Mental Health Month 2021: Overcoming Performance Anxiety
Join our expert panel: Greta Bradman, Soprano, Psychologist and Radio Broadcaster; David Griffiths, Associate Professor of Music and Australia Ensemble UNSW Clarinettist; and Georgia Winkcup, Australian Olympian and UNSW Alumna, to learn about performance anxiety, and what we can do to perform our best.
Recorded Friday 29 October 2021
Isabella Mazzarolo: Welcome everyone to this webinar on Overcoming Performance Anxiety. My name is Isabella Mazzarolo, I am a Scientia PhD Scholar here at UNSW, with my research focusing on performance anxiety and specifically music performance anxiety.
I would first like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the land where I am joining this session from today. I would also like to pay my respects to the elders past and present and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders who are present here today.
I also encourage you, using the chat feature, to tell us where you are calling in from here today. You’ll also have the opportunity to use this feature throughout the webinar, so feel free to leave some comments below as we talk about performance anxiety.
This event is brought to you by the Music Performance Unit, as part of UNSW’s Diversity Fest and Mental Health Month program.
And a couple more housekeeping things: the webinar will be recorded and housed following the live event on the Music Performance Unit website, so feel free to share that around and share it with others, or if you have to leave halfway through, it will be recorded there, so you can catch up on the MPU website.
And if you have a question for the panel, please pop them in the Q&A. The Q&A box is located in the menu at the bottom of your screen and we will be dedicating some time at the end of this session to go through your questions. So feel free throughout to just pop some questions in, and we will get to them at the end.
And lastly, please be aware that we will be talking about mental health in this session. If you feel you need to take a break at any point, please be kind to yourself, and if you need support please see links to services located in the chat which should just be appearing now.
THE PANEL 0:02:20 - 0:03:50
Isabella Mazzarolo: Okay, with that being said, I am very excited to introduce the panel, we have here today. We have Georgia Winkcup, Australian Olympian Steeplechase Athlete and UNSW alumna. Hello Georgia.
Georgia Winkcup: Hi everyone.
Isabella Mazzarolo: We've got David Griffiths, Australia Ensemble clarinetist and Associate Professor of Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. Hello, David.
David Griffiths: Hello.
Isabella Mazzarolo: And finally, we have Greta Bradman a psychologist, performer and radio presenter.
Greta Bradman: Hey, great to be here.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah. So we are really lucky to have such a diverse panel, as we talk about performance anxiety because what we will find is that it is something that affects a lot of people in a lot of different disciplines. So we have, we've got a variety of experiences to talk about here and to share how it affects us and everything like that. So, with that being said, I think we'll go straight into it.
WHAT IS PERFORMANCE ANXIETY 0:03:50 - 0:08:29
Isabella Mazzarolo: We're first going to just unpack performance anxiety or stage fright, whatever we want to call it, and start by defining it. So, Greta, could you please define it for us.
Greta Bradman: Yeah, absolutely. So, I suppose the term performance anxiety is, as it's used in common parlance, and I think it sort of as it makes sense to most folks, is not as a clinical condition, it sort of, it ranges for people in terms of, I suppose, how it, how it manifests and its severity.
But if we get to just you know, two seconds on I suppose a more formal definition and there's no standalone performance anxiety criteria in the in the diagnostic manual we tend to use inside the DSM5 per se.
So, before we get to talking more about what I would probably refer to as performance nerves or even performance excitement if we reframe it, I’ll take you through just a little bit of the DSM criteria. So, performance anxiety, it falls within social phobia in the DSM-IV, so the last one and social anxiety disorder in the most recent DSM-V.
So, social anxiety disorder, well, I suppose it's a fear of, or anxiety specific to social settings, where the person feels noticed or observed or scrutinized, so that’s given for performance situations in the case of, with performance and it will consistently provoke distress. It will lead to these social interactions being either avoided, or painfully and reluctantly endured. That's the last thing that you want when you're performing; it's something that you love and the fear and anxiety will be really disproportionate to the actual situation.
So, there are a number of other, I suppose, criteria with that, but, really, I suppose the point that I want to make, and I know that we're you know pressed for time, so you can Google the DSM-V if you want to know more about I suppose the clinical condition it only applies with very, very, very small number of people.
So really, most of us who experience even extreme performance nerves, it's not a diagnosable condition. It is something that is within the sphere of what might be considered normal, and so really that's where I hope that we can go tonight. So it's looking at performance nerves or performance anxiety in the context of really focusing on performance optimisation.
So, I’m talking about looking at performance anxiety symptoms or nerves as an incredibly normal natural phenomenon which is just one of a number of areas of performance we need to harness in order to perform well. In a way, whether this severe or mild performance related anxiety symptoms relate to inherent uncertainty in performance conditions and our desire for control and performing our best when we're being watched, whether it be by an audience, a stopwatch, colleagues or a coach.
And the most common symptoms of those associated with activation of the sympathetic nervous system with fight and flight. When our heart rate and blood pressure, increase blood, flow shifts away from sort of the digestive system and extremities to the large muscles, so our hands might feel really cold, our mouth might be dry, there's a release of cortisol and stress hormone and related adrenaline as well, and so our muscles can shake and readiness to get out of there with that fight and flight, and we can experience racing thoughts or mind blanks as well.
And where, if we frame it negatively, which we tend to do more, automatically as a natural way because our mind is this incredible thought machine that wants to keep us safe and prepare us. So, we find that in that state, because of blood flow into brain regions, we might not be able to recall quite as well as we can at other at other times.
And then you know, there are, I suppose, more specifics, in terms of how it shows up for different people, so one of my good friends, for instance, another singer, her performance anxiety, which was incredibly intense, and she got a lot of help around and worked, was around swallowing, for instance, so it can be you know different things for different people but that's in a nutshell.
HOW DOES PERFORMANCE ANXIETY MANIFEST? 0:08:29 - 0:11:12
Isabella Mazzarolo: Thanks, that's wonderful. David and Georgia, I wonder how does that relate to your experience with performance anxiety or nerves - how did nerves show up for you? Maybe, would you like to start Georgia?
Georgia Winkcup: Of course. I can definitely relate to all of the feelings you've just described, I feel performance anxiety in all those ways: I feel shaky, I feel nervous, I feel like I can’t kind of think straight, I can't speak, and I always find that it disrupts just simple things like sleep before a race.
