Are You Comfortable With Performance Anxiety?

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Last time in What Is Your Greatest Fear?, we discussed the common fears that performers face.  These fears cause you to doubt your abilities and skills and feed your anxiety level as you prepare for performance.  What's more, when you get used to these anxious feelings and fearful thought and behavior patterns, you tend to settle into a place we commonly call a comfort zone.  It seems odd, … [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...]

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!

Performance Fear

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...]

Have You Hugged Your Performance Anxiety Today?

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It was the night before.  I just lay there in bed. I couldn't sleep. I was breathing funny, my heart was pounding, and my thoughts were...well, noisy.  Some of the thoughts that went racing through my head were "I need to sleep.  I need to just calm down and get to sleep.  Tomorrow will be here soon enough." I bet you thought I was describing the night before an important performance, … [Read more...]

Prepare Your Mind to Let Go…I mean, Perform

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Preparing your mind to perform is another important reason for having a great pre-performance routine.   As you prepare to begin your performance, you will want to engage in thinking and activities that enhance your trust in yourself, your preparation, and your readiness to perform.  Also, you will want to recognize the fearful, anxious, and doubtful thoughts and actions—performance … [Read more...]

Focus On The Process

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One of the most important of the 7 Strategies for a Great Pre-Performance Routine is focus.  We're not talking just any focus, but a focus on: What is most important to your performance (and I'm not talking about the outcome!) What is within your control THE PROCESS This very moment We are examining the components of a great pre-performance routine to help you respond effectively to … [Read more...]

Mental Rehearsal Can Work For You, Pt. 1

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When preparing for an upcoming performance performers work diligently by practicing and rehearsing.  As we've talked about before, musicians spend the majority of their time in the practice room or in rehearsal rather than on the stage and can be more readily characterized as practicers rather than performers. You would think that would make us experts at practicing.  However, many musicians … [Read more...]

Boost Confidence By Replacing Expectations

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Today, we continue our discussion of how to prepare for performances in a calm and dependable way.  If you recall from the article, 7 Strategies for a Great Pre-Performance Routine, the first step is Calming your Monkey Chatter.  Next, our focus is on expectations and their relationship to music performance anxiety.  Having expectations of success or a good outcome sounds like a good idea, … [Read more...]

Calming Your Monkey Chatter!

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In the last post, 7 Strategies for a Great Pre-Performance Routine, we discussed the key elements to calm and dependable preparation.  Today, I want to expand on the first important strategy:  Calming your inner chatter. Prior to performance or in practice or in lessons many musicians find their minds racing with thoughts like, "Can I do this?" "Why am I doing this?" "What if I don't … [Read more...]