This formula has consistently empowered performers to win auditions at literally every level- from All State, Juilliard, Broadway, countless orchestras around the world, management, and positions in multi-Grammy Award winning groups. Winning your dream audition or reaching peak performance can be a reality. We have been grateful to see unbelievable transformations. We find that people have plenty of time to prepare, have the discipline to succeed, and have the right resources to win. However, performers may be effective in one category of preparation, but then totally neglect another important part. This is where the Liberated Performer Theory of Audition and Performance Success comes in. It is a holistic approach that you can use to create your own unique strategy as you prepare. Let’s begin!
The theory consists of three categories that all influence each other.
1. Your ability to successfully complete the task (self-efficacy)
2. Your self-worth as a person (self-esteem)
3. Your control over the performance environment (locus of control)
Category 1: What contributes to your belief that you can successfully complete the task? (self-efficacy)
Technique: We need to make sure we can get through the performance and feel confident about all technical passages. This way, we can just perform the artistic ideas. We can improve our technique by pairing the right exercises with the technical obstacle. For example, if you have intonation obstacles, search for intonation exercises. Also, we can create systems for keeping our already developed technique at peak level. Remember, in 99% of the time, the purpose of technique is to translate your artistic ideas.
Artistic ideas: In order to bring life to the piece, we need to develop artistic ideas. Without artistic ideas, we do not have a strong purpose on stage. We can create artistic ideas based on our artistic identity, copy our teacher’s ideas, learn from others, and gain artistic clues from the music (or source material). Simply having a clear vision of what you want to perform gives you something to focus on besides distracting thoughts or unwanted emotions.
Anxiety Management Techniques: Let’s say you have your piece technically ready as well as a clear artistic vision. However, you begin to get tense, sweaty, or whatever else happens when you get nervous on stage. This is where a performer needs to develop anxiety management techniques. Examples include processes like breathing and visualization exercises, and fail-safe responses. You can check out the videos and articles on breathing and visualization on the website. By incorporating anxiety management techniques, we are able to reduce the anxiety thus performing closer to our full potential.
Previous Successful Performances: There is nothing like performing your piece in front of an audience for the first time because we all know it’s a different feeling. In fact, professionals launching a new program will always try to schedule a performance before they tour. However, if you’re preparing for an audition or competition, you do not have the luxury of multiple performances like you would if you were touring it all year. Therefore, you must gain successful performances before the audition. This is not a new idea, but we push our performers to schedule as many performances in public as it takes to reach the Liberated Performer performance state. The Liberated Performer state is when you perform in public with high technical execution, intelligent and creating artistic ideas, and confidence. Experiencing successful performances for all of your repertoire is a big factor for success when the pressure increases on stage. The amount of times it takes to get to that performance state depends on multiple factors such as technical difficulty but it usually takes around 10-15 performances from what we have seen. Do NOT neglect performance practice.
So, those are some of the factors that contribute to a strong self-efficacy. However, what if you fundamentally don’t believe you are worth much as a person? Let’s visit self-esteem and see how it affects a performance.
Category 2: How does your self-worth affect your performance? (Self-esteem)
Low self-esteem can prevent you from feeling confident and reduce the quality of your performance. Someone with lower self-worth may not think they deserve to win or perform well, have an anxiety disorder, entangle their self-worth with the success of their performance, constantly seek validation, or never think they are good enough.
One reason why most performers neglect this part of preparation is because they often confuse the results with how they are feeling. For example, someone with low self-esteem can still sound better on a performance than when they had a higher self-esteem if they were better prepared for the former performance. However, we are talking about an individual’s peak performance. A higher self-esteem allows us to be more comfortable with being vulnerable and expressing ourselves. It’s also a much more enjoyable performance experience!
In order to address low self-worth, one can work with a therapist, overcome a fear, gain new experiences that reinforce a different identity, take on new perspectives, gain self-compassion, and surround themselves with a nurturing environment to sustain results. While the journey to increasing your self-esteem may take a while, it directly pays off not just on stage, but in life. Believe me, I performed for years with low self-esteem and made me question why I was performing in the first place. Raising the always fluctuating self-esteem level saved my career and happiness as a human being.
Now let’s say we have a strong self-efficacy and high self-esteem. This is a powerful combination to prepare for our auditions and concerts! However, what if we are still under performing when we walk into the final round of a competition? This brings us to the final aspect- the environment you are performing in (locus of control)
Category 3: How does the environment affect your performance and how much control do you have over it? (Locus of Control)
The environment can completely change how we feel during our performance. The intensity of a competition can overwhelms us, the weather can delay our anticipated performance time, the judges and audience can have mixed opinions on our performance, there can be politics involved in the results, or the judges can be tired and grumpy.
This raises the question of what do we actually have control over? The answer is not much. We often assume we have more control over an environment but it’s simply not true. The only aspect we can really control is ourselves and our reactions to the environment. Therefore, we need strategies and processes like contingency plans, pre-performance routines, and a strong focus on the performance. While it’s tough to cultivate these skills, developing the ability to walk into any environment and be your best self is one of the ultimate goals in performing. Instead of letting the environment dictate how you feel, try taking control of what’s in your control and dictate how you feel to thrive off the environment.
So, there you have it! The three categories of audition and performance success. From these categories, which ones do you need to prepare more? How can you further develop each category and get specific in your own preparation system? How does each part of the theory influence each other?
If you have any questions, feel free to comment or contact us.
Thank you for reading and make sure to bookmark this page as these principles will come back over and over again as you teach or prepare for your audition and concerts.