The Costs of Perfectionism

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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...]

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

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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

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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...]

Which Mindset Do YOU Have?

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I have recently read a book that has rocked my world and I want to turn you onto it as well because I think it has HUGE implications for musicians.   I am talking about Dr. Carol S. Dweck's book, Mindset.   Run— don't walk—to the nearest bookstore and purchase it or log onto Amazon and order it today! What if it wasn't our abilities or talent that bring us success, but whether we approach … [Read more...]

What Is Your Greatest Fear?

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If you are like most performers, you have experienced some kind of anxiety or fear when preparing for or waiting for a performance to begin.  Many of you find that this fear does not subside once the performance begins.  You may have even put a name to your fear—fear of embarrassment, fear of rejection, or fear of failure.  Once you discover the source of your fear, you can get busy working … [Read more...]

Knowing when you’ve practiced enough!

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Practicing is a way of life for musicians.  Not only are we expected to perform at consistently high levels, we are constantly learning new music, improving our skills, and reaching for new heights.  Let's face it, we want to play or sing well.  We want to make great music and we certainly want to avoid embarrassment, disappointing ourselves and others, and, of course, we want to avoid mistakes … [Read more...]

Decisions, decisions—Worry About Performing or Not?

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Ok, let's talk about worry. . .  How many times have you worried about the weather?  If you’ve ever planned an outdoor event—a wedding, a child's birthday party, a picnic or even when you have been planning a trip I bet you have worried about the weather!  Is it going to be nice?  Is my event going to be rained out? Will all my plans be ruined?  I've worked so hard all year for this one … [Read more...]

Face Your Performance Anxiety or Run?

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In our recent discussions of performance anxiety we have talked about how to identify your fears in Performance Fear—Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire and how to understand our fears in The Key To Understanding Your Performance Anxiety.   The final step in dealing with your anxiety or fear is to take action and neutralize its ill effects.  It’s interesting how when many performers are confronted … [Read more...]

The Key To Understanding Your Performance Anxiety

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Last time in Performance Fear—Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!, we called fear out for the destructive and deceiving force it can be to our preparation and our performances.  As anyone who has experienced it, performance-related fear is a powerful emotion that all of us have felt.   In order to neutralize its ill-effects, it is important that you understand that it tricks you into believing things … [Read more...]

Performance Fear—Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

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Several years ago, Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks starred in a movie called Defending Your Life.  Both Streep and Brooks die in the first minutes of the film.  The rest of the movie is set in heaven as they attempt to defend the way they lived as a heavenly tribunal reviews footage of scenes from their lives.  The novel thesis of the movie is that the purpose of the ‘trial’ is not to … [Read more...]