Protected: What Mental Skills Do Performers Need?

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The Beauty of Performing—Commit To It!

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People will be impressed if you play or sing well, but something far more important can happen when a performer combines impressive technique with emotional truth:  both the performer and the listener can be changed.  This is the beauty of performing. When did performing become about playing perfectly, playing to avoid mistakes, or about something we now fear rather than enjoy?  Musical … [Read more...]

Fall Jumpstart for Performing Success

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I love Fall (probably because I have always loved school!).   This is a little funny because I live in South Texas and we don’t have Fall.   We have two seasons—Summer and Off-Summer.  So, for me, Fall is not signified by the temperature dropping, by a cooling breeze, or by the leaves starting to change to a golden or amber hue.  Fall is officially on its way when school supplies hit the … [Read more...]

French Open Lessons for Performers

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While writing this article, I’ve been watching the 2013 French Open, one of tennis’ premier Grand Slam tournaments.   Let’s see what we can learn from these performers on the clay courts in Paris.  It took the 12th seeded German player, Tommy Haas, 4 hours and 37 minutes and 13 match points to beat American, John Isner in five sets in the third round on June 1.  Then Haas met and beat … [Read more...]

Are You a Mentally Tough Performer? Pt. 1

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It is very important for musicians to be proactive in their approach to preparing mentally as well as musically.  A musician’s inner game has everything to do with his or her performing.  We have called this inner game many things, namely confidence, being in the ZONE or FLOW, mental toughness, or mental strength.   Timothy Gallwey describes this inner game with a formula (that I’ve … [Read more...]

Ready? Set? Audition!

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With an important audition coming up, the following questions are often uppermost in a performer's mind—"Am I going to be ready?" and "What do I need to do to be set or prepared 'enough' for this audition?"  In order to sing or play a successful audition, performers have to spend considerable time on the HOW and WHAT of their music and performing.  In other words, musicians spend a great deal … [Read more...]

Self-Assess Your Performing Skills

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Performers don't hesitate to assess their musical skills as they continue to train and practice to be an excellent player or singer.   It's just as important to periodically assess your mental skills in order to determine how prepared you are to move forward, to grow, and continue to evolve as an excellent and mentally strong performer.  These mental performing skills include commitment, … [Read more...]

Practice, Prepare, Perform—Then What?

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After a big performance or competition, performers can feel a little let down because what they have been striving for is completed.   Rather than move right on to the next goal, why not stop and assess?  After a major recital, competition, or audition is an excellent time for performers to check in with how they are doing.  If you're thinking, I thought that's what the performance or … [Read more...]

Release Yourself from Perfection’s Grip

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Did you see the recent Associated Press article about Barbra Streisand's new album, Release Me?   It seems that during the heyday of her recording career, if she made a mistake or found a single problem while recording a song, she'd toss the whole thing.  Because of this perfectionism, she ended up with a whole case full of unreleased material.   "If I didn't like that one word, I wouldn't … [Read more...]

The ABCs of Self-Talk for Musicians

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As we discussed last time in Self-Talk—Friend or Foe?, chatter constantly runs through our heads as automatic thoughts, or as conscious thinking playing inner critic or inner coach to bolster our performing confidence. Greek philosopher, Epictetus said:  “We are not disturbed by things, but by the views which we take of them.”  Let’s really look at this statement.  What if this is … [Read more...]