Sunday, March 12, 2017

A New Spin on Flip the Switch

As many of you know, this blog is dedicated to encouraging all of you (and myself) to seek out inspiration for our musical paths instead of waiting around for it to fall from the sky. One of the ways I do this is to read... a LOT! Often, I check out non-fiction audiobooks from the library (still driving a 2003 Toyota with 2003 technology - LOL), and listen while I'm driving. I also enjoy getting up early in the morning before any of the other "to-do"s have to be done and digging in to a good old fashioned hard cover book... I love underlining important concepts with an actual pen :-).

This morning, I am reading an awesome book called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. The timing of this book for me is so great. Since my book has been finished, I've been wondering... what's the next step? Enter The Big Leap! I'm so excited about the concepts in this book...

Now, for a wonderful new spin on "Flip the Switch," one of my favorite performance anxiety strategies. In order to help you understand the new spin, I've included the Flip the Switch paragraph from pg. 56 of The Aspiring Flutist's Practice Companion below. 

I usually teach that you can interpret your performance anxiety symptoms by saying to yourself, "This is scary," or flipping the switch and excitedly proclaiming, "Here we go!" Additionally (as you can see from the next paragraph titled "Breathe Well"), I teach that breathing is a HUGE component of channeling your intense feelings of anticipation into performance power.

Imagine my delight when I read this excerpt from pg. 18 of The Big Leap this morning... 

... the very same mechanisms that produce excitement also produce fear, and any fear can be transformed into excitement by breathing fully with it. On the other hand, excitement turns into fear quickly if you hold your breath. When scared, most of us have a tendency to try to get rid of the feeling. We think we can get rid of it by denying or ignoring it, and we use holding our breath as a physical tool of denial. 

(At this point I was thinking, Yes! So glad I included accepting your symptoms instead of resisting them in the book!)

More from The Big Leap: ... take big, easy breaths when you feel fear. Feel the fear instead of pretending it's not there. Celebrate it with a big breath, just the way you'd celebrate your birthday by taking a big breath and blowing out all the candles on your cake. Do that, and your fear turns into excitement.

How great is it to learn new concepts that make old concepts more powerful?!

I hope you enjoy breathing your way from fear to excitement the very next time you get the chance.

Happy Practicing!
Terri Sánchez

P.S. If you want to read more about performance anxiety strategies, I hope you'll check out Chapter 6 of The Aspiring Flutist's Practice Companion and/or read Go Ahead and Sweat It! A Flutist's Unconventional Guide to Performance Anxiety.