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Stop Singing Rehearsal Sabotage!

Performance and Life with EricUm, Eric,

If I look realistically at how I actually rehearse, I spend a lot of time focusing on the terrible things I am doing OR just go over stuff I already know really well to feel good. I’m not sure I really get on with preparation. Any ideas how I can turn things around?


Sam, you must get a grip on your own mind. You have announced very clearly in your question to me that your current thoughts are not serving you.

Therefore it is on your shoulders (or in your head :) ) to dispute those thoughts and substitute thoughts that do serve you. Here are seven that will serve you better than your current thoughts:

+ I am a practicing a new thing today—no matter how it sounds initially.
+ I am building my repertoire—that’s what my career requires.
+ I am not attaching to how I sound—instead, I am making myself proud by really showing up.
+ If something needs work, I’ll work on it without badmouthing myself in the bargain!
+ I am working on the hard parts today.
+ Technique and love, love and technique: it’s not just about the notes!
+ My rehearsal time is precious to me and I will use it well.

Maybe none of these are exactly right for you or exactly suit your situation. Then create some “useful thoughts” that are right for you! You may not actually believe that your thoughts are in your control—but if they aren’t in your control, in whose control are they?

Do you want them to be in the control of some “old” you that you no longer want to be? Just as you regularly upgrade your Internet browser or your smart phone, upgrade your thoughts!

Imagine a world-class athlete who never practiced or who mismanaged his or her practices in the ways that you describe.

How would that athlete perform in crunch time?

We know exactly how he or she would perform: poorly. You owe it to yourself, to your dreams and your aspirations, to those counting on you, and to your musical career to refuse to continue in the fashion you describe. Only you can upgrade your efforts—now is the time!


Eric Maisel is author of 40+ books, including Coaching the Artist Within, Making Your Creative Mark, The Van Gogh Blues, and his latest, Life Purpose Boot Camp.