Mental Rehearsal Can Work For You, Pt. 1

Mental Reh

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...]

Take Control of Your Confidence

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You may think that the title of this post sounds a little strange.  "How do I take control of my own confidence?"  Many musicians wait for the performance to begin, to see how they start to perform before they decide whether they feel good or whether they feel confident today.  Yes, you read that right—I said "decide."   You, and you alone, decide on and are alone responsible for your own … [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!

PP Thoughts

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...]

7 Strategies for a Great Pre-Performance Routine

Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Do you feel it in the air?  The tension?  The uncertainty?  This is audition season and lots of musicians are beating the pavement laying it all on the line to get into college, graduate school, or win a much coveted spot in a summer music festival or program.    Some are looking for professional positions in chamber groups or orchestras.  There's nothing like an audition.  You've spent … [Read more...]

5 Steps to Enjoyable, Successful Auditions

Flute Audition

It may begin with the letter or email notifying you of your long-awaited audition date and time.  Your heart starts to pound, your throat gets tight, and suddenly your mouth feels like the Sahara Desert!   It may not hit you that fast.  It may wait to start on the night before the audition when you’re lying in bed.  You have a hard time sleeping.  Your mind begins to race and to play … [Read more...]

Practicing for Peak Performance

Music Department Practice Rooms 2

In How to Face Your Fear and Perform! we talked about getting in touch with the reasons why you perform, the importance of preparing well and learning to trust your preparation, and the importance of learning the other mental skills it takes to perform without fear. I don't know about you, but I find that when the word "practice" is brought up many people have adverse reactions.  These … [Read more...]

Perform with Confidence!

Lang-Lang

Oh, ok!  Did you know that your confidence IS up to you and nobody else.  The number one mistake many musicians make with confidence is that they do not take full responsibility for their confidence on performance, competition, or audition day. Take a moment to think about it. . .  Do you have to wait until you warm up to see if it is going to be a good day?  Do you have to wait until you … [Read more...]

What if anxiety or ‘nerves’ is NOT the problem?

Mind's Eye

Q: How do I not let my nerves get to me? If I feel nervous, I don’t think I can perform well and if I don't feel nervous, then I think my performance would go as I practice, but it doesn’t.  What can I do? A: This is an interesting question that came in as a result of our survey on the use of mental skills.  If you haven't taken the survey and would like to, it will only take a few … [Read more...]

10 Mantras for Fearless Performing

Nervous_on_Stage

In a recent session I conducted with performers on what they wanted out of their performances, I found that many of the performers in the group were big believers in the Perfectionists' Creed: Perfectionists' Creed: "If I try hard enough and I am very careful and I follow all of the rules, everything will go right and everyone  will love me and I will feel good all of the time." In my best Dr. … [Read more...]