December 18, 2018
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Performance Confidence Ideas

March 26, 2018

Remember that you have to practice these to find ones work for you. They will change and different ones work at different times. 
So, it is best to have a few that help and to practice using them daily.

Everyone gets "nervous", has additional energy, adrenaline and things they feel before and during the doing something that they care about. 
It is the people that have become aware of and worked with their own "nerves" that appear to be less nervous and are more confident... Rephrase nervous to: a part of me is nervous, there is a lot of energy moving through me right now, I am very excited… What kind of energy is moving through you? How can you use it to help you?  Don’t ignore it (that is just not feeling what is really there and not helpful either). DO direct the energy in a positive, real way, into your music and music making. Visualize in detail how you want to play and performing your music. 

Personal Routine:
What is your “personal routine” that helps you to play as you want to for a performance/audition/competition/lesson/practice? This will include the night before, day of, warm up before, and at the performance or audition. Include: warmups, centering, playing, your mental thoughts, what you wear, walking onto stage, tuning… Learn what you need to play like you and at a level that makes you happy and satisfied. 

Warm up, connecting to self and flute:
How you connect to yourself and your flute is warming up.  How you “warm up”  really matters and can make the most difference in how you audition and perform. This is not just at the performance but a daily development and awareness of how and what you are doing and feeling. 

Mindful Self Talk:
Believe: You have to believe in yourself and what you are doing. How do you talk to yourself? It really matters. Learn to believe in and trust your interpretation and your music making. It takes practice to believe in & trust yourself. Trust yourself, the people you are making music with, the people who came to listen to you and in something greater than yourself. Share your music in a generous, confident, and expressive way. Instead of “I am nervous”. Acknowledge that a part of me is nervous and that there are other parts of you that are not. For example, A part of you: wants play your best and share the music. wants to enjoy the experience of performing. is excited to play and do well. my spirit is stronger than my nervous part!
Keep saying things to yourself that make you feel good and feel BETTER!

Body Language: 
How you feel in your body and how powerful and strong and connected to your body matters. When you feel good and energized in your body you lower the cortisol, stress hormone and raise the I can do it, testosterone hormone… This chemical change is saying to your body/brain that you are safe, to be yourself… and to make music. By practicing feeling a sense of energy and aliveness in your body and calm clarity you are in your state of "relax response" vs.a reactionary, fight flight or freeze...  Your body language changes your brain chemistry, and your thoughts also change your brain chemistry and hence your body language. All of this, your body language and your thoughts, make a difference in your daily life and in a confident performance.          

Breathing and Body:
Include your whole body as you play. Notice and relax your breathing and release excess body tension. Get rid of stale air and avoid holding your breath. 
The easiest way to do this with a long exhale and allow the air to fully easily return on the inhale. Vagus Nerve, is the nerve in the Central Nervous system, that tells us everything is ok, safe. This large central nerve gets stimulated and massaged when there is a long EXHALATION, release of your breath. The vagus nerve then sends message to brain and body, neuro chemicals, are released to calm us on an EXHALE. Versus the Flight, Flight or Freeze, which is controlled by the inhalation. Loooooooooong exhalation = Long tones = calming.

Other things that help, use a hand to become aware of the movement of your ribs. Try a few big sighs to exhale stale, help air.  Use the SSSS, breath to have some resistance to blow against.
Use your breathing bag with natural breathing, to breathe your own air elasticizes the lungs. 
Scan body start at the top of your head to your toes and release muscle tension. Teach yourself to notice and  release muscle tension, scan hourly throughout your body letting go of tension. 
Find the wall and lean into it for alignment and core support.

5  to 9 Second Rule:
5 seconds or more rule for: Silence, playing a tuning note, connecting to your body, breath, sound before performing or starting anything. It takes takes time to clear the clutter of the mind, to calm and center yourself, to feel, to listen to be inclusive and whole in your practice, play and music making. Take 5 seconds as you bring flute to your lips to prepare and begin to play. 

Essential Oils: 
Some people are helped by their sense of smell. Smelling and putting a a drop of lavender oil on your wrist has a calming effect on the nervous system. This may help trigger the rest and relaxation chemicals in your brain if you sense this and train yourself when you smell this it is relaxing to me. 

Music Making:
We call it music making because we are very busy making the music come to life. If you focus on all the things you do: breathing, moving the air, beautiful sounds, intonation, rhythm, notes, dynamics, expression, creating phrases and contour notes, focusing your energy, listening…
Be Engaged, Expansive, Expressive & Energized on Stage.

Include your whole self and spirit. Be generous with your audience! Be expressive, energized, engaged, involved, physical, genuine and heartfelt. Doing the work of creating the music! Then you will feel yourself making your music. 

Opening yourself to what matters the most, the music, the people and the whole space you are performing in. This is a great way to feel generous, grateful and less nervous. (vs. just you and your music stand) 

You feel less nervous if you are busy doing the work of playing the music and open up to whole space and audience, vs. closed and just focused on the notes, yourself and the music stand.
Do the work to play your best!  If you are busy with all this music making, really involved, focused on the work and creation of making music, you will not have time to be nervous.

Practice one at a time for a week and see how it works for you. Then explore one at a time in a performance situation you set up t play for people. Gradually you will find ones that work for you and that you can trust in your more high intensity stressful situations. 

Let me know how it is going! 

Happy Practicing!