Even when I’m warming up, I feel drained and I feel kind of terrified in that same way, where you just aren't really sure what to expect, and you feel, like you say, really out of control. So I mean I’m racing against the stopwatch and performing in front of people and I guess performing against the clock, but in that same way I kind of find that it's something that I need focus on, and I know that a lot of people have the same experiences so that I find a little bit comforting.
And so, yeah, I can definitely I can definitely relate to all those feelings and I know that it's something that obviously techniques and kind of a bit of mindfulness can address to a degree.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah, definitely, and David?
David Griffiths: Yeah I mean exactly, I agree completely and just hearing Greta sort of list all of these things it just almost brought on some of these feelings, I was like “oh yeah” and it makes me remember those feelings, which of course we haven't had for a while, but certainly for me, I get that feeling right here [points to his stomach] and it's sort of those, I guess, we call it butterflies in the stomach but that feeling can be quite strong.
And it certainly affects my breathing, which as a clarinet player can be, you know, very detrimental to what we do. And then obviously the thoughts. You know, you can practice so much for performance and all of a sudden you're not able to focus properly on what you're trying to do, because you’re having all this sort of self-doubt and all these other things so.
So um yeah, and cold hands as Greta was mentioning, is another one which affects us very much with the fingers and all these sorts of things. So, yeah, definitely, I’ve experienced all of those things that Greta has brought back to my attention.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah, and none of those are great for a clarinetist, that’s for sure.
David Griffiths: I mean not for anyone but yeah we're all affected in different ways for sure.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah, and it's funny how like music and in sport, it requires so much precision and training and physical energy and the symptoms of performance anxiety or nerves can just like diminish those straightaway.
Greta have you found the experience of nerves or performance anxiety between individuals that perform in sport or music or other fields to be similar or have you found any differences between those?
SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES IN TYPES OF PERFORMANCE 0:11:12 - 00:15:17
Greta Bradman: Yeah, I think that there are both similarities and differences, I suppose. A similarity that I’ve found, and I should actually, I suppose, preface this by saying that I totally agree with Georgia, I think that, you know, using mindfulness techniques can be so helpful to sort of unhook and really come into - allow yourself to being in the present moment.
One of the, I suppose similarities would be around what, in psych terms, what you would call ‘meta beliefs’ or (and I’m not talking Facebook beliefs and it's just changed their name to Meta) but ‘meta beliefs’ or beliefs about beliefs, so beliefs about what those nerves are doing to you or for you in terms of the performance, so what those nerves are doing to the performance or for the performance. So, a positive mental belief about performance nerves would be “My nerves helped me perform my best. They keep me really alert and firing.:
A negative meta belief about performance nerves would be “my nerves are totally going to destroy my performance. They're going to impact on my performance so it's going to be worse than it would otherwise be.” Or perhaps another negative meta belief might be, “I might lose control of my body, because of my performance nerves.” So, that's one that you know can come in, when you think about the breathing and with say a wind player or a singer, for instance. So you've got these common thoughts about the nerves that can actually perpetuate that cycle of nerves, and I see that across, I suppose, different forms of performance, be it in the boardroom, be it in sport, be it in the performing arts.
But I think there are differences too, and some differences in terms of what folks tend to work on to productively perform alongside the nerves, even integrating them into their toolkit for performance optimisation. So perhaps, this, it probably relates back in part to, I suppose, what I’m talking about my career as a singer, I think there's a cognitive component to performance in some domains, such as where language is involved in particular so be it recalling words in an opera, or a symphonic work or chamber work, we are relying on your memory for those words.
And you could also argue, you know complex musical works, where you're really having to use recall, rather than just kind of muscle memory or being in a business law or public speaking context, for instance, where you're using recall, along with critical thinking and evaluative thinking. So, I think that there's a difference there between, say, sport and certain types of say dance and even music performance, versus where there's more of a, I suppose, a cognitive component, but it really comes down to the same sensations and some of those same sort of underlying meta beliefs.
So, I’m a big believer in, and we can kind of get to this a little bit more later, but a big believer in looking at uncovering those meta beliefs, rather than trying to kind of you know cherry pick stuff off. And also taking a really long-term perspective on nerves and really getting that you know: where's the purpose? What's underlying this? Why is it so important to you? And allow some of the motivation from that domain to really help over time, erode and transform those nerves and allow them to become more like I suppose, a reframe of nerves into excitement.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PERFORMANCE ANXIETY 00:15:17 - 00:17:16
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah, and we will definitely come back to that topic later, as well. Yeah, so we've talked about what performance anxiety is, or nerve are, and our how it presents to us, what the experience is. It’d be great now to kind of delve into the symptoms and the impacts. So, Greta, could you break down for us what happens physically and mentally to the brain and the body when a person is experiencing these nerves, you may have touched on it before in your previous answer.
Greta Bradman: Yeah, I won't go back over whatever already mentioned in terms of, I suppose, a real shift of the autonomic nervous system, towards the sympathetic nervous system or the fight and flight state, but what I would add, too, that is to say that we humans, we are inclined towards homeostasis. So we're inclined towards an equilibrium between our thoughts and our feelings, so if our heart is racing and we feel under threat, our mind will go looking for reasons as to why we're under threat or how we're under threat, and so it can become a vicious cycle, where we are essentially filtering for things that really impact on that and it's like we're shining a really big spotlight on our inner world and inner experience.
Maybe you're looking to control, maybe looking to somehow explain away, but there's a big spotlight kind of shining that tends to exacerbate. So, performance nerves when it comes to as opposed to how we talk to ourselves can have certain commonalities between people, including, ironically, I would say, thoughts around being different, or being very isolated in our experience, being weak being not enough, thoughts about the potential of letting our team down or ourselves down, feelings of frustration around not – about being in better control, so we can feel really isolated in our experience. So I would you know sort of touched on the physical before and that's just adding to, I suppose, the mental.
WHAT ARE THE IMPACTS OF PERFORMANCE ANXIETY 00:17:16 - 00:19:39
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah definitely. What about the long-term impacts of not addressing it? And we know the short term being that, you know, our performance may not be as planned, basically, are there any long-term consequences of not addressing it?
Greta Bradman: And this is, this is a really tricky one because you know, on the one hand you've got those meta beliefs, that I referred to before, these sort of positive and negative meta beliefs, and the risk of focusing on what performance nerves might do to us in the long term, is that we actually hook into them, such that we exacerbate them, and they have more of an impact on us, so we do need to be really careful I think in the way that we concern ourselves with the longer term implications of performance nerves.
