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My shoulders and rib cage tighten. My breaths become shallow. My mouth goes dry. My arms, hands, and legs shake. Not only am I describing the minutes preceding a first date, but I’m also talking about what happens to my body when I’m playing a performance that makes me nervous. The symptoms I’ve listed are examples of psychological stress that manifests itself physiologically. The Fight-or-Flight Response, as it were. Playing a brass instrument with shallow breaths and shaking limbs is…shall we say, not ideal. And sometimes it isn’t the actual music at hand … Continue Reading