The Costs of Perfectionism

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Perhaps the saddest statement to read in any biography is that the person fell short or didn’t really accomplish what he or she might have. Well, that’s exactly what I read recently in a brief account of the life of late 19th century French composer, Henri Duparc, “An examination of the life of Henri Duparc often leads one not to explore what he actually accomplished, but to speculate on … [Read more...]

Resilience—Bouncing Back, Pt. 2

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In Resilience—Bouncing Back from Setbacks we discussed what makes performers able to recover quickly from mistakes, setbacks, auditions that don't go well, or performances that are considered unsatisfactory or  as failures.  In your effort to be the best performer you can be, you may often lose sight of the fact that the mistakes and setbacks you have are something every performer … [Read more...]

Which Mindset Do YOU Have?

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I have recently read a book that has rocked my world and I want to turn you onto it as well because I think it has HUGE implications for musicians.   I am talking about Dr. Carol S. Dweck's book, Mindset.   Run— don't walk—to the nearest bookstore and purchase it or log onto Amazon and order it today! What if it wasn't our abilities or talent that bring us success, but whether we approach … [Read more...]

What Is Your Greatest Fear?

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If you are like most performers, you have experienced some kind of anxiety or fear when preparing for or waiting for a performance to begin.  Many of you find that this fear does not subside once the performance begins.  You may have even put a name to your fear—fear of embarrassment, fear of rejection, or fear of failure.  Once you discover the source of your fear, you can get busy working … [Read more...]

Decisions, decisions—Worry About Performing or Not?

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Ok, let's talk about worry. . .  How many times have you worried about the weather?  If you’ve ever planned an outdoor event—a wedding, a child's birthday party, a picnic or even when you have been planning a trip I bet you have worried about the weather!  Is it going to be nice?  Is my event going to be rained out? Will all my plans be ruined?  I've worked so hard all year for this one … [Read more...]

The Key To Understanding Your Performance Anxiety

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Last time in Performance Fear—Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!, we called fear out for the destructive and deceiving force it can be to our preparation and our performances.  As anyone who has experienced it, performance-related fear is a powerful emotion that all of us have felt.   In order to neutralize its ill-effects, it is important that you understand that it tricks you into believing things … [Read more...]

Performance Fear—Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

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Several years ago, Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks starred in a movie called Defending Your Life.  Both Streep and Brooks die in the first minutes of the film.  The rest of the movie is set in heaven as they attempt to defend the way they lived as a heavenly tribunal reviews footage of scenes from their lives.  The novel thesis of the movie is that the purpose of the ‘trial’ is not to … [Read more...]

Prepare Your Mind to Let Go…I mean, Perform

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Preparing your mind to perform is another important reason for having a great pre-performance routine.   As you prepare to begin your performance, you will want to engage in thinking and activities that enhance your trust in yourself, your preparation, and your readiness to perform.  Also, you will want to recognize the fearful, anxious, and doubtful thoughts and actions—performance … [Read more...]

Calming Your Monkey Chatter!

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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...]

10 Mantras for Fearless Performing

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In a recent session I conducted with performers on what they wanted out of their performances, I found that many of the performers in the group were big believers in the Perfectionists' Creed: Perfectionists' Creed: "If I try hard enough and I am very careful and I follow all of the rules, everything will go right and everyone  will love me and I will feel good all of the time." In my best Dr. … [Read more...]