But I will say that, in terms of, I suppose, the long term, they can impact on, you know, because at the end of the day, a fight and flight, I mean it's called fight and flight for a reason, you know we either fight, or we run away. And so, my concern would be the cumulative impact of avoiding certain situations, or maybe not actually leaning into the vulnerability necessary to grow as a performer. And you know vulnerability as I’m sure, well Georgia, I’m not sure about what you would say in terms of vulnerability in sport, but certainly in music, I’m sure Dave would agree that you know vulnerability is a big part of being elevated and growing, and really compounding that growth over time as an artist. So I would say that it, yeah, it is, it is really important to I guess focus on the on the longer term, and really think about “Okay, you know what am I going to do in order to really invest in myself and invest in my, in my performance” and this is just one element of performance that absolutely requires investment for performance optimization over time.
HOW TO TURN NEGATIVE ANXIETY INTO POSITIVE ANXIETY 00:19:39 - 00:27:52
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah and, as you touched on earlier, I kind of hinted at how we can you know, flip a switch and think about these nerves as excitement, or think about them in a more positive light. I’m sure many of our audience will be wondering “how do we actually do this, is this possible?” How do we flip that switch and make those feelings positive?
Greta Bradman: Yeah totally I’d actually be quite interested to hear from maybe Georgia, if there are some ways that Georgia, you would I suppose reframe and flip that switch and turn it into a positive.
Georgia Winkcup: Yeah, I definitely think that it's important I mean whenever I go into a race obviously their nerves associated with it. And most of those nerves kind of stem from the fact that there's a lot kind of on the line and touching on your vulnerability point. For you, it might be I’m putting myself in front of this audience and I guess for me it's like I’m testing myself and showing everybody what all this hard work has come to and the investment of other people in kind of my progression and things like that, so I, I find that those pressures in the context of “this is a race” kind of thing as lots of pressure on the outcome makes me incredibly nervous and I think that my best advice in that context is to focus on the fact that this is an opportunity like you say, to kind of show everybody what you can do and to to better yourself, so I like to think of it as a "I’m given this opportunity to get out there and give it a go I should be excited to see what I can do, and what I can show people.” And taking the nervous kind of point of “oh gosh people are going to see what I can do” and putting it into “I now get to show people what I can do” kind of gives you a little bit more excitement. And kind of, kind of brings the joy back to why you do things so you don't perform because you hate it or you hate the experience, you want to make it a positive experience.
So, I guess, in the long term, you think of it as a better experience and you want to go back out there and perform and I want to have that same excitement to race, so that, I think of it as something to look forward to, something to work towards, and to give myself the best chance of succeeding in. That mindset helps.
Greta Bradman: Because I think you know, the thing with those pathways and you know that the feelings that we have in our body at the end of the day, be it excitement or be it sheer terror performing, it's actually the you know it's the same pathways and it's how we just tweak our interpretation and you can even you know have some fun, well I don't know what you call it fun, but you know try hyperventilating you know and really getting a sense of that sensation in your body and then picturing different kinds of scenarios, you know, like a really exciting scenario where you might be on a roller coaster and, if you like, roller coasters, versus say you know something that is just really scary for you, and notice how you can experience the same physical sensations in in very different ways. How about you Dave in terms of you know, thinking about reframing of the things that that you do to help you reframe?
David Griffiths: Well yeah I wanted to ask Georgia a question, but I’ll come back to that - I’m fascinated about the differences and similarities of what we do. But for me, it's I think so much of what we do is how we prepare for it because we know it might happen or it might not happen.
So I think it's important that we practice it and, but the problem is how do we practice being nervous for something that we're not really nervous for so, you sort of touched on it a little bit of sight hyperventilating and stuff so there's a lot of little techniques that that I that I have done or I teach my students, where, for instance, you know run up and down the stairs you know 10 times and get your heart rate really going and then try and sit down and play the clarinet, is one, you know example because it's very, very difficult to simulate the feeling of nerves until you do it, and then, if that's your only opportunity to perform. Well then, you've missed if you don't perform you've missed your opportunity, so I guess that's for me that's one way of trying to do it.
So coming up with, and we may touch on this later, but different ways of simulating that so, for example, playing for someone as much as you possibly other people as much as possible, you know getting yourself nervous, recording yourself and playing that for other people, you know just as much as you can because I find from in my experience, the more I do something, the more comfortable I get it at it, and the less nervous I am when I do it and whenever I take myself out of my comfort zone that's when I get nervous, so I guess there that's just touching on a few of the things that, you know, in that, in that area yeah.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah, how about turning those feelings into excitement? Have you ever, similar to what Georgia was saying, have you ever had to reframe your way of thinking, before a performance to your advantage?
David Griffiths: Yeah look definitely like it's, it's yeah I haven't been nervous for a while, because I - honestly thought as I’ve gotten older I just love performing so much that I have reframed it and I’ve successfully reframed it to the point where I just can't wait to do it, and actually one thing I like to do is I like to imagine that I’m literally sitting in my living room when I’m playing because, as Greta knows Greta and I have worked together a lot, I love talking with the audience and I like really making the whole experience very relaxed for everybody and so that relaxes the audience and relaxes me, and I feel like I’m in my living room just playing. So I guess that's one thing I like to do, definitely.
Greta Bradman: The other thing I'd say Isabella is some I think and both Georgia and David sort of alluded to this taking that longer term perspective and understanding that really it's kind of again kind of like mindfulness practice - if you if you only try and use things or I guess it's like being a musician or being an athlete, if you try to go out there on race day or at the performance and perform at your best and you haven't put in the practice, and you don't really know why you're there, or what you're doing then it's not going to be able to give your all. So I think, for me, I would say it's as much about really understanding why you're there so taking time to look at your core values, to look at you know you, I suppose your purpose in performing, why it means as much as it does and really you know, maybe even doing some visualisation on a regular basis, if this is something that you feel you really need to work on, so that you, you picture that moment of performance or that moment before performance, well before the performance when they might not even be a performance in the near term and you just reconnect with the why, and you practice reconnecting with the why, before you need to reconnect with the why. And part of that connection to the why is to remind yourself of why it is a space of joy and meaning and longer term fulfilment, so it's not so much about how you perform in this moment, as you know, this is one moment in a string of moments that together make for a really fulfilling performance career in whatever in whatever field. But I can take you through more you know, in terms of I suppose the specifics if you'd like of different strategies from psychology and so forth, that you can kind of look into, but if we have time.
