Ask any performer what is necessary for success and they will quickly reel off a list as long as your arm… lots of practice, hard work, support, luck, maybe even a big bank account or a sugar daddy! Arguably the most important elements for success are often overlooked. It doesn’t matter how much technical expertise you develop, how many scales you practice, or how much hard work you put in, without developing the core psychological skills for peak performance, even the great virtuosos would struggle.
I’m often asked how performance coaching works and what to expect, so I asked one of my clients if I could share her story. I’ve changed the name for her privacy, but to be honest, this story reminds me of most of my clients! I hope you find it useful to get a better understanding of how performance coaching works and how it could benefit you:)
If I only ever managed to write one blog post, this would be it: the essential message that I desperately want every performer to hear...
Well, ok, not exactly nothing, but very little... you still don't have to get off the couch! It's called Mindfulness Meditation...
Learning to meditate was one of my new years' resolutions for at least ten years! I always thought it was probably a good idea, but I never thought I had enough time, wasn’t completely convinced it would make any difference, and feared (from the few attempts that I’d made) that I wasn't really any good at it! (Sound familiar?!) That was, until I was introduced to Mindfulness Meditation.
You know those performances where you step off stage and someone says "how did it go?" ... and you realise you have no idea! The whole performance seems to be a blank, and you wonder if you forgot to even perform? Have you ever noticed that these are the performances where people then say " that was great - best I've ever heard you!"
Why is it that amnesia seems to produce the best performances?
When we first learn a new skill, it takes deliberate practice and repetition as our brain commits the information to our memory. We need to consciously process every detail in order to successfully wire the required neural pathways. This is fine when we are learning, but performance can include thousands of different technical aspects and there is only so much information our brain can consciously process at any given moment - it would be impossible to continue to consciously process every detail!
Ever struggled to break a bad habit? Felt like you were practicing, but nothing was changing? Wished you could stop the negative thoughts that run through your brain in an audition?
To understand how best to practice, how to stop a bad habit or how to change our negative thoughts, we first need to understand their origin: our brain.
Welcome to The Mindful Performer!
Throughout this blog, I will be sharing my thoughts and insights, based on the latest performance psychology research, to inspire and enable your peak performance. Whether you are a singer, instrumentalist, actor, dancer or public speaker a life in performance is both thrilling and rewarding, but it can also be a great challenge, marred with regular rejection, scrutiny, crippling challenges to self esteem, self-doubt and gruelling schedules. In this modern, competitive world, where there is always someone else to take your place and where bottom lines regularly trump the nurturing of talent, we need to address the limiting beliefs and thoughts that hold us back, and recognise the capacity of our brains to empower rather than derail us. If we don't, we are likely to be left behind.