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   As I said in my ‘Top 10 Drum Pro Insights’ and also in ’10 Ways to Overcome your Insecurities’, you can’t become anything you haven’t first seen in your mind.

   As drummers we need so many tools in order to sound good under any circumstances. Pressure, tension, insecurities, stage fright, are all very common elements of being musicians.

   We are performers, and as such it’s normal to experience these scenarios when the stakes are high.

   The first antidote to self-doubt is preparation. If we know we have done our homework, then we are less likely to feel any lack of confidence whatsoever.

   That basically means we have done our years of diligent practice, our 10.000+ hours of study. And we also know the setlist inside out, and the band is well rehearsed.

   But there are times when is spite of this we are still not 100% sure about our ability to perform well. That’s when tools like NLP can come in handy.
   NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming, and it’s a part of psychology that, to put it simply, takes the methods naturally used by top performers, in a variety of disciplines, and turns them into effective techniques, ready for anybody to use.

   What has been discovered is that all the best artists, athletes and musicians tend to spontaneously see themselves giving a perfect performance, and feeling the emotions of that outcome, before the actual situation happens.

   This works because of the scientific fact that the brain, as it turns out, can’t distinguish between a real and a vividly imagined event.

   By imagining it, they are telling their unconscious what to expect and how to feel in the real situation. And they are doing it in the only language it understands, the language of emotions.

   When that message is rehearsed for long enough, that’s what comes up automatically when they are actually there in the middle of the experience.

   What’s interesting is that we all are very good at this already: when we feel insecure it’s often because we used the exact same mechanism, but in a negative way.

   We unconsciously rehearsed the worst case scenarios in our heads, and the associated emotions, and that’s why they come up. So the key is to learn to use it consciously and to our advantage.

   In fact this simple idea can be extended with great results to routines, visualizations and mental rehearsals. Which can very easily be implemented in order to perform at our best and take our level up a notch.

   Here we are going to focus on a simple visualization. This technique is only going to take one minute of your time and just a little effort and concentration.

   It’s a mental rehearsal where we imagine our performance going perfectly, and we see ourselves being strong and confident and in the flow.

   Here is a free PDF version of this article and the guided visualization:

   Let’s say you are practicing, or you are at rehearsal, or recording in a studio, or playing a show. And let’s say that you are right in the middle of one of those times when you don’t exactly feel at your best.

   Maybe you are about to play a difficult song that worries you, or you are having trouble playing a certain beat, or you are just feeling insecure and uncomfortable.

   You can do this exercise while at the drums, even without closing your eyes if during a live show.

   And once you’ve mastered it, it will literally take 30 seconds to feel the boost.



“Close your eyes and breathe slowly, and deeply. A calm and relaxed inhaling and exhaling. Stay focused for a few seconds on breathing con- sciously.
Now, visualize the scene from the outside. Imagine you are looking at yourself, and notice how secure you appear, the intense look in your eyes and the confident posture.
You are playing perfectly, with and air of calm certainty that exudes energy and surrounds everything: the colors, the sounds of the music, the intensity of the emotions.
Seeing it from outside it’s evident that with such unshakable yet laid-back conviction it is impossible to make a mistake, or to sound bad.
Notice how distant it feels to have any worries, how tiny they are, how it doesn’t make any sense to have ever felt insecure.
You are infused with a surge of satisfaction and relaxed sureness as you perceive and observe everything turning out exactly like this, as you always wanted.
Everything is flowing naturally, spontaneously, and you are one with the music, the band, the audience.
You feel creative, fulfilled, at peace and unstoppable. Now take a deep breath, open your eyes and start playing again.
And notice the difference, no matter how big. It’s just the beginning of what you can explore and grow into one of your strengths, overtime.”


   The rules to make it work are simple. Yet, precision is very crucial in doing this kind of exercises.

   They only work if you do them right (which is why many people who don’t do visualization correctly claim that it doesn’t work):

  • The first few times do it in a quiet environment, away from the drums. Relax for a few moments, and take a few deep breaths before closing your eyes. No distractions and total focus on the exercise.
  • Add as many details as possible. The more details, the more the brain will believe it’s actually happening, and true, in the present moment.
  • Focus on the feelings that the ideal outcome you are rehearsing in your mind gives you.
    Feel it being true right now, as if you are experiencing it in this very moment. The stronger the emotions you feel, the more effective it is.
  • Do it every day. It’s just one minute, but as drummer we know how important repetition is in order to make something work effortlessly.
    For better results extend the practice time: if you do 5 to 15 minutes you are going to see great changes.
    Also, you can do it a few times during day. The more often, the better the improvements.

   Of course you can apply this exercise to any situation, even not musical.

   A very important thing to say, is that it’s not about becoming obsessed with these techniques. It’s not about becoming perfect, and feeling always good – which is actually impossible.

   It’s about the process of optimizing our chances of feeling good. And about gradually setting our inner thermostat a bit higher.

   But there will be times when no matter what we do, we are not gonna feel our best. It’s ok! Don’t fight with it, surrender to those few times and enjoy all the times it works.

   If you are interested in learning more about how to become the best version of yourself, check this out:

‘Actualized Drummer – Paths To Reach Your Full Potential’


   Related resources:
Music Equals One Divided By Ego



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