We will explore the ways to deal with anxiety, nerves, the “Jitters” – all those emotions that block our performance and our creativity. We will also talk about what happens when the lights go out – how to deal with the emotional let down of the empty hotel room. Learn the benefits of being vulnerable and how it can connect you to the audience.
“If performing is easy…you are not doing it right!”
Perspective – Preparation – Performance Analysis – Predictability – Paralysis
You need to remember there is always more to the story…more than a blanket statement and more than a quick fix.
This is not a one size fits all. I am not a therapist, a councillor or a guru of psychology – let me tell you why I think I have earned the right to speak to this idea.
I started performing at the age of 11. I have performed over 2,500 shows around the world. I have recorded 8 projects, had a top 40 hit, travelled this country many times from coast to coast, sang in rooms with 2-3 people, sang in front of 40,000 at the Rogers Centre and everything in between. I have done the touring in a bus, to a van pulling my own gear – setting up the system, running the system and selling my own merch – and everything in between…I have been in rooms where I was the celebrity signing autographs as soon as I arrived…and been in the rooms where no one has a clue who I was. I have hosted a TV show – in fact it is the longest running daily talk show in Canadian TV history…i have been on tours that sold out and made millions of dollars, and headlined my own tour in the back of my car.
All my CD’s have gone…aluminum!!!!
I am a big deal – and a nobody. I have had to check my ego at the door so many times…I have had the lows and the highs of this crazy business. I was very close to multiple major label deals, I was the owner of a publishing, recording and management group that lost so much money it nearly killed me…I have owed so much money that the stress nearly killed me…I have hoped and hoped and hoped – then I needed to figure some other things out and make peace with my dreams, my talent, my fans (or lack thereof) and figure our what to do when the lights went out!!
Why do we do this things called music? Why do we write, perform, record, eat Kraft Dinner?? Why? You have probably asked this question many times… YOU HAVE TO!!
I normally talk about the stage…how to connect with an audience. Teaching on how to do “the stage” how to connect…in tailoring this kind of content to wellness, and around the issues of mental wellness…i have more experience than you might think…
I have had anxiety at times, I have had the “5 days from hell” and the days where I thought I could not go on!! I don’t live with it, but I have experienced it.
This caused me to look at my life as a musician…in WHOLE terms…What I eat, What I watch, What I think about, What I do physically, Who I talk to, Who I discuss things with, What I think of WHAT
Life is holistic…performing is holistic – making it in this business and dealing with the ups and downs is holistic…and yes I believe there is a huge piece that is spiritual.
As I said…this is not a quick fix…this is not a one-size fits all – But I do want to address a few things to think about as we navigate our way to a better healthier inner self…
If you are struggling with food addiction, alcohol addiction, chemical addiction or if the stage is your addiction…some of these thoughts could help you re:think your life…your career.
Nerves, the “jitters” often lack of preparation is a cure for this. muscle memory – rehearsal – practice The napkin – 5 minutes before a show is not the best solution! Our bodies talk to us, if you are not putting in the work to be great…you will experience anxiety at a HUGE rate…PREPARE – it will cut down the mental anxiety you feel (cut it down – not eliminate!)
Have someone teach you how to truly evaluate your performance. Become self-Aware… Learning who to listen to, and when they are full of “BS” and when they speak the truth…You need people around you with honesty and you need to ignore the idiots. Know when you were good…and enjoy it Know when you can improve – inspite of the ego boost from your fans. Once you truly understand your talent level…HONESTLY, then the outside voices will not cause you the same level of emotion.
The stage does not just happen…you need to be prepared but more than that…you need to be predictable. not in reference to your music or your performance – but – you need to be able to predict the situation. “this type of crowd makes me feel…” “This kind of venue makes me feel…” “This promoter rubs me the wrong way…” You want to stay mentally strong – don’t allow yourself to ge hi-jacked by places, people or things…know how you will respond to certain situations…PREDICT before it happens…stay on top of your responses…YOU STAY IN CHARGE. ALSO – have a routine – know what you are putting into your body, know how much you eat, how much sleep you need, what is the best routine for your well being before a show.
Allow your body to establish a pattern for performance. Knowing this pattern will allow you to “find it” in the middle of a show when you need it the most!
Many artists, many bands are suffering from paralysis…emotional and spiritual paralysis… This blocks your creativity, it blocks your ability to connect with an audience… You must combat paralysis with vulnerability. The more you get in touch with your “inner demons”, the more you are willing to share those stories…The healthier you will be…and the more people will connect with you!
In Conclusion: These are simply an overview…a few things to think about as you wade through your own issues as they pertain to your career or your passion.
Performance is NOT easy…it should be exhausting. You should be mentally, physically and spiritually drained at the end of the night. You should feel like you just did a “job well done” You should know if musically you pulled it off – you can critically analyze that…
*If you prepared – If you felt good and strong before the night began – If you had the right perspective…YOU CAN feel that way as the lights go out!
This is not just a musical exercise – being a strong performer and communicator is tough. Doing it well and staying emotionally healthy is even tougher…
It starts with diet, attitude, physical wellness, sleep, relationships, trust, spiritual health and then after all that…are you any good at your music? LOL
If you want to talk about any of this further, if you want more details or if you just need someone to talk about your career…connect with me!! ANYTIME.
Kevin Pauls firstname.lastname@example.org