Strategies for Becoming a Mentally Tough Performer

Itzhak Perlman

You, like many musicians, may have heard things like, “You gotta be tough!”  “You have to grow a thick skin!” or “Don’t wear your feelings on your sleeve!”    At the same time, performers are supposed to get their TOUGH selves onto the stage and become vulnerable artists in order to share their music with the audience.  Seems like a paradox?  Let’s see if we can figure this … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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

Stage Blue Sky

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

Singer w:orchestra

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...]

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...]

What Is Your Greatest Fear?

Thing under Bed

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...]

Decisions, decisions—Worry About Performing or Not?

Choice arrows

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...]

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...]

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...]