Daring Greatly—The Vulnerable Performer

Vulnerable Singer

I recently watched Brené Brown’s 2012 TEDTalk called Listening to Shame.  I am one of 2,785,867 people who have viewed this video since.  I don’t know how many of those nearly three million viewers were performers so here I am passing this message on to you. Brown is a research professor who has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.  She … [Read more...]

French Open Lessons for Performers

Haas

While writing this article, I’ve been watching the 2013 French Open, one of tennis’ premier Grand Slam tournaments.   Let’s see what we can learn from these performers on the clay courts in Paris.  It took the 12th seeded German player, Tommy Haas, 4 hours and 37 minutes and 13 match points to beat American, John Isner in five sets in the third round on June 1.  Then Haas met and beat … [Read more...]

What’s Your Destiny? You Decide!

You Decide

Have you ever felt stuck after a less than successful performance?  Why did this happen?  Again!  What about that audition that didn't go the way you expected?  We often focus on the fact that the performance didn't go well instead of focusing on what we can change to make a difference next time.  On the flip side, have you ever found it difficult to get up and going after a successful … [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...]

Release Yourself from Perfection’s Grip

barbrareleaseme

Did you see the recent Associated Press article about Barbra Streisand's new album, Release Me?   It seems that during the heyday of her recording career, if she made a mistake or found a single problem while recording a song, she'd toss the whole thing.  Because of this perfectionism, she ended up with a whole case full of unreleased material.   "If I didn't like that one word, I wouldn't … [Read more...]

The Audition Illusion

illusion

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...]

Freedom From Performance Anxiety

Black Door

When was the last time you felt anxious about an upcoming concert or audition? When was the last time you backed down from a challenge? Most performers have experienced these butterflies or anxiety prior to performance. This is not always a bad thing, but sometimes these feelings cause performers to pull back and can point to a common fear for performers—the fear of the unknown. The nature of … [Read more...]

Your Self-Talk—Friend or Foe?

Silhouette Self-Talk

Everyone has an inner dialogue of little voices—that steady stream of on-going thoughts and images—that constantly goes through their minds on and off the stage.  This dialogue can be your most reliable and best encouragement or can be your worst criticism. If you have been watching the Olympics, you have witnessed one incredible example after another of performers whose self-talk works … [Read more...]

Strategies for Becoming a Mentally Tough Performer

Itzhak Perlman

You, like many musicians, may have heard things like, “You gotta be tough!”  “You have to grow a thick skin!” or “Don’t wear your feelings on your sleeve!”    At the same time, performers are supposed to get their TOUGH selves onto the stage and become vulnerable artists in order to share their music with the audience.  Seems like a paradox?  Let’s see if we can figure this … [Read more...]

Focus On What YOU Can Control

Archer

If you are a performer who struggles with performance anxiety or you can't seem to perform as well as you practice, you may want to take a look at to what and where you are paying attention.  Most performers who are anxious or fearful are paying attention to things outside of their control.  The ability to concentrate in the present and to focus on the specific task at hand is extremely … [Read more...]