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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

10 Mantras for Fearless Performing

Nervous_on_Stage

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...]

Lies of Perfectionism, Part 2

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In Lies of Perfectionism, Part 1 we examined several misconceptions perfectionists have and the stories perfectionists keep telling themselves.  If you feel like what you accomplish is never going to be good enough, or you often procrastinate engaging in important tasks like practicing or preparing for events, or you feel you must impress others or you set standards that are impossible to … [Read more...]

Lies of Perfectionism, Part 1

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Many of you may have seen the recent psychological thriller, The Black Swan.  In this fictional portrayal of perfectionism, Nina, a promising ballerina, pushes herself beyond the bounds of her mental and physical health to be perfect.  It is very tiring, discouraging, and often destructive to continually attempt to impress others, avoid making mistakes, and perform perfectly all the time.   … [Read more...]

Perfectionism and Music Performance Anxiety

Juan Diego Florez

Prior to performance do you think about the mistakes you made in your last performance or do you worry about the mistakes you might make today? Do you want to perform well so badly that you practice right up to performance day and sometimes continue to “fix” and self-coach even during the performance? After the performance, is it difficult to let go of mistakes because you keep beating … [Read more...]