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I can play songs on piano correctly until I try to record myself, then I make multiple errors. TMS?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by learningmore, Jan 23, 2023.

  1. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    So kind of a weird case but I decided to ask because I can't help but think it's TMS.

    Pretend you're playing a song on piano. You can play the song.

    Then you go to record it and you do it wrong. You forget how to play the song. A song you know how to play.

    So you stop recording and play it fine. Then you start recording again and make errors nearly instantly.

    Is this TMS?

    When I do this, the amount of hateful self talk is unreal. I tell myself I suck, I don't deserve success (because I'm doing it wrong, if I want success I should not do it wrong, AND I KNOW HOW TO PLAY THE SONG BECAUSE IF I'M NOT RECORDING, I DON'T MAKE MISTAKES, but somewhere in my thoughts I think I suck shit and probably don't deserve to experience good things, like admiration for playing a song.

    I mean let's think about it. If you were going to hire someone to do something, would you hire someone who a) can do the thing or b) who doesn't do it correctly? You would hire the first person obviously. I am the second person, because I cannot do it right. Therefore I suck (there is evidence showing I suck, because I cannot play the song properly when recording and therefore am a bad piano player and do not deserve any sort of admiration or success). In fact, maybe I should just stop playing, because it is CLEAR that I am not good because I keep having errors.

    It would be different if I didn't know how to play the song. But I do. Because when I am not recording, I can play it just fine. So it's not like I don't know how to play it.

    If I had a track record of awesomeness, then I would think "oh, it makes sense that I should have admiration and success, because I am good." But I do not have a track record of awesomeness, I have a track record of doing it wrong EVERY SINGLE TIME I RECORD. I'm talking it has taken MONTHS to get a good recording of a song I know how to play. Months. By the time I was finally finished, I was just happy it was over, the recording appeared forced and not pleasing. This is a song on my top 10 of all time songs, I should love playing it and be happy, but I wasn't, I was mad at myself for taking MONTHS to do it right. MONTHS. I mean what kind of dork needs MONTHS to record a song he can play just fine when he's not recording? Why even bother? Imagine saying you're doing to do a song today and you are still trying to get a good take MONTHS later? How many wasted days were there? Imagine the self hate that builds inside because you KEEP. DOING. IT. WRONG. So you stop recording and practice the song. And it's just fine. And then you record again and MISTAKE AFTER MISTAKE. So you say F it, and you set up a record for quite a while, and just keep trying to do it again and again. You think well, there must be at least one good recording in there? Nope! Because you keep making mistakes.

    How much other stuff do you think may have been accomplished if you DIDN'T keep doing it wrong for MONTHS? How many other projects, songs, time with friends, doing something fun and not hating yourself? How much FURY builds inside when you JUST CAN'T PLAY IT while recording? It's not like you're creating things out of nowhere, you KNOW that FACTUALLY it took you MONTHS to do something that should have taken 5 minutes tops. How does a positive attitude grow from that?

    Anyway, this has been me for years and years, but I just yesterday thought oof, this might be TMS.

    Is my subconscious, the goodist perfectionist who ultimately believes I am lower value than others, make me play it incorrectly when I try to record?

    Does my subconscious actually believe that if I played it properly, there might be evidence that I am decent and someone might tell me I am good, and my ego cannot deal with that disparity between what it thinks (I suck) and what others might tell me (I am good) so it forces me to do it wrong so there is no evidence of being good?

    Real talk.

    This is infuriating. I CAN PLAY THE SONG unless I record it, then I make error after error after error.

    Do you know what I did the other day? I had the song almost correct, and on the THIRD TO LAST NOTE I made a mistake. Therefore the entire take was ruined (I was playing live on a piano, so I couldn't just go edit it out). My mind made me mess up WHEN I WAS ALMOST DONE PLAYING IT RIGHT just to screw with me, just to say "ha, you thought you were good, but you suck, you messed up at the end, you loser."

    Maybe I cannot deal with the nerves or something. I don't understand why it's any different playing the song a lot of times just fine, and then playing it wrong whenever I try to record.

    So, possibly TMS?
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2023
  2. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    I know this is a fast mindset shift to make. I know once I do it I will love playing piano again and stop making mistakes.

    I don't know how to do it.
  3. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think it’s anxiety, and that there is a mind body connection, but tms?
    TMS in a Sarno sense is a physical pain. To me, having difficulties or stumbling when the record button is hit is normal, I do it almost everyday but go through periods when it rarely happens. It’s a nervous second guessing. Anyone I have ever worked with does it!
    Snowshine likes this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sounds like performance anxiety. Does it happen when you play live for others?

    Dr. Schubiner believes anxiety is a form of TMS in that our thoughts and emotions are creating a response in the body. Fear of ? (failure, ridicule?) is affecting how your hands perform.

    My hands and voice shake when I have to speak in public, despite having been successful at public speaking in the past. I think the experience triggers an unconscious stress response from childhood where my father was very hard on me for mistakes, which I've internalized. Maybe something similar going on for you here?
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well, it's often been said that the stomach distress experienced by many performers just before they go onstage is just TMS in another of its many varieties. AKA performance anxiety.
    I think Ellen is on to something by relating performance anxiety back to childhood experiences.

    When I first read that Dr Sarno believed that anxiety, depression, and OCD were also TMS, I immediately was able to relate, because anxiety was always my primary symptom, and to a number of medical practitioners throughout my life, it was the underlying cause of my physical symptoms.

    The TMS mechanism was designed to keep us alive in the primitive world, but it has NO idea how to operate in the modern world. My primary management technique is to thank it, and tell it that it's not needed.
  6. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    So, maybe it's not TMS.

    But the negative self talk and being someone who sucks sounded like TMS to me.
  7. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I actually learned more on this topic from a baseball psychology book then I ever could have learned if we were talking about music. This is a left brain/right brain thing.

    We learn with the left hemisphere of our brain..it is slow, mechanical and reasonable. It likes math, theory and budgets. However, we create from the right hemisphere...writing, composition , playing sports....

    Baseball is the one sport where people have 'too much time to think'. I know guys who can absolutely Mash in practice, but struggle at the plate in games. I know guys who dominate in football but can't play baseball....it's such a head thing.
    I also know guys who shred in rehearsal but freeze on stage.

    The secret is finding and developing techniques to tap the right side. In baseball I call it 'dumbing down'....for music performance I usually use similar techniques. The Left side that was the learning side is slow, sticky and mechanical... the Right side is flowing and intuitive and thought-Less. If the Left side stays in charge it is hard to perform naturally. self consciousness is all left brained too.

    Each person must develop one of the ways to tap this and it can be different for every person, but what you describe is not unusual.

    If this is a kind of TMS then every player I know has it (LOL)
    The good news is, it is so common there are many ways to overcome it
  8. michaelg21

    michaelg21 Peer Supporter

    I would say it’s simply performance anxiety. I’ve played a guitar for at least 30 minutes, almost every single day, for 15 years (I’m now 25). Even still, when I go to record or perform at a gig, I make some mistakes, regardless of how much I have perfected a song/riff/lick in practice. Finding ways to “lower the stakes”, as it were, would likely alleviate this.
  9. mbo

    mbo Well known member

    2 books by Kenny Werner:

    - Effortless Mastery

    - Becoming the Instrument

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