Ineffective Beliefs Performers Have and How to Change Them

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Last time, in Five Silly Beliefs Performers Have, we discussed five silly or irrational beliefs that performers can have.   Well, there are more.  If these beliefs were just passing thoughts with little consequence, we wouldn’t have much to talk about, but they can have a huge effect on how you feel and definitely on how you perform. If you’re like many performers who experience … [Read more...]

Are You a Mentally Tough Performer? Pt. 1

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It is very important for musicians to be proactive in their approach to preparing mentally as well as musically.  A musician’s inner game has everything to do with his or her performing.  We have called this inner game many things, namely confidence, being in the ZONE or FLOW, mental toughness, or mental strength.   Timothy Gallwey describes this inner game with a formula (that I’ve … [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...]

What Is Your Performance Anxiety Trying to Tell You?

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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

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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

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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...]

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 from Setbacks

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Being back in Joplin, my hometown and site of the deadliest tornado in recent American memory that hit last May 22, 2011, is both heartbreaking and uplifting.  When we were in Joplin one year ago, only days after the EF-5 twister hit, it was a scene of devastation that one only sees in movies or in your worst nightmares. When in Joplin helping my family and when reading about the efforts to … [Read more...]

Face Your Performance Anxiety or Run?

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In our recent discussions of performance anxiety we have talked about how to identify your fears in Performance Fear—Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire and how to understand our fears in The Key To Understanding Your Performance Anxiety.   The final step in dealing with your anxiety or fear is to take action and neutralize its ill effects.  It’s interesting how when many performers are confronted … [Read more...]

5 Steps to Enjoyable, Successful Auditions

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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...]