Human First. Musician Second. Using Musician’s discipline to live a balanced life.
In addition to the many hours musicians and performing artists invest in practicing, studying and honing their skills and artistry, It is equally important for them to fuel their bodies, minds and souls with that same consistency and commitment.
Over the years I have dealt with anxiety (both performance and general) that has been crippling. At one point I blew up my arms with tendonitis from practicing more hours than anyone should each day, and was miserably forced to take nearly a year away from the piano and in arm braces. I have also gone through periods of exhaustion and fainting spells when I decided it wasn’t necessary for me to sleep regularly. These were all important lessons about life balance learned the hard way!
I love being challenged and being busy, but life has certainly taught me that balance is key. You cannot strive to excel in one area of your life while neglecting the others, and if you do, it’s only a matter of time before it catches up to you!
To perform optimally, we need focus, clarity, concentration and calm. We need energy and well-nourished minds and bodies to withstand the pressure and excitement of being on the spot in front of an audience. When we perform we want to connect with our audience and offer them our emotions and experiences and we cannot do this if we do not live a healthy, balanced life
Of the many things we do while preparing for a performance, we often overlook how important it is to fuel the performer with a recipe of supportive relationships, healthy sleep routines, regular exercise, meditation and spirituality, and wholesome, nutritious food.
Here’s my ideal performance day routine that has proven successful for me:
- At least 8 hours of sleep the night before a performance (or more!) – For an evening performance, I make sure to nap or lay down during the day, or schedule some quiet, restful time.
- I try to meditate twice each day, as well as practicing a 5-minute meditation before going on stage
- Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! I aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water on the day of my performance and often drink a green juice (mixed veggies in my juicer) before as well.
- I always eat an avocado on the day of my performances. The rich fats give lots of energy to help with focus…plus I just love avocados:)
- Immediately before going on stage, I focus my energy to feelings of gratitude. Listing things I am blessed with to get that “thankful” feeling in my chest.
- Then on stage, be present and have fun! Trust that your nourished body and refreshed mind can handle this!
Whatever routines you develop for your performances, I encourage you to make happy, healthy and creative choices to achieve an effective life balance and enhance your performances!