The way we talk to ourselves before, during, and after a performance can have a huge impact on how we perform. If you find yourself in a negative headspace before a performance, it can be helpful to have some go-to affirmations to transform negative self-talk into positive thoughts. The following are positive affirmations you can use to help boost your confidence before going onstage.
“I am READY!”
Before a performance, we usually spend countless hours in the practice room, where self-critique is essential for improvement. When we perform, it is important to get out of this “practice room mindset.” Replace self-critique with self-appreciaiton and trust that you are prepared.
“I am doing my best.”
Many musicians are plagued by perfectionism, which can make any imperfection in a performance feel catastrophic. Sometimes performances don’t go as planned, and it is important to forgive your imperfections. Regardless of how you performed, you know that you gave it your all, and that is something to be proud of.
“I am grateful for this opportunity.”
Studies show that gratitude is a powerful tool for improving your optimism, satisfaction, and overall sense of well-being. Before you go onstage, take a moment to appreciate how far you’ve come and feel grateful for the opportunity to perform.
“I love this piece.”
We’ve all played a concert where the temperature of the room was too hot or too cold, the chair wasn’t the right height, or the acoustics were terrible. If you find yourself brooding about an inconvenience, shift your focus to the only thing that matters - the music! Appreciating the music will help your distractions fade away.
“It’s okay to make mistakes.”
The audience knows you are human. Mistakes can and WILL happen. Everyone, including your mentors and even famous musicians make mistakes sometimes. Perfection is boring - you’re here to make music!
“This performance does not define me.”
Though it is natural to be proud of a good performance and disappointed when it doesn’t go as planned, it is important to separate your self-confidence from your self-esteem or self-worth. Self-confidence is how you feel about yourself and your abilities on different days and in different situations. It can rise and fall with the ebbs and flows of life. Self-esteem, on the other hand, is how you feel about yourself and value your worth regardless of your confidence level in the moment. Performers often have a difficult time separating who they are from what they do. It can be helpful to reflect on a performance you had in the past. If it was a good performance, did it make you a good person? If it was a bad performance, did it make you a bad person? No matter how well you play today, tomorrow is a new day.
These are just some examples of affirmations you can use. Another idea is to try keeping a journal to come up with your own affirmations. Start by reflecting on your fears. Let yourself fall into a negative mindset and practice talking yourself out of it. Find new affirmations by highlighting certain words or phrases that helped bring you back to a positive mindset.