Does this sound familiar?
“I don’t think I can do this, what if I chip a note?”
“OMG I screwed up my sound the last time. What is going to make this time any different?”
“What if the panel doesn’t like my playing? What is wrong with me? I am so tense.”
You’ve practiced the material for hours on end. But you can only think about the ten people behind the screen and you are full of nerves. Your anxiety is high and the negative thoughts continue to dominate. These are the demons inside of you trying to sabotage you from competing at your best.
Now it’s time to focus on your positive mindset as much as you do your talent and technique.
You will get out of your own head, focus on the task at hand, and play your best. You can let go of the past, forget about the future, and be present because you’ll realize that is where you have the most control. You can learn to beat the “demons” so that you can confidently pour your heart into your next audition or your next big concert.
If you have already tried to practice harder and longer but have gotten the same results, it’s time to change your approach. If you are tired of not getting the position you want and continue struggling to play like you practice, let’s talk about your routine and take a different stance.
Every time you go to an audition the devil shows up, doesn’t it? Or maybe it’s just the pressure of an enthusiastic audience? Read about how to control your nerves, lower your anxiety, and just enjoy the excitement to play your best.
Designed for professional musicians who want to win more auditions and feel more confident when performing.
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Tom* was a professional orchestral piano player. He was so remarkable that when he graduated from music school he was sought out by every major symphony in the United States. He secured a permanent job and played principal pianist for the same orchestra for ten years. He had developed a familiarity and comfort in his job and because of it, started to get relaxed about practicing. After ten years, he was let go. Tom started auditioning for other principal jobs but was so nervous he struggled to play. He choked in the middle of several auditions and was losing confidence in his skill.
In our first session together, we discovered that Tom had lost faith in his ability to play the piano as well as he had during his college years. He realized that being so strongly sought after had made him a bit arrogant and this led to him just showing up to performances having not practiced. Even though he was let go he was still considered a legend piano player. The pressure to be a star again and win an audition after being let go from a principal job was so difficult and conflicting that he carried it into every audition, unable to perform.
Our first step was to paint a picture of who Tom the piano player is now, learn to let go of all that happened in the past, and focus on the present. In our sessions together we worked on reducing distracting mental chatter by redirecting attention from thoughts to playing. We identified motivations that were intrinsic and tapped into the joy of performing that had led him to his childhood dream of becoming a great piano player.
After three months, Tom participated in an audition and felt more confident and less anxious. He performed well, made it to the final round, and won the audition.
We developed a personalized mental toolkit for Tom that included:
Billie* began singing when she was three years old and went professional when she was 18. For 15 years, she sang in a rock and roll group but decided she wanted switch to country. The switch was riddled with worries, doubts, and fears and after five years of choking in performances her confidence had bottomed out. She felt like she was starting over.
In our first session together, we discovered that because she had been a well-known rock and roll star for 15 years, she didn’t think that making the switch was going to be a problem. However, it was a drastic change and she wasn’t ready. The music was different and the environment was different. She was not as good at making country music as she thought she would be and that eroded her confidence so much that she could barely perform. She had a very strong drive that was motivated by things such as recognition that are not intrinsic to the experience of singing as she was not (yet) very good. She had put a great deal of pressure on herself to rehearse around the clock and was burning out. Many in the business said she had the voice. Billie was just struggling to bring it out.
Our first step was to bring awareness to what was showing up when she stood to sing. In our sessions together we worked on reducing distracting mental chatter by redirecting attention from thoughts to focusing on her singing. We identified motivations that were intrinsic and therefore more sustainable. She tapped into the joy of singing that had led to her childhood dream of becoming a great singer. We also worked on how to practice smarter and not longer or harder, as well as, helping her find balance in her life.
We meet weekly in my office to evaluate progress and make adjustments, with email check-ins in between sessions.
After three months, Billie participated in an audition and felt confident rather than anxious. She performed well and made it to the final round.
We developed a personalized mental toolkit for Billie that included:
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.
I was frustrated with the divide between my ability and the results I was getting. Once I started working with Dr. Michelle, the results were immediate. I began advancing further in highly-competitive auditions and having more satisfying performances. She helped me let go of the details, focus on the big picture, and play from the heart. Michelle has been a tireless advocate for my success and I feel very fortunate to have her in my corner.
Dr. Michelle has a direct no-nonsense approach that has helped me to tackle problems and overcome obstacles. Her advice has helped me to quickly laser focus on the things I need to do to achieve my goals and her strategies are both powerful and easy to follow.
Learn more about Dr. Michelle’s approach and proven philosophy that helps top musicians transform their struggles into outstanding performances and captivating auditions. Her process uncovers the root of the problem and empowers artists to control each unique scenario they encounter.
Read more about the constant challenges that musicians experience and how to better deal with nerves, negative chatter, and basic distractions.