Otherwise, and yeah happy to leave it.
ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY EXAMPLE 00:27:52 - 00:38:31
Isabella Mazzarolo: Please let's do that now actually. Okay, talk, talk us through a strategy.
Greta Bradman: All right, well, I mean I’ll start by saying that you can, you know, you can say like strategies integrate some balance of cognitive, so thoughts, and behavioral, so you know behaviors or actions and physiological changes in the body.
When it comes to thoughts in, say, traditional cognitive behavior therapy or CBT, that focuses on shifting our beliefs around maybe say how true our thoughts are, so that we kind of loosen the power of those thoughts over us through recognising that actually maybe they're not as true as we thought, so that's one kind of - in meta cognitive therapy it's about identifying and working with those meta beliefs. And you can work with those from different perspectives.
These days, I tend to work in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy the most. I find it the most successful with work around performance or ACT as it's called, and this is more about asking whether or not this thought is true? Is it helpful for me? Is it workable? Is it taking me in the direction I want to hedge, performance-wise? Is it positively contributing to my performance? And if the thought is not, or if those nerves are not contributing positively to my performance; if they are then great, that’s fine, but if they're not then it's about using tools and techniques within ACT to defuse from these thoughts where, you're not trying to control them because we can’t. You’re not trying to do anything with them in fact, you're not trying to push them away you're just allowing them to be there in your mind. But you're not hooking into them, so you're not trying to explain them away. You're not trying to push them away, you're recognising them for what they are: thoughts brought to you by this incredible thought machine your mind, that cares deeply about your performance. So how about a five-minute breathing and a little bit of experiential? Okay so.
I just invite you to sit back and if you'd like you can close your eyes or just look downward.
And we will begin just with three deep breaths in through your nose, and pause. And out through your mouth. And pause.
In through your nose. Pause. And out. Pause.
In. And out.
Now just allow your body to be in control of your breathing. You don't need to do anything about it now, you can just keep your eyes closed or looking downwards if that works for you.
And I invite you to just reflect on a time recently, when your inner voice - what Arianna Huffington calls ‘the annoying roommate in your head’ - was giving you a bit of a hard time about your area of performance.
So, this can be your voice in the practice room or in the gym. We practice as we intend to perform so just take any moment where your inner voice is not being very nice to you about certain elements of performance.
And even if you're lucky enough to be in Dave's camp where he doesn't necessarily have so many of these thoughts anymore just try and zoom in, be a thought detective, bring your attention to this self-critical voice. What’s it saying?
Try to be as accurate as you can. Try recalling verbatim what it's saying to you. What tone of voice is it using?. And what feelings are associated with this thought? What emotions? What physical sensations in the body?. Just by looking - where are these sensations? Just look for any feelings or sensations in the body associated with this thought about performing.
And you might notice how, when you focus on them, it's like applying a magnifying glass. These feelings might grow, so we can take a closer look.
Go looking, in particular, for feelings of nervousness about performance. Allow room for any of these feelings that come up - where are they in your body? See if you can just hone in on the strongest feeling of all, what is it? Where is the strongest feeling? And where is it strongest? Where is it weakest? Which areas of your body does it cover?
If this feeling had a texture, what would it be? Would it be sticky like treacle? Or fluffy? Or spiky? Or something else?
What about its colour? Does it have a colour? Is it opaque or solid?
What does it smell like? What temperature is it?
Breathe into this feeling. Imagine you're blowing it up like a balloon.
Don't try to get rid of it.
Just breathe into it. Notice it. And notice where it ends, and you begin.
Notice how, however big it gets, you’re always bigger. As you breathe around it remember this: you don't have to like it. You don't have to want it. You just need to allow it. So, you might say, to yourself, “I don't have to like it, I don't have to want it. I just need to allow it. Allow this feeling. Breathe into it, and allow it.
Now, take your hand and place it on your chest of your heart. If you prefer, you can take your hand in your face – sorry, your face in your hand. Keep breathing into your feeling. And whilst you do so, bring your mind to why performing means so much to you. See if you can distill it down to just a handful of words that you can remember.
Repeat them to yourself. And if you can't come up with them just now, that's okay, but after this session maybe put some time aside to really think about what would a handful of words be that you can bring to mind to remember why performing means so much to you.
Allow your hand to drop back into your lap and we'll have three more breaths: in and out. Two more in your own time.
And as you take your last breath in and breathe it out, you can congratulate yourself for just taking a moment now to put time towards your performance.
And that is it. You can open your eyes and come back into the space. And if you're wondering about the hand over the heart there is actually really fascinating research that would, well that has shown that this action actually stimulates the release of oxytocin, the love hormone. So, it actually, literally creates a sense of warmth, I suppose you would call it.
Isabella Mazzarolo: I was gonna say, I feel like I just became friends with my performance anxiety that's great.
Greta Bradman: Good! It's good to be friends, I think that's a really it's great if you can, you know, because, for some people, some folks me included will never ever reframe those nerves as excitement at least most of the time not really. And that's okay. I think that you know it is, I think it's a really beautiful way of putting it to become friends with, and to truly allow space and give space for this normal natural part of really what is a demonstration of how much we care about our performance.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Thank you so much Greta. That was wonderful.
STRATEGIES TO MANAGE PERFORMANCE ANXIETY IN SPORT 00:38:31 - 00:42:12
Isabella Mazzarolo: I wonder, Georgia, David, you kind of talked about the strategies you use for performance like reenacting that performance space, getting that adrenaline going, Georgia do you have any strategies that you use I guess before you runs your races?
Georgia Winkcup: Yeah, I guess are different their strategies, both directly before my performance, so my races. But also I guess the strategies that I implement between races. So similar to what David was suggesting, I kind of do like a time trial or race, a mock race within my athletic squad or with friends and things like that. And that kind of gives me the opportunity and anyone else in our mock race, the opportunity to kind of pretend that we're about to race without the pressures of racing. So, without a crowd that without, kind of, the fact that these these results are going to be permanently recorded for people to access and see and to rewatch the race and things like that, so you kind of have the opportunity to practice your pre-performance routine whether it be, I eat at this certain time or, I give myself time to relax at this point, and I take myself away from other people, or I start my warm-up and I guess for you guys you do a similar kind of a warm-up pre performance routine and things like that.
