Nicole Sasser’s Performance Enabling Drugs | Secrets of the Musical Mind

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nicole sasserNicole Sasser is a trumpeter and singer, currently employed as a featured performer on Oceana Cruise Lines. She has two albums to her credit: Showtime and Upside. She can be found on the web at





  1. Just a few weeks ago, I was a guest performer. We had a rehearsal just a couple of hours prior to the show. I was flustered because of everything I need to do to get ready for a show and made a lot of mistakes which were not acceptable for a featured soloist.
  2. With the Chicago Youth Symphony, playing at Carnegie Hall, I played the solo for American in Paris on the wrong trumpet.
  3. Early in my solo career, I had a show. I was so nervous, it caused me to play very inefficiently. I didn't have enough stamina to make it through the show.


  • "I was ready to quit the trumpet because it just wasn't any fun performing. Beta blockers allow me to enjoy myself."
  • "I'd rather play in front of 20,000 people than 20 trumpet players."
  • "I needed those moments of failing in order to prepare for succeeding with what I do now."
  • "I experimented to find the right combination of dosage with time prior to the show."


Q. It's 5 minutes before a performance. What are you doing?

A. I'm using the bathroom one last time. I drink lots of water the day prior and the day of. Drinking water during the show won't hydrate you. For singing, I suck on a cough drop.

Q. What's the best performance advice you've ever received?

A. My mom always says, "Enjoy the music, and the audience will too." If you make a mistake, they probably won't realize it. And if they do, they probably don't care. They just want to have a good time.

Q. What is a tip to help overcome stage fright?

A. On the physical side, I advocate beta blockers. Just make sure you're using the right dosage. I also recommend The Inner Game of Tennis. It helps you realize you have two selves, and you just have to listen to the right "self."

Q. What's a non musical activity that helps you succeed as a musician?

A. Exercise. It keeps my body in good health, I can breathe properly.

Q. It's the end of the performance, and the audience is on its feet giving you a standing ovation. They don't want any more, and they don't want any less. Everything is perfect. What have you just done?

A. One time, I played the Carnival of Venice during my show. This is right in the middle of the show, but they gave me a standing ovation. I also sang another song, and they loved it. This is before the show is even over, so it was really amazing!

About the author, James Newcomb

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