If pure artistic talent was all it took to make it big in the music world, there would be a lot more famous musicians being discovered every day. Unfortunately, there is more to being successful as a musician than just the quality of your art. You need to be able to interact with people in order to develop a following. For so many amazing artists, this aspect of the music business is what causes them to fizzle and fade.
Never has there been a famous musician that was discovered while playing guitar in their bedroom. No matter how good of a guitarist you are, it’s just not going to happen. In order to be noticed, you need to put yourself out there and perform for people who might one day be your fans. The issue is that for many musicians, building up the confidence to perform is the hardest part. Since performing as an artist is key to becoming successful, here are 5 performance psychology skills for musicians to adopt in order to lose the oh so common fear that goes along with getting up on stage and performing.
Resilience is the way in which you handle stress and bounce back from adversity. People who experience struggles in life and yet still continue to move forward are considered resilient.
As many people in the music business can attest to, rejection and failure are inevitable consequences at times during one’s career. Having resilience in these situations will allow you to come back from rough times instead of letting them slow you down to a halt.
Even the best and most talented musicians experience let downs, and if they are not able to bounce back easily, then no amount of talent in the world will replace the valuable tool of resilience.
Energy and Time Management
Musicians rarely ever get enough credit for how exhausting their career is. There are few days off, many long nights at shows, and weeks of living on the road. If you are not making a conscious effort to take care of yourself, all of this work and stress can easily catch up to you.
Not only can working in the music industry be exhausting physically, but it is also just as if not more exhausting mentally. Musicians are constantly eating up their mental energy thinking of new songs, organizing their next show, and trying to figure out their next move.
The best way to combat burnout from mental exhaustion is to practice energy and time management. When you have been practicing in the studio for hours, or sitting at your desk trying to think of a hook for that new song, make sure you take breaks. Even just stepping away from whatever you’re doing for a few minutes can be enough to give your working mind the break it needs.
Also, making sure you keep other aspects of your life as organized as possible will take some of the work load off of your brain so that you can avoid overworking yourself and ending up fatigued and resentful of your career.
The quality in which one performs for athletes and musicians alike is a mental game at its core. If you are confident and feel your worthiness being on that stage, then your audience will mirror that feeling as well.
Lacking confidence can so easily sabotage putting on an amazing show where you get to showcase your talent and hard work. When feeling insecure in your abilities, you start second guessing yourself and overanalyzing your every move. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect your fans to?
While gaining a sense of confidence is easier said than done, there are things that one can do in order to develop this skill further. Taking the opportunity to perform for family, friends, and small audiences will help expose you to a less stressful version of what you hope to work up to one day later in your career. Making an effort to work on how you prepare yourself mentally will pay off over time and soon enough, jumping on stage in a crowded venue will feel like home.
When working in the high energy artistic environment that most musicians do, it can be hard to quiet the mind and ground your thoughts. While focus might not be the first thing that pops into your head when trying to decipher what it takes to be a good performer, it is actually a very important aspect.
The term background noise is a psychology term used to describe everything that is going on around you and in your mind besides what you are focusing on. Being able to quiet the background noise in your head is such a valuable skill for a musician.
When you get on stage, there are a million things that could be running through your head that all add up to perpetuating your fears and anxiety about performing. But when you get down to it, playing your instrument or singing your song on a stage should not be any more stressful than playing your instrument or singing at home.
When faced with a challenging environment, try and focus your mind and only think about the task at hand. The only thoughts running through your head in these moments are ones that center you. For example, think about your finger movements when playing guitar, pick one spot to look at instead of the crowd of people, or focus on the lyrics of the song you are singing. Whatever works to focus your mind will be your secret weapon every time you step on stage.
There is no doubt that every musician and band manager would agree that preparing for any show or performance is extremely important. There are many obvious aspects of the show to get in order including the instruments, microphones, sound equipment, transportation and so on. But what is often overlooked is mental preparation.
Preparing for a show mentally is just as if not more important than preparing for a show musically. While practicing all your songs a million times is a sure-fire way to ensure you won’t forget the chords or lyrics, if your mind is not in it, the hours of hard work will not come through during the performance.
A great way to prepare yourself mentally before a show is to imagine the performance going as you hope it does. Visualize everything going the way you want it to instead of thinking only about the worst case scenarios. Imaging the show as a positive experience will quiet your mind and allow you to focus on putting on the best performance you can.
Having raw musical talent is obviously extremely important when it comes to making it big, but using these psychology strategies to improve your performances will allow your fans to see just how talented you are.