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...]

Do You Worry or Care Too Much What Others Think?

Worry

Well?  Do you?  Do you find yourself worrying or caring too much about what others are thinking or saying about you? Worrying or caring too much what others think about you and your performing is one of the biggest challenges that performers report facing.  Anything that distracts you or causes you to doubt yourself, your skills, and your abilities as much as this kind of worry does, must be … [Read more...]

Powerful Questions to Ask about Your Performing

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Have you had a problem performing well when you are under pressure at competitions or at auditions? Have you been so anxious before or even during a performance that it adversely affected your performing? Has your critical voice ever overpowered you with doubts and anxious thoughts?  Have you ever been so concerned with what others think about your performing that you felt unable to perform … [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 Is Your Performance Anxiety Trying to Tell You?

Different Mindsets

Does your heart race or do your hands shake prior to an important performance?  Do you get into your head and wonder what the audience or judging panel is going to think of your performance?  Do you feel so nervous that your head is full of chatter that distracts you from focusing on or enjoying your performance?  Do you feel confident and perform well in rehearsal and recital, but auditions … [Read more...]

The Audition Illusion

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What are illusions?  Illusions are tricks our eyes and minds play on us.  They trick us into perceiving something different from what actually exists.  What we see often does not correspond with reality.   The funny thing about optical illusions is that what we perceive seems very real until we view it in another light! Look at the black and white picture to the right.  What do you see?  … [Read more...]

What Motivates You—Being Good or Getting Better?

Same Old thinking

Has anyone ever told you to "lighten up" or "go easier on yourself"?  Have you every asked yourself why it seems so difficult to stick to your goals, especially when the going gets tough?  When people tell you "it's about the journey, not the destination" and "enjoy the process," do you wonder, "how in the world am I supposed to do this?"? The way you answer the question, "What motivates … [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...]