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The Sensible Flutist

The Sensible Flutist: December 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Is fear holding you back?

As musicians, overcoming our fears is one of our biggest challenges. Allowing ourselves to become vulnerable vehicles for the music we wish to share is a momentous task, immediately peeling away the layers to expose our truest selves to an audience full of people we may have never met.

After the performance, however, no matter how fearful you were prior to or during it, it's a time of intense exhilaration. You can't wait for the next opportunity to perform. How can we cultivate that fearless feeling in the performance itself and live life as it's meant to be lived?

A few weeks ago, I began reading Madeline Bruser's The Art of Practicing for a second time. This time, I've been able to get through the book much more quickly and it's been a surprise to find that I've absorbed so much of the information in the book and am applying it to my music making. It's such an excellent resource to have, and obviously worth re-reading every now and then.

Near the end of the book, in Chapter 14, Bruser speaks about transforming fear into fearlessness. In the section, she discusses how fear may keep us from discovering a new way of identifying ourselves. 

I took this away - each time I experience self doubt, I am fearful. I'm experiencing fear in the times that I don't feel capable of performing to my fullest potential. Instead of waiting for a "big break" to come, start transforming performances with fearlessness. Don't limit your performance to what fear dictates you can handle.

I know what it feels like to be fearless. My study of Body Mapping and the Alexander Technique has enabled me to slowly integrate a complete mind-body connection into my awareness as I practice and perform. In choosing to live my life with awareness, I am choosing to let go of the fears that can restrain me in performance.

Transforming fear into fearlessness is the first step to performing with freedom and true artistry. As your performances come to life, your confidence will blossom and your identity may shape into something more powerful than you ever thought possible. This will bring more opportunities your way.

We spend so much time seeking validation from external sources that we forget what is possible on our own. When you allow the validation to come from within, the chance of getting that "big break" will become more likely. As with anything in life, end gaining does nothing but cause despair when we get off track. Simply accepting what is and cultivating resiliency will benefit you in many more ways than endless start and stops.

You can transform fear into fearlessness by having the courage to share what is in your heart, enjoying the process and letting go of what you think you should be doing. Instead, live with passion, live with heart and most of all, live with the confidence that you are an artist in the present moment.

In the words of Bruser, "We can keep growing only if we face our fear and dare to step forward through it."

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