doing it for the exposure

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I am doing this for the exposure

And I did it because exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a behavioural technique that can help when a particular situation brings on anxiety. It works by gradually exposing the client to the particular situation, which for me of course is playing an audition excerpt. As the client gets used to that level of exposure to the problem situation, the therapist gradually introduces more difficult situations, increasing the uncomfortable thoughts and bodily sensations and hopefully building up your tolerance and coping skills.

I have used this technique on myself over a number of years, for instance running up and down stairs to make my heart pump and feel breathless, drinking strong coffee to give me the shakes, playing with a mouthful of cotton wool to replicate a dry mouth, playing to people who make me nervous and playing through my concerto 10 times in a row to replicate fatigue that makes me panic.

Today I discovered a new one. Woot.

It is currently about 40 degrees in my practice room, so I thought I might try practicing under my ceiling fan. What I discovered was at first annoying, as it made me sound as if I was trembling and couldn't play a straight note.

It was unpleasant and actually did start to make me to feel anxious.  I noticed my reaction. I noticed my thinking process, but I decided to shift my thinking about this situation and realised that this was an opportunity for exposure practice. 

And I was so excited I thought I would video my playing and show you how it sounded.

That is when I accidentally discovered another exposure technique. Videoing yourself and putting it up on the interweb. As you can see from the photo, it took me a number of attempts because on every take there was a split note, or it was out of tune, or you could hear me take a huge breath.

And as it went on and I kept on screwing up, each take got worse and worse. Exposure therapy was exposing me to what I feared - that the thought of putting up a video of me playing an excerpt and putting it on my blog made me nervous.

Oh, the irony. 

Deborah HartComment