When you’ve made the choice to start a career as a professional violist, you are also choosing to become a performer. Then comes the question: ‘How can you become a confident performer?’
Are you going into performances or auditions with a feeling that you’re certain to be playing at your best, and play great from your very first note?
Or are you grappled with anxiety and doubt that maybe started already days or weeks earlier, and are you experiencing the tendency to start your performances tentatively?
Well, when you are like practically all performers and musicians, you will probably belong to the second category, and this happens definitely more often than you would like.
Confidence and Misconceptions
Now it is pretty good that confidence is a thing you can work on, that you can change. You can actually control your self-confidence level to a great extent. We see that, though they are highly successful, many musicians are suffering from quite a bit of insecurity and self-doubt.
On the other hand, there are also numerous musicians who, though maybe not the most talented, succeeded far better than anyone expected because their self-confidence and belief in their capabilities never wavered.
And I guess most of us are aware that just practicing harder and more will not necessarily be increasing our self-confidence. So what should you do to boost your self-confidence?
How to Become a Confident Performer
One of the most important things to do if you want to become a more self-confident artist or performer is that you need to learn how to master your self-talk. Self-talk is a term used by psychologists if they want to define the internal dialogue that we all, throughout the day, are having with ourselves.
You know, that’s the one that tells you you’re clumsy when you stub your toe on a bedpost, the voice that tells you’re an absent-minded moron when you’re getting back from the store and you realize you’ve forgotten exactly that one thing you went there for in the first place!
Some mumble a little to themselves, others talk out loud, and again others will keep everything inside, but the fact of the matter is that we all have that little voice inside of our heads that you often just can’t seem to turn off.
For some reason, we are listening to ourselves, and we’re believing all the things we’re saying to ourselves. So when you’re continuously telling yourself what an untalented hack and failure you are, sooner or later you’ll start believing that you’re indeed nothing else but a failure.
And when you’re feeling you are a total failure, you ultimately will act in a way that will only confirm your self-perception, and you’ll ‘prove’ to yourself that you are a failure indeed. So work in it, open your eyes and mind, and become aware of these mechanisms.
Your Subconscious Listens
Bear in mind that deep within you, deep in your subconscious you, your mind is continuously listening to whatever you’re saying to yourself and that there is no filter there. Your subconscious mind will take in all the things you’re saying and accept consistent messages as a true reality, be it actually true or not at all.
Your subconscious mind doesn’t come with a sense of humor, it will not distinguish between a joke or a real fact, it is entirely literal. Your self-confidence, or lack of it, sits in all your subconscious reasoning and beliefs. If you really want to act, feel, and be more self-confident, you first need to get control over your mind and start to think of yourself like a very confident person!