And it gets you into the mindset of like practicing that and kind of understanding of which stages you'd hit - you'd get the most nervous but also familiarising yourself with that that routine so that when you do it on the day of a performance doesn't feel as foreign and it doesn't have as much for bearing on you, because you're like “well I did this, a few weeks ago” “I did this, a month ago, and it was perfectly fine.” The only difference being that I didn't have XYZ with the exception of XYZ everything was the same.
So, I find that that that kind of thing, like David said, practicing performing is really, really relevant and really helpful.
And then, I guess, on the day of the race itself, so the day of the performance itself, I implement those same those same routines. So I eat at a certain time and I’m somebody who likes to speak with people before my performance so for my race because I find that that calms me down and a lot of people don't like that, and a lot of people that I’m chatting to on the start line probably don't appreciate that either.
But I guess, for me, I find that that really helps me to calm down and to bring it back to I guess my why. Because I race, because I love it and I love the social side and I liked identified these things to kind of to help me to get excited because it’s an opportunity to get out there and to kind of be with friends and to challenge myself into to kind of put all my hard work to the test, so I think that doing that helps me to relax so having that routine like I said earlier, but also familiarising myself with that routine in the weeks or months in advance to that actual performance really helps to do it.
And slightly mindfulness too, so I always find that going into a race, if I’ve sat down even in a session if I’ve treated it like a race and I kind of put in as much energy as I can into a, for example, the last rep and things like that gives me the opportunity to practice kind of the experience of, at this point, I know I’ll be tired or I know that I’ll need I’ll be uncomfortable but I can push through it. So, in a race if I’m exhausted, or if I’m kind of still terrified if my nerves haven't really been dispelled by the fact that the races started. I feel a little bit less terrified by it, knowing that in the past I’ve kind of gotten through these experiences and I’ve walked off the track and I’ve been fine, so it hasn't been the end of the world.
THE IMPACT OF WHAT PEOPLE THINK 00:42:12 - 00:46:51
Isabella Mazzarolo: Exactly. How about you, David do you have any more advice on strategies that you'd like to let our audience know about before we move on to the next topic?
David Griffiths: I’m sure I do. What are they? Well, I actually my experience also I found I mean I did I do get nervous sometimes too.
Sometimes it's even not when you're expecting it. Sometimes you know I might be playing a big concert for 1000 people and I’m not nervous, but then I might be playing a little concert for 10 people and I get really nervous or actually, you know what I find - sorry this is really random and not your question, but it just popped into my head - I could be playing, I remember playing a big concert, big , orchestra, lots and lots of people and I’m not nervous but I’m aware that one person is in the audience that I care about what they think, and I am so debilitated by that because I’m worried about what that one person thinks.
So, that actually still happens to me, especially if there's a clarinet player in the audience and for whatever reason I care what they think.
But I guess my point was going to be is when I care too much about what other people think, that's what causes me problems. So and it's, not to say that I don't care, I care very much about performing my best, but I find that it's really, really important to try and use all these wonderful sort of thoughts and techniques that Greta is talking about to find a way to, I don't know, do it for yourself, but not - I didn't know you need to somehow not be affected by criticism or by what other people think of you, but you need to at the same time, open yourself up musically or in whatever it is you do, to be able to communicate so that's really tricky - I don't know if I’m explaining myself really well, but I definitely think that it's important to, I don't know believe yeah reminder - like I want to, like everything everyone saying - remind yourself why you do it and try not to be too affected by what other people think of you, you know.
I really want to ask Georgia a question on this, so I’m just fascinated to know, do you get nervous during the race?
Georgia Winkcup: Um most of the times, before the race.
David Griffiths: Yeah cause I would’ve thought once you start you’re just going, right?
Georgia Winkcup: Pretty much, yeah. I mean throughout the race my nerves are more so from the fear of like “oh my gosh am I going to be able to finish this” or obviously, like the kick before the end whenever it starts to speed up towards the last lap, for example, I guess it's not nerve in the same way that I feel shaky and nervous it's more nerve, or not nervous, shaky and terrified it’s more nerves of like, well, I guess I’m really nervous like “I might get exhausted” and things like that, and I find that then exhausts me, so I guess my performance anxiety appears in a different kind of feeling and sensation at that point in the race, but I definitely those thoughts definitely come across, it's not like my mind, is completely blank once the gun starts, which is almost a bad thing.
You’re always kind of thinking about these things throughout the race like “Do I need to speed up?” or “Am I going to be able to finish?” So, I guess, yeah even after I’ve started, I can get nervous and can have those negative or nervous thoughts.
David Griffiths: Yeah, because I was really - sorry I’ll stop talking soon -but I was really fascinated by that because I know for us it's probably the same mostly. And I find as a wind player once we get started, after five minutes of the regulated breathing required to play the clarinet it, I find myself naturally just stopping to get nervous anyway, um which is just lovely I think it's, you know, you can just sort of get into that regulated brain that that's required, but I do remember then sometimes your mind starts going in other directions and then that, you have doubts that you need to sort of pull yourself back into the moment sometimes which over a long piece of music can happen, but anyway sorry Isabella.
Isabella Mazzarolo: No that's a great question David and I’ve actually thought the same thing. I’m a pianist as well, and I find my mind can kind of go all over the place, when I mid performance and I remember when watching the Olympics, I was like do they just start and then just zoom off and then all the thoughts disappear like? It’s a really good question!
HOW OTHERS CAN SUPPORT US TO MANAGE PERFORMANCE ANXIETY 00:46:51 - 00:51:10
Isabella Mazzarolo: But yes, we are going to move on to the next section, which is all about how we can be supported by others and how others can support us with our nerves.
So, we've talked a lot about how us as individuals, deal with nerves and how - what our experience is and how, yeah, it is isolating because we think we have this huge issue to tackle by ourselves. But there may be external help there, whether that be your peers, your coaches, your teachers. So, David I’m going to ask you, as a teacher how have you been able to support your students with pre-performance nerves.
David Griffiths: It’s sort of the things that I’ve already said before, but basically just getting them - you know it's very interesting, for instance, we have weekly, in Melbourne, weekly clarinet classes and weekly woodwind classes and it's just a matter of forcing them, in a nice way, to get up and perform in these settings as often as they go on they realise that life will go on afterwards and everything is okay, and the more they do it they're absolutely fine and by the time they get to the third year or fourth year and they've been doing it as much as they can, it's - they don't even think twice about it. So that is, as I’ve said before, that sort of practicing, the act of doing it, realising everything's okay, so then when they get to their final recital it's, they've already done it many, many times for so you know that's one, I really, yeah that's one thing I do.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah. What about you Georgia? Have you felt kind of supported by your, I guess, are they teammates? When you’re running races? How do you guys help each other and support each other?
