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...]

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...]

Take Control of Your Confidence

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You may think that the title of this post sounds a little strange.  "How do I take control of my own confidence?"  Many musicians wait for the performance to begin, to see how they start to perform before they decide whether they feel good or whether they feel confident today.  Yes, you read that right—I said "decide."   You, and you alone, decide on and are alone responsible for your own … [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...]

Practicing for Peak Performance

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In How to Face Your Fear and Perform! we talked about getting in touch with the reasons why you perform, the importance of preparing well and learning to trust your preparation, and the importance of learning the other mental skills it takes to perform without fear. I don't know about you, but I find that when the word "practice" is brought up many people have adverse reactions.  These … [Read more...]

How to Face Your Fear and PERFORM!

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Musicians often live (and perform) in constant awareness of how they are being perceived by peers, teachers, audiences, and judging panels.  Let's face it, our whole society is built on getting ahead, striving to succeed, and BEING THE BEST!  There is nothing wrong with the striving thing.  It is a good thing to want to be your very best.  Where this kind of focus derails your performing is … [Read more...]