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EFT helps trumpeter blow his own horn

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

Hi Everyone,

Accomplished athletes, artists, dancers, musicians, actors and other performers will often tell you that they have much more potential than they are using. The barriers to enhanced performance, they say, are "in my head." We know these barriers, of course, as emotional (energy) blocks--all of which are glowing candidates for EFT.

Dr. Larry Stoler works with a trumpeter who, in his own words, makes such a dramatic improvement that he can now "sing through his instrument." You may find this story particularly useful to print out and show to doubting clients who would like to perform at better levels.

Hugs, Gary

by Dr. Larry Stoler

Hi Gary and Listmembers,

We know that EFT is an effective method for enhancing sports performance (see previous posts on the EFT website on golf and baseball). In this post, I'll be sharing an experience using EFT to help a professional trumpeter, Bruce Daugherty, improve his music performance. Using EFT, he was able to better prepare for and manage professional auditions--surely among the most anxiety producing situations imaginable. Enjoying EFT, he used it to make dramatic improvements in the quality of his playing and in his level of comfort for playing on different trumpets. Professional trumpeters must be proficient in playing a B flat, Concert C, Piccolo, and E flat trumpets.

I asked him to share his thoughts about his experience with EFT and he was kind enough to do so (and to allow me to share them with all of you). One of the advantages of working with Bruce is his extraordinary thoughtfulness and sensitivity. Because of this, he notices many subtleties in his playing and thinking. This helped me appreciate how profoundly EFT helped his playing.

GC COMMENT: For accomplished performers, it is these "subtleties" that bring about important new levels of "performance freedom."

Bruce's comments follow. After these, I'll add a few closing remarks.

From Bruce Daugherty, Professional Trumpeter:

"I first met Larry Stoler through a colleague of mine. Larry wanted to learn the trumpet so that he could play at his brother's upcoming wedding (in about 9 months). We became good friends (he also played quite well for his brother). I shared with him the professional side of music making, particularly the nerves and audition process. I explained to him that in order to gain a position in a professional orchestra one had to audition for a committee. You were given ten minutes to play music that was on a stand behind a screen. Sometimes you knew what it was before you got there, sometimes not. The result of this audition determined whether you would play with that group or not.

You would spend months preparing--hundreds of hours of practice--and would travel hundreds of miles for that ten minute opportunity. The whole process is overwhelming, but you must be successful in order to get a job. Needless to say there was a lot of pressure. I had very limited success. It was always arduous and affected my performance quality - even prior to the audition.

When I had told Larry all of this he suggested tapping [EFT] as a solution. Now I had read a plethora of books on nerves, performance anxiety, peak performance and Zen practice, with little differences in my playing. Granted, I had a better vocabulary for why it wasn't working but it didn't change the end result. I was excited at the prospect of tapping--but equally skeptical.

From the very first time I used it, my playing level accelerated. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN MY THOUGHTS--WHAT I IMAGINED AND FANTASIZED--AND WHAT I WAS ACTUALLY ABLE TO DO ON MY TRUMPET HAD BECOME VERY SHORT. I was thrilled. However, I know how easy it is to get attached to physical differences since music making is so tactile. So I decided to record myself playing on a high quality DAT machine and hear for myself.

The improvement was dramatic. Now I truly was excited. Even still, I felt like it needed to be put to a greater test - something more tangible. Since I was 9 years old I had played the Bb trumpet. I was extremely comfortable with it. Conversely, I had never felt at ease playing C trumpet (which is necessary for the orchestral repertoire). I could play higher and softer on my Bb, with more finesse and ease. It was clear to me that I wasn't able to maintain a clear musical idea when I switched horns because I was too concerned with the feel and sound difference. So I set to tapping with the statement "clear musical message."

What followed was full-bodied sound with little to no difference in what I perceived. Clearly, this was much better. I felt like a heavy blanket had been lifted off my head. I could clearly conceive of what I wanted to do and more importantly, do it.

Probably the most significant benefit I've found with tapping is mental clarity. I can decide what it is about my playing that needs attention and go after it. It doesn't mean that I don't have to practice. It's just that I get much farther in my practice sessions than I ever did before. Quality has to be repeated before it can become a habit, so I do that with the help of the tapping. I have since shared this with some of my colleagues and they have had similar results. I have also showed this to my more open-minded students - the ones who become especially crippled by nerves. They have told me it has helped and I've noticed it in their auditions.

Somewhere along the line, music making had become work. It was bogged down with self-doubt, anxiety, fear of failure and in some cases, dread. This lifted all that off so I could do what I want to do--sing through my instrument."

LARRY STOLER CONTINUES: Bruce has learned to apply EFT broadly and deeply. He uses it to address very specific blocks in his playing, and he uses it to work on personal issues that may interfere with the fullest expression of his artistic gifts.

Artists, dancers and musicians can all benefit from EFT just as Bruce has. The process of making art is fraught with risk. Artists have to know how to go to the edge, let go, and allow the art to happen. The specific challenges facing artists are well described in my favorite book on performance anxiety for artists called Art and Fear, authored by David Bayles and Ted Orland. They write: "Fears about artmaking fall into two families: fears about yourself, and fears about your reception by others. In a general way, fears about yourself prevent you from doing your best work, while fears about your reception by others prevent you from doing your own work" (p.23).

Of course, these are the very same fears that stop all of us in our efforts to be ourselves in the world.

EFT is a wonderful, direct and effective method for helping artists, and all the rest of us, overcome fears in both of these areas.


Larry Stoler, Ph.D.


Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.