Self-Assess Your Performing Skills

Performers don’t hesitate to assess their musical skills as they continue to train and practice to be an excellent player or singer.   It’s just as important to periodically assess your mental skills in order to determine how prepared you are to move forward, to grow, and continue to evolve as an excellent and mentally strong performer.  These mental performing skills include commitment, motivation, confidence, focus, self-talk, visualization, and trust.

Many musicians rely on coaches, teachers, and, frankly, the audience to give them feedback as to how well they are doing.  Many others often realize, on their own, that one or more areas need attention.    A general feeling of anxiety or lack of confidence can suck the life out of your performing and lead to feelings of helplessness.   When you are underperforming, you need to know specifically  which skill or skills need to be developed further to become more mentally tough.

Let’s take stock . . .

Rank the following statements (inspired by Sport Psychologist, Dr. Bob Rotella)  on a scale between 10 (I identify strongly with this statement.) and 1 (I really think I need to work on this-starting today!).

1.  I take risks when I play/sing in order to perform at high levels.  I rarely play or sing tentatively.  COMMITMENT

2.  I love the challenge of each performance—whatever it is.  MOTIVATION

3.  I focus on the process of playing/singing and rarely think of the result or outcome of my performance.  FOCUS

4.  I know that nothing can bother or upset me onstage unless I let it.  TRUST

5.  I regularly play/sing with a feeling or focus that the outcome doesn’t matter.  FOCUS

6.  I believe fully in myself so I can play/sing freely.  CONFIDENCE

7.  I regularly visualize (see, feel, hear) my playing/singing before each performance. VISUALIZATION/  MENTAL REHEARSAL

8.  Prior and during performance, I have no trouble being decisive, committed, and clear.   COMMITMENT

9.  I talk to myself and think thoughts as if I am my own best friend.  SELF-TALK

10.  I recognize that my greatest asset is my attitude-an attitude that I can always and continue to grow, get better, and evolve into the kind of performer I want to be.  ATTITUDE/MINDSET

If you ranked any item an 8 or below—*DING DING DING*—you need to check out that particular skill.  When you click on the MENTAL SKILL in RED following each item, you will be directed to information you may need.  Just as your musical skills need consistent work and practice, so do your mental skills.  Take time to regularly assess your skills so you can continue to improve or maintain your performing at high levels.

With persistent hard work, effective strategies, and seeking the expertise you need to continue to grow, you can keep evolving as a performer.    You can also take a deeper look by clicking ASSESSMENT.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me, if you would like to talk with me directly about your performance.

Want to learn more about how to develop your own unique pre-performance routine and your most effective mindset? Then, check out The Relaxed Musician:  Mental Preparation for Confident Performances, A 14-Day Plan   Download Day 1 of the workbook and audio to see how the program can work for you.  With purchase, you will receive 2 great bonuses—Your Pre-Performance Checklist and the e-book, Letting Go of the Need to be Perfect!

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  1. Dear Dr. Allan

    Thanks for categorizing

    We can recognize our weakness and We will refer directly to the related article about our mental problems, Its more clear and helpful.

    • Dr. Diana Allan says:

      Thanks Simin for your comment. It’s always good to hear from you. If we want to improve as performers—you’re right—it is necessary for us to look for “weakness” and seek the guidance or help we need to grow and learn. In addition to “recognizing our weakness,” I hope, though, that many musicians (including you) will be able to recognize the strengths they have and celebrate these. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if there is an issue you want or need more information on.

  2. I appreciate the categories also. This provides a checklist approach to development which gives structure to the work we do. Vocal interpretation brings me pleasure. Accuracy enhances this pleasure. I am willing to forgive inaccuracy in myself but its hard! An Obsessive cumpulsive drive is hard to tame. :/ Being in a studio environment allows necessary external feedback to help keep “self-talk” in check.

    • Dr. Diana Allan says:

      Helen, thanks so much for your input. I agree with you that accuracy enhances the performer’s pleasure. Having the ability to accept our performances without regard to being right or wrong is such a critical skill for performers. A strong obsessive-compulsive drive can serve us in practice and in preparation for performance, but you’re right—it’s hard to tame or turn off once we’re performing. Although external feedback can help give us a reality check of sorts, cultivating healthy, positive self-talk can take time and much practice. Recognizing what and which situations “pushes our buttons” and then, being prepared to reframe our thinking and act differently is key to moving forward and growing. Thanks again for your thoughts!

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