10 Tips on Becoming Fearless
Have you ever played a brilliant piece of music, taken a perfect golf swing, or given an inspiring speech — when no one else was around? If your performance seems to suffer when you’re in front of an audience, you’re not alone. Nerves can get the better of just about anyone, said Jeff Nelsen, associate professor in the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and hornist with international performance group Canadian Brass.
read more… - January 2008, Indiana University
Magic Line Theory
Here’s a quick test to see if this article is a good one for you to read. If the following scenario has played out for you, then you’re going to have use for this article. If the following scenario has never happened to you, then please skip the following read, for you are already a wizard!
The scenario: You practice something, and when you perform it in the practice room, it goes great! When you walk out on stage in front of an audience or audition panel, however, the performance does not go as well.
Still reading? Cool. The only reason I can write about this is because I experience it all the time too.
read more… – June 2007, “The Horn Player”
Dreams First Step
I had lunch last week with one of my magician heroes, Eugene Burger. Stagebill magazine proclaimed, “Eugene Burger is universally recognized as perhaps the finest close-up magician in the world.” We spoke about magic and music, and the connections between the two disciplines. The above quote struck me powerfully, and I hope it inspires you too. Let’s look into ways we can use these words to encourage us to dream crazy huge dreams, and take steps toward making these dreams reality.
Magic in Music
I spent a week with Michael Thompson this summer at our TransAtlantic Horn Quartet seminar, and we had many discussions about music, and more specifically, about the horn. When we finished our discussions, we were always in agreement. Well, there was that issue about whether the name of the best horn-making company starts with a ‘Ya’ or a ‘Pa’. We did, however, passionately agree that the mental aspects of playing horn are as important, if not more, than the physical aspects. We knew this was not a new idea, and we also agreed that physical fundamentals are not to be neglected. But we just kept saying that more public discussion is needed about connecting horn playing with making music, growing as a person, and even living life to the fullest. At the end of our week together Michael asked me if I’d like to share some of my ideas about how I combine horn, music and life. I am delighted to do this here in a column we’ve decided to call “Fearless Horning and Performing.”
read more… – January 2007, “The Horn Player”
Make the Decision Easy for Them
I enjoy hearing good music being performed well. Whether I am in the audience listening or on stage performing, I have my best experiences when I lose track of time, place, and purpose, and my intellect disappears for a while. All that exists is my fellow musicians and audience members, me, and the music. This magical place exists when our thinking stops. Blaise Pascal said, “All reasoning ends in surrender to feeling.” This beautifully explains why there is such an important place for music in society. We want to ‘surrender to feeling.’ Music provides a potential escape away from our thought-filled days into a place of thoughtless feeling.
What to do!
We’ve all asked this question. “Oh, what to do, what to do?” This is, of course, the most important question we ever ask, and we ask it a hundred times a day. “Am I hungry? What should I eat? Where should I eat? What bite do I take next? Do I swallow now, or chew a few more times first?” Every choice we make plays a part in where our life takes us next.
How Much do you Want it?
I have been investigating, lecturing and coaching ‘Fearlessness’ in the musical arena for many years. I define fearlessness as a mental state of complete faith in the moment at hand, and any task ahead. There is a lack of awareness of any obstacles, self- imposed or otherwise. In many ways, children embody fearlessness very well. There is a wonderful quote I’ve modified, and use to compliment my definition of ‘Fearlessness’. You’ll find I use quotes as much as I use, ohhh…air! Ambrose Redmoon began his quote with the word “Courage.” For our purposes here, the quote reads:
“Fearlessness may not always be the absence of fear. Sometimes it can be the judgment that something else is more important than fear”