Georgia Winkcup: I think a lot of it comes down to like personal preference. So, some people prefer to not kind of interact with other people before a race, like I said earlier, I find it comforting to chat to people, because I feel like in that context is less pressure on just the performance and it's more of a kind of a whole experience.
But I talk to my coach like you would your instructor or your teacher before performance and obviously chat through, for example, my tactics in the race and how I’m going to approach it and I guess usually my coach goes for the like “you've put in all the hard work, you know that you can do this” and just like “look forward to it, back yourself, have self-confidence and some faith in the fact that you know that you have put all this effort in” or and I guess in the music context it's “you've done all this practice, you've done this over and over again and I guess you need to go out there and to show everybody what you can do.”
So, I definitely think that leaning on people like that, or my parents who are at the race or friends and family who have come to support.
I don't need them to come to my face and say like “You can win this” like “You've got this.” I just think that having them there and having a bit of a chat to them, sometimes helps but I guess it comes down to personal preference.
But I definitely think that having a support network, especially at your performance helps.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah, and David how about like, before orchestral performance with your fellow musicians, what's it like backstage?
David Griffiths: Well, I was thinking about this, you know I think it's really important to be mindful of what others need.
So, so I always think it's funny what Georgia was saying, because I know there are some musicians that I’ve worked with that love to talk. They love to talk about the footy or whatever and they're not, they seemingly are not at all focused about what they're about to do but that's what they need to do to perform at their best, and then there are other musicians that need to go off into a corner and sit quietly and focus on what they're about to do so, I think you just need to be aware of what everybody needs and so, if someone, if you feel like you want to chat and you find someone else that wants the same thing, then you go off and do that, but certainly I’m more of someone that likes to get in my own head before I play, and so I don't love it when a chatty musician comes and wants to tell me about their weekend or something when I’m about to play. So that's yeah I try and be very aware of what I need and what others need definitely yeah.
THE ROLE OF COLLEAGUES AND COACHES 00:51:10 - 00:53:26
Isabella Mazzarolo: What do you think Greta? Do you think there is a role that our colleagues our teachers our coaches play with this?
Greta Bradman: Absolutely. Yeah. Like several roles I'd say. I mean for starters, there's so much wisdom, as both Georgia and Dave have talked about, you know, so much that they will impart to the people around them, and also, I think there's a there's a big bit of just normalizing, and you know saying “you're absolutely not alone in your experience” there are nuances that you know will be yours, but we're not alone in this, and so whenever you see someone on stage or winning a gold medal or public speaking on a world stage or you know, no matter how composed, that person looks or even is right now, that there's more than likely experienced performance nerves as well, and maybe even you know cripplingly so, at some point or another.
I mean I think about myself, as of now I, you know, I broadcast on the ABC every week. I sing, and like Dave I talk to my audiences and I work as a psych and I do things like this; I’m talking to you. When I finished university I mean I had serious performance anxiety. And just couldn't imagine pursuing a career in singing or any performance, I thought it was just going to be psych research and statistics.
And yet you know, through I suppose working on it over time, you know it's amazing how these things can evolve, and I think accepting that none of us are perfect, and that your voice and your performance, it - that others really do want to you know, we want to hear what you have to say.
So, I think just leaning into that commitment to being vulnerable, for the sake of your performance and really learning from folks like Georgia and Dave is really, really valuable. So I think, absolutely, we can learn an absolute bunch from our from our coaches and teachers and our peers too
Q&A 00:53:26 - 01:16:06
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah. Thank you. Well, everyone that about wraps up our discussion and we will now be going into the Q&A part of the talk.
So, I’m just going to encourage you all to have a look through the Q&A that the audience, that is. Because you may have a question that is already there, and if so, you can up-vote that and that will help us out because we have a lot of questions. If your question isn't there, please feel free to type it in and we're going to get stuck into it.
So, I’ve got a good one here. Can you guys see that question? No? Okay, I am going to read it out.
It says, “I feel like I go through phases of being affected and not affected by performance anxiety if I’m performing all the time, then it's not so bad. But after such a massive breakthrough, to the pandemic the thought of going back again is a bit daunting. Thoughts for dealing with it coming and going in phases?”
Ah, who, David I know you have thoughts around this because you mentioned this earlier, do you have any thoughts around this?
David Griffiths: I know Brendan he is my former student. So thankyou Brendan.
Yeah I don't actually know if I have any good, I mean, I can tell you actually, it's funny I say that “oh yeah I don't get nervous anymore,” but that's not true at all I just remembered.
I played at the Bendigo festival back in February of this year or last year - must have been this year I get very confused - and that was the first concert that I had played for almost a year and I was really, really nervous.
And I guess I got through it and that helped me for the next one, and that helped me for the next one.
But it, yeah I guess it just goes back to what I’ve said many times already today, is just is just repetition, is just getting out there and doing it. So I know that doesn't necessarily help the first one, but perhaps Georgia or Greta has a better answer for this one.
Georgia Winkcup: I guess my opinion would just be kind of practicing, like you were saying earlier, putting yourself in that context and that environment so whether a be to offer to play for a family member to offer to kind of play for a wider audience if you slowly make your way to performing for an almost audience of what you're nervous to perform in front of, then you might be a little more familiar with those feelings.
So, like I would do with a time trial, for example, you kind of put it, put yourself to the test and prepare as though you are going to perform on a big stage, and just be a little more familiar with how those feelings kind of pop off and how you would kind of tackle them and then you can practice tackling them with less pressure.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah, great. Greta did you have any more thoughts on this?
Greta Bradman: Yeah I mean I would agree with everything that Georgia and Dave have said, I think that that you know just that habituation and allowing yourself, and being patient with yourself and how you feel about performing and I suppose just acknowledging that it has been a really, a very strange, you know break this COVID context for a lot of performers and so I think just you know going in with a little bit of that almost systematic kind of desensitisation through staging it a little bit, but also just again regular mindfulness practice and truly mindfulness practice is not about being good at it, you know the practice and it’s called practices for reason, is the act of noticing where your mind has taken you, and unhooking and guiding your attention back to where you intended to be, that is the opportunity and that literally can change your brain.
