Getting excited by the learning process
A young professional came for a session recently and his main concern was preparation. He said he was very comfortable when it came to the performance itself with no nerves to speak of, but he never felt fully prepared. We discovered that at the bottom of this was a lack of confidence in his own opinions, particularly in his practice. He had had a series of teachers who had been very strongly opinionated, so it was this that was leading to him not trusting his own opinions. He was also reading endlessly about how to practise but taking more notice of the writers’ views than his own. So, the first step was to give him a strict (temporary) diet of time away from this kind of reading material and the next step was to reconsider how he practised, to see whether all his practising could come through his own filters, not other peoples.
He was also having problems with losing his focus when he was practising and performing, and a lot of this was feeling bombarded with other people’s ideas. We all have this to a greater or lesser degree: after all, we live in a world in which information is on tap all the time, and we are constantly required to filter more and more all the ‘noise’ out there that is not relevant to us. We both came to the conclusion that if he could practise early in the day and keep his phone off for the entire practice session, it would help him keep engaged with what he was doing. Along with this, I suggested that he did everything he could to get excited about his learning process, and of course, the music. This is the best possible way to focus. Learning to get excited about practising then builds in a much more focused approach which automatically translates into the performing space.