The best weapon against performance anxiety is to totally immerse yourself in the music. Most musicians can remember their most fantastic concert: how effortlessly they played, enjoying every note and feeling the music in every fibre of their being. Psychologists call this flow.
Is it possible to increase the chances of experiencing this flow? Fortunately: YES!
Traditionally, musicians have always concentrated on improving their performance by studying hard. However you can also benefit greatly from focusing on preventing underperformance by releasing unnecessary tension, and improving your coordination and breathing. This involves learning to gradually change thoughts that make you nervous or block your coordination, into more helpful thoughts that make movement easy, make you feel more confident, and more aware of yourself and others in all inclusive awareness.
Some examples of unhelpful thoughts:
‘Oh no, it’s out of tune, yet again’, or ‘I should have studied harder’, or ‘I have to show them that I can play well’, or ‘Here comes that terribly difficult passage’, ‘I can’t play fast notes’.
Thoughts like this will make you feel stressed, tense and nervous while practising, and will increase the chances of you becoming too nervous on stage because this is what you practised at home for many hours.
Those who suffer less from nerves tend to think thoughts such as: ‘In this piece I want to create this atmosphere’, or ‘I would like to move the audience’, or ‘This piece is so wonderful that I can’t wait to perform and share it’ or ‘Here comes that high note: I keep breathing, release to the floor and...got it!’
My workshops are about the subject of flow; which basically means the prevention of under performance. By consciously activating your thoughts in a positive, musically helpful, and coordinating way, you can really help yourself to enjoy performing on stage, improve coordination and decrease stress and performance anxiety.