Performance Anxiety Tip: Focus on Preparation & Effort

One of the best performance enhancer (formerly known as dealing with performance anxiety) tips I know is:

Focus on Preparation and Effort. Spend your time working on what is under your control: your preparation and effort.

(The above tip is from an article I wrote on the ideas of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, http://www.clarinetmike.com/docs/Wooden_and_Music_Tips_Online.pdf)

For example, in getting ready for an upcoming recital, I should focus completely on preparing the music and myself to the best of my ability. And then when it is time to actually perform, I need to focus totally on “going for it,” i.e. my effort at the moment of performance.

Also, as I perform I need to stay “in the moment,” intent on my effort and not become distracted by how good or bad I’m playing – I especially must NOT  think about what others might be thinking. Further, as I perform I need to calmly and immediately accept what happens and quickly forget about it while performing. There will be time for reflection and analysis later. (“What did I learn today?” is always a good question to ask after a recital, master class, lecture, etc.)

I have found John Wooden’s ideas on success (his definition and famous Pyramid of Success) to be very helpful in this area: http://www.coachwooden.com/index2.html.

About ClarinetMike

American clarinetist MICHAEL DEAN performs and teaches internationally and across the USA to consistent praise such as "world-class clarinetist and pedagogue," "consummate performer," "inspirational," "outstanding teacher," "super," "brilliant performer," and "one of the best clinicians I have ever seen." His career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Eastman School of Music, and Royal Northern College of Music with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. In July, he will return to Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at Orfeo Music Festival 2017. He is featured on 5 commercial CD's and on New Media, such as YouTube. He is currently preparing another new clarinet CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. He's performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. He performed for 11 years with the Paducah Symphony. His articles appear in journals such as Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, NACWPI Journal and The Bandmasters' Review. As "ClarinetMike," he writes for his widely-read ClarinetMike Blog, clarinetmike.wordpress.com-viewed in 150 countries on 6 continents. He was recently a tenured Associate Professor of Clarinet for 11 years at Southeast Missouri State University. He returned to his native Texas in 2012 due to family concerns. He is a past president and former National Board officer of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI). Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Jess Youngblood, Bob Ackerman, and Pam Youngblood. His web page, clarinetmike.com, features video of his teaching and performing as well as information on his CD's and other publications. He is a BG France Performing Artist.
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