Have the Best Performance of Your Life!
Have you ever seen a performer who actually seems more alive on the stage than off it? A performer like that has probably mastered the ability to control their nerves with their mind powers. And who doesn’t want in on that?
From Olympic athletes to business execs, people at the top of their game use the power of mental practice to prepare for their peak performance. If you’re ready to tap into your inner superpowers, try out some of these musical mind tricks and see if they don’t make this performance your best performance ever. Together with harnessing the power of adrenaline (last week) and living in the moment (next week), mastering these mind tricks rounds out our trifecta of performance preparation tips. Check out our full PERFORMANCE SERIES to help you shred your next performance to the max!
PERFORMANCE POWER II
Practice Techniques to Prepare the Week of Your Performance
Zen in the Art of Performance
Almost all the music practice you do is on your instrument: playing the scales, singing the notes, training your physical body to create musical sounds from the notes on the page. But think about how much work your brain is doing when you play or sing. It’s your brain that translates those white and black dots into sounds, and the more efficiently it can do its work the flashier your playing or singing will be. Incorporating these brain-training routines into your practice will help you maximize your mental efficiency, and—bonus—you can also do them just about anywhere, even if your instrument is nowhere to be found.
It’s All in Your Mind
Try this: close your eyes, put your hands in your lap, and play the opening bars of your performance piece . . . in your mind. Can you see where each finger goes? Can you hear your voice slide up to the high note? Can you feel the clean slice of the bow across the strings?
Now try to play through the entire piece in your brain. Can you get all the way through? Where did you stop? Now open your music and check out what you missed. If there are trouble spots that keep tripping you up, file them mentally and pull them out to play on the inside of your eyelids anytime. Next time you’re bored and tempted to pull out your phone for a game, don’t. Instead play through that section again in your mind. The more often you do it, the easier it becomes. And you will be shocked at how much better it flows next time you pick up your guitar, flute, or whatever you play.
Visualize Your Own Perfection
Once you’ve got the hang of visualizing your performance, go all in. Imagine your whole performance beginning to end . . . without a single mistake. It’s harder than it sounds, but also easier. You’ll be shocked at how perfectly your imaginary fingers work without black notes to knock into. It’s amazing how long your breaths will last when your lungs won’t actually run out of air.
Once you have your perfect performance down in your mind, you might even find that it’s a great way to drift off to dreamland at night.
Finally, psyche yourself up for the real thing by faking it. Make your performance feel as real and nerve-wracking as possible. Where would you love to perform? Disney Hall? Broadway? Petco Park? Paramount Studios? Envision yourself in front of your fans before you take that first breath or play that first note. If you can play for that enormous imaginary audience, the chances that you’ll freeze up when you’re on stage in front of your family and friends for a more routine recital or concert will plummet. And the chances that you’ll be ready for the big stage before you know it will skyrocket!
If You Can See It, You Can Be It!
Every great achievement you will ever have will probably be something you have imagined a hundred times in your mind. Learning to imagine yourself delivering the performance of a lifetime will catapult you that much closer to the real thing. So whether you’re already on the program for one of our upcoming Spring Formal Recitals at Temple bat Yahm on March 2, the Ruby Schulman Theater on March 9, Greene Music on March 16, or getting ready for your next big audition, now you’re ready to play in the big leagues. Keep sharpening your brain powers until your vision matches your reality!