Part 6: Train In A Way That Delivers Results
Use tools that boost both effectiveness and motivation
People often think that the difference between average musicians and truly great performers comes down to understanding a few mindset “secrets”.
But, in my experience, there usually isn’t much of a knowledge gap. It all comes down to practical application.
How you practice something is just as important as what you practice.
After working with over 1000 musicians on this, here are the elements of practice that I’ve discovered lead to great results that stick in the long-term:
Practice Under Pressure
You need to practice how you’ll perform. That includes your physical state – so it’s important to recreate feelings of excitement and pressure.
You can use whatever methods achieve this for you. But here’s the basic setup that I use with my students:
- Record yourself – this alone adds pressure from wanting to get a good “take”
- Only one “take” allowed – get through to the end no matter how much goes wrong
- You must share the result with others – even if you’re unhappy with it
You don’t need to do this all the time; but do make it a regular part of your practice.
Make Yourself Accountable
You need to push outside your comfort zone for this to work. And do that repeatedly.
Some committed people manage this just fine on their own. But most need external motivation to see it through.
You can set something like this up for yourself by telling a friend what you’re doing and asking them to hold you accountable.
I do this for my students by sending them tasks as part of my 6-week “bootcamp”. Each week has a specific focus – I give them exercises to do and a performance recording to make and post in the private group forum.
Here’s the schedule I give them to follow:
|Week||Main Focus||Actions||Performance Recording|
|1||Pressure||Start practising Centering||Set a baseline|
|2||Self-belief||Create Performance and Identity Statements; keep practising Centering||Observe self-talk|
|3||Letting go||Create your Highlights Reel; daily acts of courage; keep practising Centering||Practice letting go strategies|
|4||Focus||Work on focus exercises; keep practising Centering||Practice focus strategies|
|5||Mistakes||Practice the Recovery Protocol; keep practising Centering||Choose a piece where you know you’ll make mistakes|
|6||“Real-world”||Make plans for real-world issues; keep practising Centering||Create a challenging environment to record in|
This is not the only “correct” order to work through the material – you could switch things around if you want. But I’d recommend starting here as I’ve used it with over 1000 students now and I find it works really well.
Reflect And Get Feedback
Just doing the exercises isn’t enough. Self-reflection is a vital part of the process that allows you to identify what needs more work and how to improve it.
But it’s hard to do this well on your own – it’s much easier with feedback from others. I push my students to ask deeper questions about what they’ve observed in their reflections. And I challenge them to aim higher when they work on their self-belief (the natural instinct is to sell yourself short).
Try and find a friend who’s willing to give you feedback on the work you do training your mind.
Lean On Community
I have a private community forum for my students. The interaction with others going through the same process really helps them stay motivated when the work feels tough. But they also learn a huge amount from each other. Some of the biggest breakthroughs come from this interaction rather than the official teaching.
You could do something similar yourself by encouraging a few friends to join you in training their minds.
Never Stop Learning
You’ll never run out of areas that you could improve. Don’t stress about it. You’re looking to master these different aspects gradually, rather than get it all done in a single 6-week burst.
So, you’ll eventually want to find a way where you can practice this stuff little and often over the long-term.
A good starting point that I give to my students is to do two quick things every day:
- Centre -> Play (focusing on one specific mental skill) -> Reflect
- Review your highlights reel
Then, once a week, make a performance recording, reflect on it, and review your belief bricks log.
The Complete System
At this point you have a complete system on your hands.
Everything you need to work on to train your mind. And how to practice it.
Sure, there’s plenty of work still to do to sort out all the details for yourself. And then put everything into practice consistently. But you’ve already got way more than I had available to me when I started working on this years ago.
If you’re one of those people who likes DIY learning, then you might find that prospect positively exciting.
But if you’d like some help, my programme will show you how to get these results – guaranteed.
You’ll get in-depth, step-by-step instructions on exactly what to do… feedback and guidance on your progress… and you’ll join a friendly and supportive community of other musicians on the same journey.