Here are your results!

Didn’t get a PDF of your profile in your inbox (or spam folder)? Wait a few minutes and then try clicking the button below to resend.

Resend my profile

To the right, you’ll find your Mental Skills Profile – a visual summary of where you stand on 6 core skills that can help you increase your effectiveness in the practice room and on stage.

And below, you’ll find specific guidance and advice on where to start, and what to focus on for any skills you may be struggling with.

Where should I begin?

Elite musicians or athletes often appear to be “naturals,” and born to thrive in pressure situations.

But the reality is that most high-level performers have had to work at becoming great performers. Not just by practicing more, but by practicing specifically for the unique demands of performing. Which does take a little dedicated practice time – but makes a huge, disproportionate difference when it matters.

Not sure where to start? Feel free to scan the list of articles below and start with the ones that catch your interest. Or, check out the articles that correspond with your lower scores on the profile above.

Oh, and don’t let your brain get too hung up on how high or low the numbers are in your profile. The assessment is really more about the process of thinking through the questions than your scores. So it’s ok if you see a lot of white space and not much color. 😅

Effective Practice

It can feel like our thoughts are racing, jumping and scattering amongst all sorts of unhelpful and crazy places as we wait offstage for the moment when we must go out and can no longer turn back. Unfortunately, all the doubts, fears, and worries are not so conducive to performing up to our abilities. So how can we quiet things down and get into a more performance-optimal mental space?

A high score in this skill suggests that you are able to quiet your thoughts on cue, shut off the critic, and stay present and composed in the moment.

A low score means that your brain may have a mind of its own in performances, making it difficult for you to take control and settle things down.

If you find that you’re unable to quiet the critic and control the crazy thoughts in your head during performances, this may be a good place to spend some time.

Beating Anxiety

Whether it’s a big audition or an exposed solo, it can be difficult to be yourself and perform freely when the adrenaline kicks in.

A high score in this area suggests that you’ve figured out how to manage your nerves, and start off each performance feeling pretty confident and focused on what you are about to do.

But by no means does a low score mean that there’s no hope. On the contrary, it just indicates that you may not have learned how to regulate your stress response and achieve a more optimal physical, mental, and emotional state in the last few moments before walking on stage and playing the first note.

If you have difficulty managing your nerves and the beginnings of performances are pretty much a crapshoot, this would be a good place to begin.

Getting Into the Zone

It can feel like our thoughts are racing, jumping and scattering amongst all sorts of unhelpful and crazy places as we wait offstage for the moment when we must go out and can no longer turn back. Unfortunately, all the doubts, fears, and worries are not so conducive to performing up to our abilities. So how can we quiet things down and get into a more performance-optimal mental space?

A high score in this skill suggests that you are able to quiet your thoughts on cue, shut off the critic, and stay present and composed in the moment.

A low score means that your brain may have a mind of its own in performances, making it difficult for you to take control and settle things down.

If you find that you’re unable to quiet the critic and control the crazy thoughts in your head during performances, this may be a good place to spend some time.

Building Confidence

We all have those special days where we feel confident and believe in ourselves. But there are plenty of days where we doubt ourselves, question everything, and wonder how we’re ever going to make it in music.

If you have a high score in this area, it doesn’t mean that you’re uber-confident, 100% of the time. It’s just that you’ve developed an understanding of how to remain positive and stay in a productive mental space even when facing challenges and setbacks.

A low score suggests that you may at times be your worst critic and enemy, and not be quite sure how to dig yourself out of a hole when you stumble into one (or how to avoid these downward spirals of doom to begin with).

If you feel that your confidence goes up and down and seems to be out of your control, this may be a useful skill to start with.

Cultivating Courage

There’s a tendency for us to play much more cautiously and tentatively on stage. Even though we know we’ve had no problem nailing all the difficult spots in the days leading up to our performance. So what gives? How can we play as fearlessly on stage as we do in rehearsals?

If you have a high score in this skill, you are either naturally inclined to, or have trained yourself to become more comfortable taking risks on stage. Either way, you’ve figured out how to build trust in this approach, and know just how far you can safely go.

If you have a low score, there could be a few things holding you back on stage – and off.

If playing out and really letting loose is a challenge, especially in high-pressure situations, this would be a good place to begin.

Mental Resilience

It’s not always so easy to maintain one’s composure and persevere through the inevitable ups and downs that we all experience both in the practice room and on stage.

A high score in this area suggests that mistakes and unexpected moments of adversity on stage don’t faze you too much. And that you’re able to stay pretty level-headed whether or not you’re having a good day.

A low score means that your emotions or frustrations might sometimes get the better of you under pressure. But learning how to maintain high standards while cultivating self-compassion is a skill that is totally learnable – and can have benefits not just to performance, but our lives off-stage as well.

If you have difficulty managing frustrations in the practice room, or often feel a bit burned out, this might be a good place to begin.

What's next?

When I first learned about performance psychology, I felt hopeful and excited – but also a little overwhelmed.

Because here was a whole world of fascinating new skills, concepts, and techniques to try. Yet this made me feel like I had a ton of catching up to do. And that I had to learn all of it, all at once.

In case you’re feeling a smidgen of overwhelm also, my two cents would be to aim for tiny, bite-sized changes instead of big changes. To that end, if you’re new to the site and just signed up, tomorrow, you’ll receive Part 1 in a 6-day email series on effective practicing. A series that will help you get comfortable with the process of leveling up through small daily practice experiments.

If, on the other hand, you’re eager to cannonball into the deep end right this second, you might enjoy Beyond Practicing, which is the home-study version of the courses I teach at Juilliard.

Either way, it’s great to have you here. And if you ever have any questions, feel free to send me a note right here!