What Is Your Performance Anxiety Trying to Tell You?

Different Mindsets

Does your heart race or do your hands shake prior to an important performance?  Do you get into your head and wonder what the audience or judging panel is going to think of your performance?  Do you feel so nervous that your head is full of chatter that distracts you from focusing on or enjoying your performance?  Do you feel confident and perform well in rehearsal and recital, but auditions … [Read more...]

The Audition Illusion

illusion

What are illusions?  Illusions are tricks our eyes and minds play on us.  They trick us into perceiving something different from what actually exists.  What we see often does not correspond with reality.   The funny thing about optical illusions is that what we perceive seems very real until we view it in another light! Look at the black and white picture to the right.  What do you see?  … [Read more...]

What Motivates You—Being Good or Getting Better?

Same Old thinking

Has anyone ever told you to "lighten up" or "go easier on yourself"?  Have you every asked yourself why it seems so difficult to stick to your goals, especially when the going gets tough?  When people tell you "it's about the journey, not the destination" and "enjoy the process," do you wonder, "how in the world am I supposed to do this?"? The way you answer the question, "What motivates … [Read more...]

Don’t Believe Everything You Think!

violinist2

Most performers have had a big audition, that important performance, or the competition that they've worked six months to prepare for, raise their anxiety level.   This anxiety level can be manifest in one of several ways:  in your body (somatically), in your mind (cognitively), and ultimately, in your performances. Somatic or bodily symptoms of music performance anxiety are a result of the … [Read more...]

Past Performances—Check Them or Carry-On?

pile_of_bags

If you have read or heard of the 2008 New York Times bestseller, My Stroke of Insight, you know Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s story—a Harvard brain scientist experiencing her own stroke and then, living to tell about it.  Yes, she survived, but the left side of her brain did not.  That meant that all her language, scientific training, and memories of her past life were gone.  After a period of … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]