Peak Performance

Fearless Performance for Musicians - Jeff Nelsen’s workshop on becoming a better performer. Mock auditions, videotaping, coaching, critiques, etc.

Beyond Practicing - a “7 module” course in developing peak performance (stage presence) skills by Dr. Noa Kageyama, a sport and performance psychologist on the faculty of the Juilliard School. Available in various formats: pdf, mp3 audio file. Also check out his blog The Bulletproof Musician.

Mental Preparation for Performance and Practice - A Quick and Simple Routine - handout for a presentation at IHS40 in Denver by Jeffrey Agrell

Performance Anxiety - article by Cynthia Carr

Trick Question - blog entry by Jeffrey Agrell

Ten Tips on becoming “Fearless” - article by Jeff Nelsen

The Bulletproof Musician - Juilliard musician turned psychologist Noa Kageyama gives professional advice on dealing with performance anxiety and related topics

Performance Anxiety, article by B.S.O. bass trombonist Doug Yeo

Stage Presence - article by James Boldin

Books on Peak Performance (bibliography by Jeffrey Agrell):

Baum, Kenneth, The Mental Edge

Berger, Dorita, Toward the Zen of Performance [using free improvisation to develop self-confidence in the performer]

Benson, Herbert, The Relaxation Response [meditation]

Brown, Barbara, Stress and the Art of Biofeedback

Christensen, Loren, The Mental Edge

Dorfman & Kuehl, The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance

Dunkel, Stuart Edward, The Audition Process: Anxiety Management and Coping Strategies

Farnbach, Rod & Eversley, Overcoming Performance Anxiety

Feldenkrais, Moshe, Awareness Through Movement [Feldenkrais method]

Freymuth, Malva, Mental Practice and Imagery for Musicians

Gallwey, Timothy, The Inner Game of Tennis

Gawain, Shakti, Creative Visualization

Goode, Michael I., Stage Fright in Music Performance and Its Relationship to the Unconscious

Gordon, Stewart, Mastering the Art of Performance: A Primer for Musicians

Greene, Barry, and Gallwey, Timothy, The Inner Game of Music

Greene, Don, Audition Success (see

Greene, Don, Fight Your Fear and Win

Greene, Don, Performance Success: Performing Your Best Under Pressure

Herrigel, Eugen, Zen and the Art of Archery

Hill, Douglas, Collected Thoughts, Ch. 6, “Relaxation and the Performing Musician” p. 54-58

Jeffers, Susan, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

Johnston, W.W., Take Charge: A Guide to Feeling Good; Self-Esteem or Self-Abuse: Where Do You Stand?

Jones, Frank Pierce, Body Awareness in Action [Alexander Technique]

Kaslow, David, Living Dangerously with the Horn: Thoughts on Life and Art

Kauss, David, Mastering Your Inner Game

Kruger, Dr. Irmtraud Tarr, Performance Power: Transforming Stress into Creative Energy

Lehmann, Sloboda & Woody, Psychology for Musicians: Understanding and Acquiring the Skills

LGE Performance Systems: Love the Battle; Wired Right - 2 audiocassettes

Lieberman, Julie, You Are Your Instrument: The Definitive Musician’s Guide to Practice and Performance

Loehr, James, The New Toughness Training for Sports

Loehr, James, Stress for Success

Maisel, Eric, Performance Anxiety

Maltz, Maxwell, Psycho-Cybernetics [self-image psychology]

Mason, L. John, Guide to Stress Reduction

Orlick, Terry, In Pursuit of Excellence

Pelletier, Kenneth, Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer, A Holistic Approach to Preventing Stress Disorders

Porter, Kay, The Mental Athlete

Railo, Willi, Willing to Win (order the English version, not the Norwegian)

Ristad, Eloise, A Soprano on Her Head: Right-Side-Up Reflections on Life and Other Performances

Rotella, Bob, Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect (some useful information about performing under pressure)

Salmon, Paul, and Meyer, Robert, Notes from the Green Room: Coping With Stress and Anxiety in Musical Performance

Samuels, Mike and Nancy, Seeing with the Mind’s Eye [visualization]

Schneiderman, Barbara, Confident Music Performance: The Art of Preparing

Severson, Paul and McDunn, Mark, Brass Wind Artistry

Sibley, Charlotte Whitaker and Tanner, Donald Ray, But I Played It Perfectly in the Practice Room! (incl. 2 relaxation tapes)

Simonton, O. Carl, Getting Well Again [Ch. 11 & 12 are on relaxation technique and visualization]

Triplett, Robert, Stage-Fright: Letting it Work for You

Tubesing, Donald, Kicking Your Stress Habits, a Do-It-Yourself Guide for Coping with Stress

Ungerleider, Steven, Mental Training for Peak Performance

Werner, Kenny, Effortless Mastery (includes CD)

Westney, William, The Perfect Wrong Note: Learning to Trust Your Musical Self

Zi, Nancy, The Art of Breathing (book + video)