And, in a way, what you're doing when you're performing more often, is having opportunities to, performance opportunities to, at least in a music context, to bring to guide your attention back to where you intended to be. We do it, time and time again in the performance context, but when you're not performing regularly you haven't been really keeping your brain trained to bring your attention back to where you intend it to be. So, you know Smiling Mind, Buddhify, Insight Timer. There are a range of mindfulness Apps that you might like to try and remember, there is no being bad at my mindfulness practice because, again, the opportunity is in that rep of really working the attention muscle and that can really help you in those moments and help you kind of remember how to just unhook and gently guide yourself back. That would be the only thing that I would add.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah. Thank you. Another question is “Do you have any advice on how to deal with a previous negative performance experience, not letting the fear of failure to overwhelm you in future performance? Has this happened, David or Georgia to either of you before? Have you ever had a pretty bad performance experience? Georgia? Yeah? Do you want to talk about how you overcame that?
Georgia Winkcup: I guess, even quite recently, it was only a few months ago, I was going into a race kind of hoping to qualify for the Olympics by running the time it was a bit of a difficult and confusing qualifying system. And I went into it expecting to run well because everything would have suggested that that would be the case because I’ve been training well and things like that.
And I ran terribly. It was horrible. I hated most of the race and it just was a bit of a shock give - going how, given sorry how well I’d gone into the race and I think that, then the next race, it was only a few weeks later, I was absolutely terrified I think I was the most anxious I’ve ever been to a race, I think I had a minor kind of anxiety attack. I’ve never had one before and I was just I kind of missed mistook it for just being exhausted and I think that's how my performance anxiety kind of showed itself on that day, and I think that recognizing, going into that then next performance - after having had a bad one - the feelings of nervousness were really important and I lent on my family and the people who were there before the race to kind of help me to refocus.
And I think that that helped for me, so I think that if you've had a bad experience and a bad performance going into the next performance kind of feeling horrible and feeling, really, really nervous, it's important to identify that that's why into kind of use the techniques that you've used in the past to help you get over that anxiety is really important, so and I think also recognising that that might be an outlier, you're not necessarily going to perform that same way again, because I mean you could have put in hours and hours of practice, and that might just be the exception, you might have them put in the same hours of practice and it's going to be incredible. I think that the taking that as the new expectation, as to how you're going to perform is really bad so.
Obviously, it's easier said than done, and I can't say that I was perfect to them in my next race, but yeah I really found it helpful to have people to kind of help me to identify that that's why I was so much more nervous and terrified and feeling more terrible than usual.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah. That’s really great advice.
Greta Bradman: I would add to that. You know, actually verbalizing these things with people and talking them out a little bit, and you know, and also a certain amount of acceptance as well as to “this is, you know this is going to impact on my sort of my internal experience for the next little while and that's normal and natural and I’m just going to keep talking it out and keep you know doing what I do to prepare for performances” and understand that it will, you will regroup it'll just take a little time and just that the last thing that you want to do is really hook into those thoughts and allow them to, sort of, as opposed become amplified in your mind. So, just, yeah, talking it out, gathering the team, finding your team in whatever form and accepting that you're going to feel maybe a little off for a little while and that's totally normal and natural.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah. Thank you. Another very relevant question now actually is “how to get over the fear of performing in the current age of online events when it's recorded or you can't see the audience or blind auditions?” Have you, David, have you done any online performances?
David Griffiths: Quite a few and I guess it, sort of, I mean I sound like a broken record, but yeah the first one was very weird and uncomfortable. But then the next one got easier and it got easier and you just start to put yourself, you kind of imagine that people are out there, watching and actually, it was kind of cool I remember the first one, you know you get to the end and you're used to having some applause and that feedback that we love and there's nothing.
And so, you kind of walk off, but then I, you know, pack up my clarinet and all of a sudden, I get all these messages from friends and family saying “Oh well done”, you know and that was great, I was like “Oh that was nice.” So, it's just adapting, it's just changing, it's a little bit different.
But, I guess, we you know it's not completely foreign in that sense that we used to do, you know, live radio broadcasts and things like that, well we still do sometimes. So it's not it's not completely foreign but it's just a matter of adapting and getting used to it and I think so much of it goes back to how we think about things and aware, be aware that things a bit different and talk it like Greta was saying, talk it out, talk to people, talk to yourself about it, and come up with a strategy of how you how you're going to deal with it.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah, it's interesting, actually, when you said earlier that sometimes in a performance you just kind of pretend that you're in your lounge room, now it's like we've got that, it's like flipped now, it's like okay now I’m in my lounge room and I’m, and I feel weak, because the audience isn't there [laughs]. Strange times.
Okay, another. I’m looking for the ones that have been up-voted and Greta this one's for you, “is there a link between insecure attachment in childhood and music performance anxiety in adulthood? If so, how could this best be addressed?”
Greta Bradman: I haven't seen any research or been exposed to any research in in that space, I mean, I guess, there are three types of insecure attachment, and I would guess that they would be quite different to one another in terms of how they might manifest later. So I mean, I think that the interesting thing about modern forms of psychotherapy so, you know, cognitive – be it a sort of a second wave therapy like cognitive behavior therapy or third wave therapy like acceptance and commitment therapy, is we tend to very much deal in the here and now with things like performance nerves and performance anxiety. So, if you're interested in in delving into that, then you know, perhaps finding a psychotherapist who really goes back into that realm for a different sort of, I suppose, deeper form of exploration around how that might be impacting on performance. But I would guess, and again, you know, we need to be, well what sort of insecure attachment, are we talking about? And I think probably getting right down into the nitty gritty of a given situation, to really look at how that's how that's playing out, and you know the relationship that you might have, your perceived relationship with the audience as a result of those childhood experiences, but a great - a really interesting question.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Thank you. Okay now we've got some questions about like mid-performance, so when you're on the stage or when you're on the track, so I might try and combine these all together. One is about how would you overcome mind blanks?
This person had a performance, where they had a mind blank and now that got a fear of forgetting everything suddenly mid-performance, I have been there myself. And then another one is about sometimes, this person said, “sometimes I try to relax before concerts or recordings but in the middle of the piece I start to step up and get more nervous. any way of dealing with this problem?” So again, oh and the other one is “any advice on maintaining competence after making a mistake during the performance?” So, yeah these are mid-performance, how can we kind of, regain our confidence?
I think this would be a good one for both, all three of you really, but let's go with David.
David Griffiths: I’m making mistakes. I can definitely answer this one. I was, I was thinking about this, as I was reading. I’ve had a few shockers like this and, and I think I was trying to think of an answer, because I was hoping, you would ask these questions so.
