How can I reduce hand trembling when performing?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by The VIP Gentleman, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. I have begun to notice that my hands tremble a lot when I perform, and it makes some tricks hard to get right.

    I don’t know whether it’s from nervousness or excitement, but I think it’s excitement.

    Anyone got any tips?
  2. It's probably a bit of both. It happens to all of us. The best advice I have is to perform more often. That's what helped me. After awhile, it got to the point where I'd only shake for the first trick or so and now I rarely shake unless I'm trying something new.

    That's what worked for me.
    Greg0ry likes this.
  3. Practice and rehearse more - Many times nerves spawn from not being sure if the routine will go right. If you're not absolutely sure it will go right, you haven't practiced and rehearsed enough.

    Perform more - Performing is scary for humans. Keep doing it until you get used to it.

    Make sure your nutrition is on point - Too much caffeine, not enough water, being hung over, not enough potassium, not enough protein, haven't eaten recently enough - all of these things can cause your hands to shake.

    I also recommend starting performances with something dead simple. If it's a casual performance, start with a conversation. Get them liking you before you even start a trick and it's far easier to relax. I always start with a trick or routine that I know I will never mess up, stuff I've been doing for years and could do in my sleep.
  4. As Chris mentioned... this has.. and will continue to happen to many magicians. It is nerves, excitement, that scared crapless feeling welling up inside you, that you are going to fail and look silly in front of real human
    beings :) Completely normal and we've all been there.
    People who perform and record for youtube only don't get this same sensation because deep down that pressure isn't on them and they can always have a "do over". You don't get a "do over" when standing in front of the big boss who just paid you $500 to entertain the big wigs. You know that in that moment its put-up or shut-up time and you better bring your A-game. Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh, but it's the reality of entertainers who are out in the trenches year round.
    Always start with the no-brainer, self worker to break the ice. For me it is the mis-made bill routine I've been performing for over 18 years. The shakes do go away eventually as your number of performances increases substantially. You'll get to the point where you are excited to get to the table to entertain because you aren't nervous at all and you are chomping at the bit to put smiles on the spectators faces and hear the gasps. :)
  5. Ooooooooooorrrrrr coming out of left field here, if you're a fan of better living through chemistry, a beta blocker like propranolol works wonders. I know a lot of public speakers and performers who use it to get over stagefright etc. Low risk, non addictive, etc.

    The cool science-y part is the more you perform with it, eventually you don't need the crutch. Quoth my friend I just called up and asked if he still took it for public speaking with his job. So take that for whatever value you'd like.
  6. Always, always perform within your skill level.
  7. Beta Blockers will also do the job, yes.
  8. @lmbrjack
    The problem is that I don’t think it’s nervousness, but more adrenaline from excitement. Do beta lockers help with that as well?
  9. Scripting. Have a script for the first effect that gets audience reaction - be it a laugh, an answer to a question or an expression of interest. The positive feedback quells the primal fear that the audience might just kill you and eat you if it doesn’t go well. Scripting also gives you something to focus on other than what your hands are doing. If you rehearse (i.e. perform the effect with the script with no donovers) enough, your focus is on the script and the sleights become automatic.
  10. I've never done it but I have read just knocking out a few push ups or clinching your fists really tight and holding and then letting go can help with the shakes.
    I'm in the same boat as you, they usually go away after the first few tricks. I agree that the better I get the more I think it is adrenaline from excitement and not so much the nerves!

  11. I really suggest not to use any medicine or drugs… Don't know your age, but it does not solve the problem. And I guess about your writing, that this can be handled by just natural. Also using medicines never walks without risks ! Im not sure its a good way to lie to yourself. And addiction can be grow up to anything ,even with a placebo, 'cause there are not just phisical addiction, but mental addiction aswell. If you use to use drugs, to make you successfull, Im sure that 99% of people fall into some kind of mental addiction and not easily get out of it.

    But what you can try, all kind of stagefright is about some kind of low self-confidence. What you have to "practice" is how to improve self-confidence. Im a professional musician aswell as magician. For me this stagefright stuff was heavy about music performances. And I realized that this was just gone, when I reached a kind of level (also in professionality) also in self-confidence, that I can imagine, that no matter of what happens, also even IF I MAKE A MISTAKE, nothing Will happen that makes the Armageddon..youknow.. This is the main thing, to realize, deeply in your mind !!!

    Second, how to practice it, and in that I agree with the others, do as often as you can, but be clever, and build a stair, and walk up step by step. I mean, perform to a lower audience, or just a friend, then make the deal bigger, and more. Also a private example, I often go back to more easy pieces in music, or magic, and perform them, to get just experience. Pieces that have really no risks for me, because I know them quite well.

    So its really a personal way, and also a spiritual way, how to go through this stuff. But I promise you WILL ! Just time ! And do it ! :) I also suggest, to get deep inside yourself, and try to find out what you afraid of, what are your fears, and work with them. It Will also improve your stage life. But be patiente !

    And a useful technique, try to hold your hands hard, or do some kicks or punches in the air and then relax, after stretch as much up as you can, then fall your hands, and relax, do it some time, then make 2 or 3 deep breath, getting the air out as much as you can, and breath also as much as you can, hold it for a while, and sloooowly get out.

    And if you say more adrenaline, then I suggest you more sport !!! :)

    hope my post helped a bit, take care, and good luck :)
  12. Beta blockers are absolutely psychologically addictive. Many many classical musicians and comedians can attest to this: itt's a nightmare to get off performance enhancing drugs if it's your job, because the process of cleaning up will take you through a period of the nerves being significantly worse than normal, and when the hell will you think it's a good time for that if you make your living performing and there are always new people ready to take your gigs?

    To be clear, I'm not some anti-drug puritan. But I stay far away from anything for *work*, down that path lies real problems, as so many comedians and musicians can attest.
    Greg0ry likes this.

  13. Thats what I also said, and talking about ! Agree ! And Thank You for writing this down !
  14. Further to that, it introduces a real psychological issue in that the key to getting over performance nerves is developing a deep confidence that "I can do this" and "I can handle the worst case scenario here". If instead some part of your brain is saying "well maybe I can only do it when I'm on blockers???"... you're hosed for a long time. I never went through it for actual performing, but I did go through it for insomnia, including around performing (night before sleep issues and general sleep issues) and now I won't touch substances for a work-related issue ever. I fooled myself thinking sleep help wasn't stage help, but the same thing happened, I got to the point that I would worry I couldn't get a good rest for an important day without "assistance". Lost one big gig over it, felt like a complete idiot, never again. Hope that helps someone!

    What you want is miles. Lots and lots of miles of different kinds of shows in chaotic circumstances so that a normal show feels like a well run machine. I like to do community comedy events, burlesque shows, open for other acts, MC, whatever I can do where I know staging and lighting and tech will all be a gong show (good for building confidence that you can handle anything), but the audience will be great. Also read sports psychology books, it's all the same thing.
    Greg0ry likes this.

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