I’ve recently had several students tell me stories about what goes on for them backstage before a performance, and I know from experience that the pain they’re experiencing in their bodies is very much related to their backstage experience.
It’s my job as a coach to help them learn new ways to deal with this, so they can fully enjoy their musical performance and be free of pain, anxiety, and stress.
If you’ve ever waited around backstage, you know there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. As a performer myself, I’ve witnessed all kinds of backstage behavior over my lifetime and, quite frankly, a lot of that behavior is destructive and compromises performance.
Some of what happens backstage is positive or neutral, of course. Smiles, kindness, slow and calm movements, and general relaxation are optimum and conducive to inspired creativity.
However, there’s unfortunately a lot of stuff that happens backstage that is anything but helpful, and it can wreak havoc on a performer’s nervous system at a very critical time, sabotaging the best of intentions for a great performance.
What may seem normal may not actually be so benign, either. For example, hurried last-minute review, markup of difficult passages, frantic ordering of music…
…mindless joking, laughing, or complaining…
All of that impacts a musician’s state of mind and body, and therefore their performance.
How much are you influenced by your environment in those situations? How much of your colleagues’ energies are you picking up? How much are you unconsciously reflecting their thoughts, their moods, and their body language? And how much of that are you carrying with you when it’s time to step on stage?
Human beings pick up billions of bits of information every day – we’re like radio receivers, designed to pick up the subtle vibrations and the energy in the world around us. We have neurons in our brains called “mirror neurons” that are designed to pick up and reflect what we see in others, and most of the time we aren’t even aware of this incredible capacity.
This is what makes sensitive people empathic, and it’s what makes the top artists great.
When a group of musicians are attuned to one another’s energies in this way and on the same “wavelength” in a good way, the best, most spontaneous and creative music-making is allowed to flow.
But when you’re backstage and you’re picking up on unhelpful or negative “vibes” (or creating them yourself), that kind of energy can cause you to react internally in ways that are anything but helpful to your mental and physical state, and it will absolutely interfere with your best performance.
In addition, if you don’t know how to counter the resulting tension and overall compression in your own system with constructive, positive, calming thoughts, taking on those “negative vibes” will very likely contribute to physical pain sooner or later. It will also slow down your healing if you’re trying to come back from an injury, and it will mess with your ability to move and play with ease and freedom.
🔥 You see, no matter which musical instrument you play, YOU – your mind-body-self – are your PRIMARY instrument. 🔥
The time you have right before a performance is what I call the “Golden Period”, and it should primarily be used to tune your SELF. This is even more important than tuning your musical instrument!
✅ You need to check in with your SELF more than any of the other things you normally do backstage, and make sure you’re the one in charge of your mental and physical state.
✅ You need to be mindfully in control of your thoughts and actions; not at the mercy of the habitual mindlessness – within yourself and others around you – that can take you along for a ride down a slippery slope of nervous tension and physical discomfort, as well as interfere with your freedom of musical expression and make your technique inconsistent.
✅ You need to know exactly HOW to do this on the spot, no matter what’s going on around you. This takes skill, and it takes practice! Because if you don’t take charge of your own well-being before a performance, you’re basically at the mercy of those around you and wherever the wind is blowing.
If everyone else is nervous, you’ll feel that. If people are unhappy, you’ll feel that. If people are in a hurry, your system will not be present and you’ll feel stressed and anxious. If everyone else is rushing, you likely will, too.
If you want to experience calm, ease, and control over yourself and your music, you need to get that kind of control over yourself first, and you need to know how to navigate the stormy backstage waters with skillful ease.
⭐⭐⭐ Wouldn’t you rather know exactly what’s happening to you, so that you can be entirely present to your experience, choose your thoughts and chart the course of your performance the way you want it to go? Wouldn’t you rather be a positive influence on those around you who are mindlessly flitting about backstage, for better or for worse?
The Art of Freedom Method for conscious living and masterful artistry teaches you exactly how to do ALL of this, by combining the universal principles of the Alexander Technique with my lifetime of meditative self-care practice and performance experience.
If you’re a musician struggling with physical pain or discomfort, or you just know that you need to be more in charge of your mind for your best performance, ask me about my upcoming program: “Tame that Pain NOW – Play Smarter and Feel Better in 30 Days”. This powerful program will give you the EXACT steps you need to reclaim your well-being in mind, body, and spirit, so that your musical expression can soar, and your technique will improve seemingly by itself.
This program begins in July, and there’s limited availability so that everyone can have the best experience. Follow the steps I provide, and improvement is guaranteed! Message me or email today at Jennifer@ArtofFreedom.me if you’re curious about how I can help you heal and vastly improve your performance, with ease.