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...]

Practice, Prepare, Perform—Then What?

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After a big performance or competition, performers can feel a little let down because what they have been striving for is completed.   Rather than move right on to the next goal, why not stop and assess?  After a major recital, competition, or audition is an excellent time for performers to check in with how they are doing.  If you're thinking, I thought that's what the performance or … [Read more...]

Do Your Performances Hit or Miss?

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I ran across a quote by Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, that really spoke to me.   Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who spent three years in a concentration camp.  When released, he chronicled his ordeal in his book, Man's Search for Meaning (1959).   In this best-selling book, he concluded that even in the most absurd, painful, and dehumanized situation, life has … [Read more...]

“Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do!”

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Anyone who has seen the 50's American hit television show, I Love Lucy, has heard Ricky Ricardo say to his wife, "LUCY, you've got some splainin' to do!"  Oh, how we've laughed at Lucy's wild and funny explanations. As performers, the explanations we have for our successes and setbacks may not be so wild or funny, but we have them all the same and they can and do really affect the way we … [Read more...]

What About Your Inner Game? (corrected)

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As a musician you have spent, and may continue to spend, a great deal of time improving your technique and preparing to perform.  There are countless nuances in your technique that you count on to reliably work well for you when you perform.  We might (actually Barry Green with Timothy Gallwey of The Inner Game of Music fame might) call this your outer game.   This outer game is what we … [Read more...]

Don’t Believe Everything You Think!

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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...]

The ABCs of Self-Talk for Musicians

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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...]

What Kind of Goals Do YOU Need?

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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...]