Daring Greatly—The Vulnerable Performer

Vulnerable Singer

I recently watched Brené Brown’s 2012 TEDTalk called Listening to Shame.  I am one of 2,785,867 people who have viewed this video since.  I don’t know how many of those nearly three million viewers were performers so here I am passing this message on to you. Brown is a research professor who has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.  She … [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...]

Performers, Today is a Gift!

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Yesterday is history, tomorrow's a mystery, and today's a GIFT—that's why we call it the PRESENT! You, no doubt, have heard this saying.  With the holiday approaching, I thought that this quote was particularly appropriate.   It certainly does not have to be a holiday for this saying to have significance for performers. How many times have you caught yourself worrying about performing … [Read more...]

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...]

Release Yourself from Perfection’s Grip

barbrareleaseme

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...]

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...]

Freedom From Performance Anxiety

Black Door

When was the last time you felt anxious about an upcoming concert or audition? When was the last time you backed down from a challenge? Most performers have experienced these butterflies or anxiety prior to performance. This is not always a bad thing, but sometimes these feelings cause performers to pull back and can point to a common fear for performers—the fear of the unknown. The nature of … [Read more...]

The ABCs of Self-Talk for Musicians

Image credit:  z_i_b_i

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...]

Your Self-Talk—Friend or Foe?

Silhouette Self-Talk

Everyone has an inner dialogue of little voices—that steady stream of on-going thoughts and images—that constantly goes through their minds on and off the stage.  This dialogue can be your most reliable and best encouragement or can be your worst criticism. If you have been watching the Olympics, you have witnessed one incredible example after another of performers whose self-talk works … [Read more...]