1. BE INTENTIONAL
Being intentional when you perform or rehearse has a powerful focusing effect on the experience and its outcome. Considering, and then adding intention or purpose at rehearsal creates a different level of consciousness and energy. Adding intention fires off neurons in the brain that sets energy in motion to achieve/or give you the result. Intention gives us a sense of control. We are “creating “our conditions vs. simply “reacting” to them. Instead of rehearsal “happening to us”, we are shaping it. Wow!
How: Before you begin each rehearsal, think about what your intention will be for that rehearsal. Is it spreading joy? Is it having fun? Is it being confident? By simply focusing back to that intention throughout the night, there will be an energetic shift (without you having to actually do anything different). You can also consciously add intention and purpose to a single action – to a musical passage, a song, or even a Choreography move. Experiment with this, and feel the difference intention makes!
2. BE PRESENT
Being present at rehearsal means more than just physically showing up. It means eliminating all mental interference so you can be fully and mindfully present in each moment of your rehearsal. Why do we care? Well – being present in each moment allows the space for the most inspiration and grounded energy, creative flow and performance connection.
How: This will take some practice, as there are an infinite amount of external and internal interferences to take us out of the present moment. First step is to let go of any mental interference getting in the way of your being able to be 100% present. Stuff in your head before rehearsal? Leave it at the door! Interference happening during rehearsal? Say “How Fascinating” and allow yourself to defer the thoughts for later. Re-focus to your director. Re-focus to your breath. The point of power is in the present moment! RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!
3. SHOW UP AS A LEARNER
This is why we rehearse. To learn. To improve. To grow. Even our Queens of Harmony agree that chorus rehearsal is about improving their craft. Yet how quickly we revert to our “judging” mindset when perhaps we sing a wrong note, run out of air, miss a choreo move etc. At rehearsal, we want to adopt a growth mindset and show up as a learner to open up creative possibilities. Our journey to personal mastery is a lifelong process. If we have finished learning, we are dead.
How: Accept that your skill level right now is merely your starting point – and that you are at rehearsal to improve. Mark your starting point so that you can measure each small increment of improvement. When we show up as a learner, we are in effect saying we do not know everything; that we are open and willing to grow. The pressure lifts and the space opens up when you relieve yourself of the burden of having to know everything. Think of mistakes as opportunities to improve instead of self-judging failures that shut down your mind
Adopt the mantra “I am a Learner” and feel how your rehearsal experience positively shifts.
I love the following quote by George Benson. It’s a wonderful reminder that no one cares if you make a mistake. However, it’s our fear of making a mistake that robs us from experiencing our true potential and making the deepest musical connections with our audiences.
“The greatest thing I think that happened to me was, one day I heard a record by the number one guitarist of all time, Andre Segovia, and some place in this classical concerto…he made a little bobble. And I said, ‘Andre Segovia made a mistake! If he can make a mistake, who the heck am I? Who cares whether I make a mistake?’ So I played with reckless abandonment, didn’t worry about mistakes any more. Best thing that could ever happen to me ’cause if you worry about the music, you can’t do it with conviction. So I stopped worrying about it and now I have a career that I never imagined.”
–George Benson, in an interview with Aamer Haleem (CTV Morning Live, May 2012)
In our barbershop art form it is easy to get trapped into solely focusing on technical mastery which can hugely limit our vocal freedom , emotional expression and possibilities for true connections with our audiences. Do you ever hold back, or limit yourself out of fear of making a mistake? I welcome your comments here.
This is a critical period for those who are preparing to compete at the International competition in Houston, TX Oct. 17 – 22 . Beside your rehearsal work toward technical mastery, your mental mindset is a huge contributing factor to your performance potential.
It is critical for all chorus members to begin now to develop and nurture a positive mindset. How you mentally approach the next 6 weeks and the competition week will have a dramatic effect on your ability to achieve your peak performance onstage.
A positive mindset can directly affect your performance and the performance of those around you by literally helping to grow your energy field. Positivity breeds possibility and if you are stuck in a negative mindset, you are stuck in the land of scarcity thereby severely diminishing your capacity to grow, learn and improve. And, as a pretty cool by-product, you and your chorus will have a lot more fun creating and working in an atmosphere of positivity!
I encourage you to incorporate the techniques in my document Ten Strategies for Nurturing a Positive Mental State Pre-Competition over the next several weeks.
Jan Carley, Inner Coach of Barbershop and author of Harmony from the Inside Out – Creating and Maximizing your Performance Potential on sale at http://www.harmonyfromtheinsideout.com
Heading to Kansas City? Be sure to pop by Harmony Marketplace and pick up a copy of the book barbershoppers are raving about – Harmony from the Inside Out. Directors and chorus members world-wide are embracing the principles in this popular book.
Harmony from the Inside Out comprehensively outlines how to add the Inner Coaching piece to your barbershop toolbox not only to leverage successful competition results, but also to shift your chorus culture to one of possibility and positivity.
Clay Hine (AVP, A Mighty Wind): “The more I see what incredible results Jan’s program produces, the more convinced I am of how important her book is to any ensemble’s success.”
Tom Metzger (REALTIME, Groupanizer) “Jan’s book cuts through the usual superficial acceptable wisdom and gets right to the fundamental causes of success and failure. Stop rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic – read this book.”
Sandy Marron (Master 700 director of the SAI 2010 International Silver Medalists, Lions Gate Chorus): “These inner coaching principles will positively change you and your chorus culture (or any team you might work with) forever”
Lisbet P. Kline (Director, Song of the Valley Chorus) “Your book made the difference for my chorus this year for contest. In spite of using the Art of Possibility approach by Ben Zander for years, they for the first time were able to take what they are capable of onto the stage, and we improved 40 points to become the second most improved chorus.”