Perform with Confidence!

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 nail that first high note or play through the whole first movement without a memory slip to determine whether you will feel good about your playing or singing today?  If so, I have just one thing to say:  Your Confidence is Up to YOU!

Ok, so I have more than just that one thing to say to you.  You, and only you, decide, accept, and are responsible for your confidence level on performance day.  Confidence is the strength of your belief in your ability to execute a specific skill or in your ability to perform in general.  As with any other belief we hold, we choose it.  Of course our beliefs can be supported or affected by other factors or by people around us, but these factors or people don’t have to change our belief.  Only you have the power to change your belief–your confidence!

If you have high confidence, it is very hard to get anxious or tense or to worry about the outcome of a performance because you already know that you will perform well.  With high confidence you do not worry and stress about the competition or who is going to be in the audience.  With confidence you are relaxed and focused on the task at hand, on what is within your sphere of influence and control in this moment—primarily your focus, your thoughts, and your attitude.

You see, you have it backwards when you wait to see how a performance is going to go to feel good about your ability to perform.  This does not mean that every performance will go the way you want it, but it sure increases the odds.  Look at it the other way.  Does doubting and worrying and stressing get you closer to the performance of your dreams?  NO!

So, let’s break it down.  As you prepare for your next performance you will probably feel nervous, have a few butterflies, or have what you have called performance anxiety.  When you do, accept it.  Embrace those nerves, butterflies, and anxious feelings as your body’s signal that it is time—decision time—to courageously step out and perform.

Having high confidence is a decision away!

Prepare well.  Deliberate, goal-directed practice works best.

Trust your preparation.  Practice your ability to turn off self-coaching and evaluation.

Focus on what is important to your performing in this moment.  Identify “big picture” ideas to focus on instead of technical details.

Think about the reasons you have to strongly believe in your skills and abilities.  Review the “whys” behind your success instead of the “hows.”

Face your doubt and decide to believe instead!  Recognize any doubts that arise and shift your focus back to why you can be confident!

Perform!  This is the moment—your time to enjoy!

Your confidence is up to YOU!!  Decide to perform with confidence!

I would really like to know how you choose confidence.  What kind of conversation do you have with yourself that keeps you courageously going back for more?

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  1. At first, I thought that these kind of problems are just for me. But now, I found that such a problem happens for lots of other musician and there are systematic ways of solving them.

  2. The issue is that i do not have enough self-confidence and thinking i am not capable enough, but we should accept ourselves as we are.

    • Dr. Diana Allan says:

      Simin, acceptance is truly important—especially at the time of the performance. Learning to accept your performances in the moment of performance and learning to shut off evaluation and judgment is key to performing with joy and confidence. Your self-confidence is tied to your ability to trust your preparation, accepting your performances, and having the courage to face your fears, doubts, and insecurities and focus on what you can control and perform ANYWAY. The more you do this, the more confident you will feel. Thanks for commenting and keep me posted!!

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