I, well, few things be aware that this will probably happen, you know I don't even remember what if I’ve ever given a performance, without making some sort of mistake or some sort of imperfection. It's absolutely going to happen. So, if you're aware ahead of time that you might make a mistake, I think that's, the first thing, so that when it happens, you can try, again try not to care about it.
Because there's a lot of different things I’m trying to say at the same time, but, but you have, for me, I have to keep my mind on what I’m doing not what I’m about to do. or not what I’ve just done, but what I’m doing right at that time. And so, if I’m worried about a mistake, I made 30 seconds ago it's going to affect what's coming next, and so, if I’m aware that, yes, probably I’ll make a mistake, then when it does happen it's so much easier for me to kind of let it go.
But like I said you can't deal with that at the moment, if you haven't thought about how you are going to deal with that if that makes sense. So, that's really important. I remember once I was playing Brahms Trio, and I was really getting into it and I went for a high note and I did a massive squeak which, on the clarinet is it's just awful, it's so loud and it absolutely affected me, because immediately then I withdrew into myself and I just kind of played safe and I stopped really, you know, communicating and engaging and it was just really awful, I hated that feeling, so I really try not to do that.
I have another really quick funny story that I’ll never forget, I was playing Mozart Concerto from memory I don't really like playing from memory, and this is a whole other topic with nerves and memorization, but I don't like doing it very often but I always feel like I should play Mozart Concerto from memory, so I do. And I remember, I was about two minutes from the end of the half an hour concerto. And I was thinking “Oh I I’ve almost made it to the end. It's going really well.” And then my mind started wandering and I wasn't thinking about where I was at that time and then I started thinking about a bar like the second, right towards the end, and I started thinking “I don't remember what the notes are” and so, while I’m playing something else I was already starting to get anxious about a bar that was like 30 seconds ahead of time. Even though I’ve played it 100 million times and I know it, and, of course, when I got to that bar, I stuffed it up. And, and I, and then I was beating myself up because I knew I was going to stuff it up, because I was thinking about it and so. These things happen, I mean they happen, but I guess, my point is try to stay very much focused on where you are right at that, at that time. I think that's what I try and do for myself.
Isabella Mazzarolo: That's great you actually answered the next question I was going to ask which was about how do you stop yourself thinking about a tough part of the piece that's about to come up? So, I guess yeah like you said, just stay focused on what's happening at that very moment.
Okay, so more questions.
Greta Bradman: Can I add one thing to that?
Just because I think it's really important so I’m going to do a little test for you all for like it like three seconds: don't think of a pink elephant.
Okay, so my point is, we cannot control our thoughts, it is categorically impossible for us to control our thoughts. So, when we have those thoughts mid-performance and you know we like our minds going because I - Dave I’m totally with you I’ve had the same thing - and like I remember, I was singing Violetta from La Traviata on the sails of the Opera House and the cameraman was in the helicopter and the orchestra was down on the ground, and there was a there was a lightning storm coming, so it was kind of different there were always things going on - but when you're in that space that's where I think you know those attention training exercises beforehand, that you know mindfulness meditation, those exercises to really strengthen that connection between, well strengthen that capacity for you to guide your attention back to where you intended to be, and accept that there are going to be thoughts there chattering away like you know the radio, playing on the background.
Russ Harris actually has a great website, thehappinesstrap.com there’s whole heap of free resources there. There's also a course, which is a paid course, but there are a lot of free resources that I think are fantastic for performers because it's all about, you know you've got these thoughts there bubbling away and we can actually really have some agency over the ones that we dig into or hook into and pay attention to, and the rest, we can notice them and we can guide our attention back to where we intend to be, and if we've done that enough if we practice that enough, then we're more capable of actually bringing our attention back into the moment of flow The other thing I would say, is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, his research around ‘flow’ and meeting the world in flow, is really super helpful for performance as well, and I would definitely suggest that you check out flow and how to exercise around floor.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah great. Thank you and I just thought Georgia with Steeplechase, right, you've got those like hurdles and all those other things like water. When you're like running up to them, does that go through your mind like “oh my gosh it's coming” and does that psych yourself out?
Georgia Winkcup: Definitely, I think that a lot of it, I mean like if you've never done Steeplechase before you have five hurdles a lap and one of them is over a water pit, and there are about seven and a half laps, it's a three k race.
And I guess, as you get tired, you lose a lot of focus like you would in a performance and for me it's it kind of shows up in the sense that as I’m running towards a steeple I might forget like how far away, for example, I need to be before I jump over it. And I lose a lot of my rhythm and I tippy toe towards the jump and then I lose my confidence being like “Oh God that's a second in that I’ve just lost in approaching that steeple.” And those kinds of things, like you accidentally forgetting your note, then are kind of carrying that forward to the next steeple or things like that and I lose a lot of confidence.
So, I think that, yeah, when those kinds of things happen like you say, bring your mind back to the present, and what you can change. And I then have to try to refocus and to kind of focus on “Okay, I need to get to approximately this far away from each jump” or “I need to really push off this water jump” and I need really make sure that I hit those things that I can change and I need to push back the rest of the field. So, if I’m in a race, obviously there are people jumping around me, there are people falling over. there are people tippy toeing towards the jump, there people stepping on it when you usually hurdle it, and they're all these things that can kind of distract you so I guess, in that sense it's a really similar experience to having people distract you in a performance, whether it be the audience, or you yourself accidentally missing a note or doing the wrong note so, I think that yeah those kinds of mindfulness techniques, and those kinds of like bringing your mind back to the present, what you can change and the fact that you can't go back and change the jump before, can't go back and change 30 seconds earlier when you got yourself distracted or let your mind wander, are really important.
Isabella Mazzarolo: Yeah, Thank you. Well guys, I think we are going to have to wrap it up now, so thank you audience, thank you for those wonderful questions and for tuning in, and thank you to our wonderful panelists here today Greta, Georgia and David. Thank you so much, and thank you for talking about your experiences and for all your advice I think we've all learned something important from all of you here today, so thank you so much for that.
We will be posting a feedback survey in the chat and it would be really wonderful if you guys could fill that out it'd be wonderful to have your feedback on this webinar and you can stay in touch with them music performance unit, by signing up to our newsletter or liking us on Facebook and you'll be invalid, for all the upcoming events and other webinars coming up, so thank you again everyone and have a great night.
Greta Bradman: Thanks, and thank you Isabella
Georgia Winkcup: Thank you
David Griffiths: Yeah seconded