“If things get rocky, stay positive and engaged,
and give your audience the best possible experience.”
–The Musician’s Way, p. 189
Recall the last time that you were distracted during a performance: How did you cope?
Onstage distractions are bound to occur: doors will slam, thoughts will intrude, coperformers will miss entrances, sneezes will well up, nerves will make our limbs shake.
But whatever the distraction, with countermeasures at hand, we can stay focused and keep the music flowing.
Here’s a distraction-busting technique that I teach and rely on. All four parts are meant to be executed simultaneously:
- Breathe. Inhale deeply into the abdomen and exhale fully as you project confident body language.
- Release tension. Lengthen your spine, let your shoulders widen, free your legs, smile inwardly.
- Listen. Tune into your sound and that of any coperformers as you sculpt every phrase.
- Image ahead. Sense upcoming phrases with clarity and emotion.
To rehearse this technique, use it during practice sessions, rehearsals, and practice performances whenever your attention drifts.
You might also gather with colleagues in a performance-development group and take turns performing for each other while some of you play the roles of distracting audience members.
In time, you’ll be able to focus despite any distraction and keep yourself and your listeners transfixed by music.
The Musician’s Way details strategies to build up the skills that enable musicians to be secure, artistic performers.