Being a musician is a lot like being an athlete. You focus on building a specific set of skills. You go through trials and tribulations. And winning is defined by practicing, recording music and playing shows.
Mental toughness is an essential skill for any athlete and musician. What goes on outside in your life is dependent on what is going on inside. Just as there are different exercises you can do to build your physical fitness, there are tools you can do to build your mental toughness.
There are three skills you need to succeed. Focus, mental imagery and self-talk.
Building focus is all about knowing what you want and knowing what are the most important things you have to do to accomplish that. A lack of focus is what causes mental errors, mistake and the inability to perform under pressure. The most important thing is setting very specific and measurable goals.
Have a specific purpose or goal for everything you do that is related to your music. And when you want to accomplish you are The more specific you are with what needs to be done, whether it’s the writing s, the practicing , or the booking and playing shows stage, the more focus you will have. BE SPECIFIC.
Every goal should also build on the last one. If you want to get 8, you have to first go through 6 and then 7. If you want to play shows, you have to have songs to practice songs. If you want to practice songs, you have to first write them. Every goal builds on the other.
Make sure it’s something you want to do.
Make it something that’s within your control. If it’s beyond your control, it’s a wish, not a goal.
Mental imagery, or creative visualization, helps build confidence, prepare for practice and competition, manage pressure, and recover from mistakes quicker. Basically, it helps you get the job done. This is what separates the good from the great to the elite.
Visualize writing a song, or playing a perfect show. Imagery happens intentionally and unintentionally. If you don’t take the steps to get your imagery in order, negative images will naturally find their way in there. In order to be successful, you have to consistent. So not only do you have to visualize yourself creating, you have to do it consistently. That’s in order to battle the negative images that might creep up in your mind.
Your self-talk is what will literally make or break your performance. When you take the responsibility for the voice inside your mind, you take control of your life. Unfortunately, we are trained from early on in life to down ourselves. Why? Probably to protect us from danger, whether physical or social, and we’d just learn to live with it. But in order to be truly successful, a musician HAS to learn to give themselves props.
The most important aspect of this tool is awareness. Be conscious of when you are talking to yourself negatively, and change it. You deserve to have the best.
The three tools of focus, mental imagery and self talk is what will propel you to be the best musician that you can be.