Focus for Peak Performing

focus time zones

In the recent post, Focus On What YOU Can Control, we discussed the kind of focus many performers have that makes them fearful, anxious, and distracted by things that are outside of their control.   When you focus on what is within your control, you will feel more confident and calm and ready to face performance challenges with a clear and present focus. What kind of focus do you need to … [Read more...]

Strategies for Becoming a Mentally Tough Performer

Itzhak Perlman

You, like many musicians, may have heard things like, “You gotta be tough!”  “You have to grow a thick skin!” or “Don’t wear your feelings on your sleeve!”    At the same time, performers are supposed to get their TOUGH selves onto the stage and become vulnerable artists in order to share their music with the audience.  Seems like a paradox?  Let’s see if we can figure this … [Read more...]

Mental Toughness in Performers

Fleming as Borgia

A powerful force in the life of your performing will be your level of mental toughness.  This toughness comes from responding to negative messages (thoughts & emotions) in an appropriate way.  Being a mentally tough performer means that under the pressure of competition you can maintain a present focus and continue to think constructively, non-defensively, positively, and realistically--and … [Read more...]

Focus On What YOU Can Control

Archer

If you are a performer who struggles with performance anxiety or you can't seem to perform as well as you practice, you may want to take a look at to what and where you are paying attention.  Most performers who are anxious or fearful are paying attention to things outside of their control.  The ability to concentrate in the present and to focus on the specific task at hand is extremely … [Read more...]

What Kind of Goals Do YOU Need?

bassoonist

In a previous post, Performance Anxiety and SUPREME Goals, we looked at how setting good goals—SUPREME Goals (Specific, Uplifting, Paramount, Reachable, Exciting, Measurable, Enjoyable) can help performers maintain strong, stable confidence, lessen the effects of performance anxiety, and keep them focused on what is within their control and motivated to take action.  Sounds like the magic pill … [Read more...]

The Costs of Perfectionism

65827.jpg

Perhaps the saddest statement to read in any biography is that the person fell short or didn’t really accomplish what he or she might have. Well, that’s exactly what I read recently in a brief account of the life of late 19th century French composer, Henri Duparc, “An examination of the life of Henri Duparc often leads one not to explore what he actually accomplished, but to speculate on … [Read more...]

Performance Anxiety and SUPREME Goals

Goal Setting

Setting good goals and working those goals will help performers feel more confident and assured that what they practice will be accessible on the stage.  Goals give performers direction, help motivate them toward success, and increase confidence.  Setting goals will also help performers keep their attention on what’s important by identifying strengths and challenges.  Good goals can improve … [Read more...]

YES Performing in a “Who’s next?” World

Stage Blue Sky

Alternate Title:  Positive & Engaged Performing   A couple of weeks ago we looked at Carol Dweck's view of Mindset and how having a fixed or growth mindset can affect your performing.  Today I want to look at a similar comparison of mindsets—performers with an optimistic view of their performing and those with a pessimistic view.  Now of course, none of us want to admit to being a … [Read more...]

Resilience—Bouncing Back, Pt. 2

Singer w:orchestra

In Resilience—Bouncing Back from Setbacks we discussed what makes performers able to recover quickly from mistakes, setbacks, auditions that don't go well, or performances that are considered unsatisfactory or  as failures.  In your effort to be the best performer you can be, you may often lose sight of the fact that the mistakes and setbacks you have are something every performer … [Read more...]

Resilience—Bouncing Back from Setbacks

joplin_tornado

Being back in Joplin, my hometown and site of the deadliest tornado in recent American memory that hit last May 22, 2011, is both heartbreaking and uplifting.  When we were in Joplin one year ago, only days after the EF-5 twister hit, it was a scene of devastation that one only sees in movies or in your worst nightmares. When in Joplin helping my family and when reading about the efforts to … [Read more...]