Taking ownership of your confidence

by Jan 5, 2018

I used to think of confidence as something you either have or you don’t have, but in fact confidence is something you ‘do’, or more to the point often ‘don’t do’…to varying degrees. Let me explain.

It was somewhat of a lightbulb moment for me when I realised that confidence is something you have to generate for yourself. It is not something that simply appears if you are good enough or simply work hard. Confidence is something you need to actively practise and build constructively into your whole creative process. It is something you have to take ownership of and consciously integrate it into your physical, emotional and mental habits.

Pay attention to your level of confidence, and take charge of it. Be clear what sort of confidence you want to be practising into your process, and keep building it.

The more you ‘practise’ confidence, the more it will be a natural and easy part of your process, and with confidence comes the liberation of your self-expression. So bring it on, I say!

Try this:

Explore your current level of confidence in your creative pursuit by noticing what level of confidence you create within. Give it a number from 1-10, 1 being low confidence and 10 being high confidence. Don’t just guess at this, really investigate and observe intimately your level of confidence.

Now experiment with consciously generating a different level…try both a lower level of confidence and a higher level – just for the fun of it…and notice what effect it has.

Ask yourself what you noticed, what you learnt…are you able to generate different levels of confidence simply by observing your confidence more intimately?

By doing this exercise, hopefully you will gain some insight into your own ‘ongoing’ level of confidence – the level you ‘practise’ unconsciously every day. With this new insight, you can now choose to develop the level of confidence that you want…be proactive and learn to generate the confidence that is already within you.

Confidence is liberating…pay attention to it, and let it grow and flow!

Silver linings the second time around

Having performed the complete cycle of Beethoven’s violin sonatas in February 2020 with American pianist Kate Boyd, we had originally planned to perform the cycle again later that year. But of course, COVID had other plans for us and the soonest that we could rearrange for our second cycle was for 10-17 January 2023 – almost 3 years later.

With the first of these concerts now just a day away, I’ve been reflecting on the new opportunities that presented themselves because of the enforced ‘change of plans’, and the silver linings have been numerous and rather wonderful.

Building Confidence

Radio New Zealang Concert asked me for advice around confidence, and in particular if it can be built.

I believe it can.

You can read what I had to say about it all on their website: Confidence Tricks – some tips for musical performance.

Effort, Age and Survival  

It is over a month since my last blog post and with the 6 weeks that have passed, we are well and truly in mid-summer here in Central Otago.

I have been systematically working through the 10 Beethoven violin sonatas, regularly inspired by the awesome landscapes outside my window, and accompanied by my trusty sidekick – Coco the cat.

It turns out one of the biggest current challenges is physical fatigue.

A reset from the inside out

Having previously performed 6 of the 10 Beethoven violin sonatas more than 20 years ago, it has been a lovely process coming back to the familiar, as well as discovering the new. Primarily due to the work I have been doing over the last 2 years getting to the nitty-gritty of my performance philosophies, these incredibly pristine works of Beethoven are proving to be an absolute gift for me.

Where to from here?

The next three months are super exciting for me, with 3 concerts confirmed in Mid-Feb 2020 for the performance of all 10 Beethoven sonatas within three days…and all in my new gorgeous neighbourhood of Central Otago.

It’s quite possible that I am naïve to the full enormity of this project – but one thing is for sure, sinking my teeth into these works again is a true treat, and the magnitude of the project is just what I am now needing at this point in my life.

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