was too calm! I have settled on this medication, taking 1 tablet about 2 hours before the audition. I don't take these regularly, these are reserved for auditions and the occasional very high stress performance.
I find that the amount I take allows me to feel in control while still enjoying a small and beneficial amount of adrenaline.
Morning of routine: I don't really have one. I choose not to practice this morning in the hotel and will instead arrive early at the audition site and practice in the group room. I have eaten a banana and a small piece of multigrain bread, had some water, and clearly my beta blocker. I'm watching the news and waiting for the time to leave. My audition time is between 9-10 am. I awoke at 6:15. Lots of time to keep myself from rushing at the last minute.