Have You Hugged Your Performance Anxiety Today?

Fear

It was the night before.  I just lay there in bed. I couldn't sleep. I was breathing funny, my heart was pounding, and my thoughts were...well, noisy.  Some of the thoughts that went racing through my head were "I need to sleep.  I need to just calm down and get to sleep.  Tomorrow will be here soon enough." I bet you thought I was describing the night before an important performance, … [Read more...]

Mental Rehearsal Can Work For You, Pt. 2

visualization

Mental rehearsal, or vividly visualizing yourself practicing or performing difficult passages, preparing yourself to be confident, or reviewing a memorized section or a past performance are all effective supplements to the physical practice you or your students engage in prior to performance.   Some may also call this type of practice imagery.  Whatever you call it, vividly seeing, hearing, and … [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...]

Take Control of Your Confidence

images-4

You may think that the title of this post sounds a little strange.  "How do I take control of my own confidence?"  Many musicians wait for the performance to begin, to see how they start to perform before they decide whether they feel good or whether they feel confident today.  Yes, you read that right—I said "decide."   You, and you alone, decide on and are alone responsible for your own … [Read more...]

Boost Confidence By Replacing Expectations

images-6

Today, we continue our discussion of how to prepare for performances in a calm and dependable way.  If you recall from the article, 7 Strategies for a Great Pre-Performance Routine, the first step is Calming your Monkey Chatter.  Next, our focus is on expectations and their relationship to music performance anxiety.  Having expectations of success or a good outcome sounds like a good idea, … [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...]

7 Strategies for a Great Pre-Performance Routine

Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Do you feel it in the air?  The tension?  The uncertainty?  This is audition season and lots of musicians are beating the pavement laying it all on the line to get into college, graduate school, or win a much coveted spot in a summer music festival or program.    Some are looking for professional positions in chamber groups or orchestras.  There's nothing like an audition.  You've spent … [Read more...]

Practicing for Peak Performance

Music Department Practice Rooms 2

In How to Face Your Fear and Perform! we talked about getting in touch with the reasons why you perform, the importance of preparing well and learning to trust your preparation, and the importance of learning the other mental skills it takes to perform without fear. I don't know about you, but I find that when the word "practice" is brought up many people have adverse reactions.  These … [Read more...]

How to Face Your Fear and PERFORM!

hornist

Musicians often live (and perform) in constant awareness of how they are being perceived by peers, teachers, audiences, and judging panels.  Let's face it, our whole society is built on getting ahead, striving to succeed, and BEING THE BEST!  There is nothing wrong with the striving thing.  It is a good thing to want to be your very best.  Where this kind of focus derails your performing is … [Read more...]

Perform with Confidence!

Lang-Lang

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 … [Read more...]