Sunday, March 29, 2009

MTNA National Conference - Sunday Keynote Address

I'm here in Atlanta at the MTNA national convention! I'll be posting summaries on the seminars I attend. (Click here to see all of my posts on the MTNA National Convention.) Because I believe that there will be recordings made available for purchase, I'll try not to be too detailed. If you do buy recordings, you'll hear much more than what I've included. Today's keynote address was by Don Greene, a performance coach who works with athletes and musicians. I found his address to be very insightful.

Describes the feelings of performance stress – humorous and accurate! Continues by describing the ways stress manifests itself physically, emotionally, mentally. Discusses the performance consequences of stress and anxiety.

We are slammed into our left brain (attempting to figure a way out) when we are overwhelmed by intense stress. Instead of being able to access our right brain which controls images, sound, and tactile feeling, we are stuck in our rational-thinking left brain and our primitive reptilian brain which is experiencing a fight or flight response.

How to make it better – don’t try to wish the anxiety away or block it – make the energy powerful – go for it! Be relaxed on the outside and fired up on the inside.

Center yourself – identifies several steps in this process. An audio explanation of centering is available for sale at

Use Simulation Training - Learn to get geared up for the one-shot at success! There’s a difference between practicing practice and practicing performing. Start with easy piece of music and high energy – put music on the stand, turn on a tape recorder. LEAVE the room and crank up your energy –do jumping jacks, run in place, whatever. When the energy is up higher than normally is in green room , center briefly then go back in room and go for it – use the energy.
After 5 or 6 repetitions of this exercise, things start to happen – it starts to feel good, free, powerful!

Use Adversity training - Things happen before performance – people lose music, instruments break, things are chaotic –distractions happen – cell phones go off, things fall, etc. Practice performing and engineer things like this to happen so that you can learn to control your response.

More information about performance coaching at

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