Evidence That a Little Bit of Self-doubt Could Be Performance-enhancing

Evidence That a Little Bit of Self-Doubt Is Ok - and Might Even Be a Good Thing

Audio version Whether it’s a music theory placement exam, orchestral audition, or recital, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of going into important moments with total confidence. Such moments don’t happen as often as we’d like, but when they do, everything is so much easier and fun. Of course, more typically, we go into auditions and performances battling doubts and fears for days or weeks in advance. Especially when it’s a really important,…


Why the Pressure to Be Positive All the Time Could Make You Feel Worse

Why the Pressure to Be Positive All the Time Could Make You Feel Worse

“Don’t worry, be happy!” “Stay positive!” “Don’t be nervous/sad/upset/frustrated/etc.!” Throughout our lives, we are told in many ways - both explicitly, and often, more subtly - that we ought to maintain a positive, upbeat attitude. That winners engage in positive thinking, and our success is dependent on our ability to avoiding being so negative. And while there is certainly much to be said for positivity, sometimes it can be awfully exhausting to keep it up. Because on occasion, we do…


how can you create performance pressure in practice?

How Can You Create the Feeling of Real Pressure in Practice Situations?

Whether it’s sight-reading under pressure, nailing that big shift in an audition, or making an impossible shot to get all your classmates an A in organic chemistry , we all know from experience that performing up to our full abilities is infinitely more challenging when it feels like there’s something at stake. But we’ve also learned from recent research (like here and here), that we don’t have to accept this. That being clutch under pressure is a skill we can get better at - by…


Is It Helpful or Harmful to Perform a Piece Before It's

Is It Helpful or Harmful to Perform a Piece Before It's "Performance-Ready"?

Performing can be fun when you know you’re prepared, walk on stage feeling confident that things are going to go well, play your heart out, and not only sound great, but experience that feeling of being in “flow.” And then there are those performance days when you wake up the morning to a nagging feeling deep down (or possibly, a bloodcurdling scream), that you’re not ready. That you hadn’t given yourself enough time to really get comfortable with a certain piece, or hadn’t practiced diligently…