The Key To Understanding Your Performance Anxiety

key

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!

Performance Fear

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...]

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...]

Prepare Your Mind to Let Go…I mean, Perform

trapeze_artists

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...]

Focus On The Process

Keep-Calm-And-Focus-On

One of the most important of the 7 Strategies for a Great Pre-Performance Routine is focus.  We're not talking just any focus, but a focus on: What is most important to your performance (and I'm not talking about the outcome!) What is within your control THE PROCESS This very moment We are examining the components of a great pre-performance routine to help you respond effectively to … [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...]

Boost Confidence By Replacing Expectations

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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...]

5 Steps to Enjoyable, Successful Auditions

Flute Audition

It may begin with the letter or email notifying you of your long-awaited audition date and time.  Your heart starts to pound, your throat gets tight, and suddenly your mouth feels like the Sahara Desert!   It may not hit you that fast.  It may wait to start on the night before the audition when you’re lying in bed.  You have a hard time sleeping.  Your mind begins to race and to play … [Read more...]