5 Ways to Handle Performance Anxiety

performance anxiety table waiting

Performance anxiety is basically a fact of life. I’m on my second performance degree right now, and just started my second decade as a performer, and I still get some pre-performance electricity going even for “small” performances. However, just because you’ve got some adrenaline going doesn’t have to mean you feel sick or terrified. It’s all a matter of perspective. Here’s how to feel pumped instead of petrified when you…

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5 Ways to Prepare for Important Auditions

audition nerves preparation moor

Auditions are one of those things that no musician will ever be truly finished with. Unless you’re Renee Fleming, you’re going to have to audition for stuff. So with that in mind, here’s how to prepare for an audition: Know your music. Duh. But seriously, know it forwards and backwards and in your sleep. So, know your music’s history, know its context, know its composer’s favorite color. The better you…

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How to Handle Fear of Uncertainty

future work desk

So I realized the other day: I’m an adult. I’m like, old. In a year and half, I’ll be entering the Real World finally, and I’ll need a for-real source of income, not just my campus job. This was an uncomfortable realization, to say the least. Most musicians’ careers aren’t likely to fit the “traditional” trajectory that people imagine. That uncertainty is nerve-wracking. Here’s how we can all handle it!…

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4 Ways to Create a Supportive Environment

supportive environment friends

There’s a connecting thread that runs through all of my experiences in music. Basically, it is MUCH more fun to be a part of a group that’s filled with positivity. However, a lot of musicians, instead of building each other up, become a little catty about people they don’t like. I wrote about this recently, in a post about what NOT to do at rehearsals, and I’ve been noticing the…

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4 Ways to Tell If You Should Turn Down a Gig

gig choose calendar

I’ll be completely honest: I’m relatively new to the world of paying gigs. My undergrad was not in a good location for classical performance, so pretty much all of my performances were unpaid, just to get something for my CV. However, now that I’m in a new city, I have MANY more performance opportunities, as well as a ton of unpaid gigs that just seem super fun. How’s a musician…

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5 Important Rules for Rehearsals

prepared rehearsal notebooks

I’m in a new city, with a new performance crowd, and in a bunch of new ensembles. It has opened my eyes to some habits that I had started to ignore at my undergrad. Stuff I had started ignoring as just character traits of people I’d performed with for years now leaps out as unprofessional behavior. A lot of it comes from adults long out of school, too, so keep…

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How to Practice In Spite of Everything

Anonymous asked: I’m preparing for college auditions right now and I have a problem that is even more relevant now. I want to be practicing a lot more but I have always had a problem with practice because I am constantly tired. My doctor can’t tie it back to an actual cause, and has suggested some lifestyle adjustments. While this helps a bit, practicing my instrument always makes me really…

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How to Boost Self-Confidence

proanotherworkgress asked: How do you work on having more self-confidence in yourself as a musician and in your work? Basically how do you prevent yourself from selling yourself short?   Confidence is such a huge and delicate part of being a good musician. Without it, plenty of talented individuals with great potential end up dropping their musical dreams, convinced they’re awful. With too much, other musicians sometimes burn bridges or…

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How to Meet a New Music Teacher

Something I didn’t realize when I was younger was how often I was going to study music under someone new. If you’ve played music for more than a year, you’ve probably already had at least one “new” musical mentor, either as a new teacher, an additional teacher, or a new director. And every time, it’s stressful until I figure out what the new person is like. Every teacher is different,…

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What To Do When Music Shouldn’t Be Your Career

Something that a lot of prospective music majors discover in their first year or two at college is this: a music career isn’t for everyone. Music is mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding. It is incredibly competitive. There is absolutely no guarantee that you’ll ever “succeed” in a performance career, no matter how good a player you are. You might lack the stamina or dedication or sheer cussedness required to audition…

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