CENTERING AS A PRE- PERFORMANCE RITUAL
Designed in the 1970’s by renowned sport psychologist Dr. Robert Nideffer Dr. and adapted for performing artists psychologist Dr. Don Greene:
The goal here is to channel your nerves productively and direct your focus in extreme situations; in short to achieve optimal and peak performances under pressure.There are seven steps to this activity and at first you may feel the process slow, but with one or two weeks of daily practice, you will notice a difference (some notice a difference in a couple of days)
Step 1: Pick Your Focal Point
Select a fixed point in the distance, somewhere that feels comfortable. This point could be anywhere, wherever be sure this focal point is a few degrees below your eye level. It will serve to minimize distractions
Step 2: Form Your Clear Intention
A clear intention is in essence, a specific assertive, declarative goal statement of what you intend to do when you step out on stage, how exactly you intend to sound, how you will move, how you will look, What, precisely, do you intend to communicate to the audience and what energy and passion will you possess.
NOTE: All intentions are to be stated in the positive”I will”, I “am” and with no negatives “I don’t want to”, “I will not”, “I hope to”
Step 3: Breathe Mindfully
Breath in and out from your diaphragm to reverse the stress response and activate your parasympathetic nervous system. This is not relaxed breathing – this is focused and very present where you feel, see, hear and even taste your breath and you body.
Step 4: Scan and Release Excess Tension
Notice tension in any muscles,be aware of of your body positioning – adjust and release. Scan your muscles from head to toe as you continue to breathe slowly and deeply, one muscle group at a time, releasing tension on the exhale.
Note: This take time and may need to be done more than a couple of times.Be as detaled and complete in ths step as possible as you will be able to retain much of this ability through muscle memory during a performance and will feel much more in control.
Step 5: Find Your Center
There is a specific location in your body where energy tends to congregate. This is your center of gravity and balance once found and focused upon you will feel calm and reassured.Note: If you are not use to this concept
Step 6: Repeat Process Cues
Focus on what exact sounds,feelings,movements,articulation, appearance,volume, intonations and textures you want to produce. Do not hyper focus on minute details. Name the elements such as: smooth bowing, light fingers, even shifts, fluid, powerful, calm, or easy – Hear, feel, and see yourself performing exactly as you wish.
Step 7: Direct Your Energy
With a quick internal scan search for all of the energy you feel in your body, direct and feel it gathering at your center.Now, direct that energy upwards and outwards, through your torso and neck, into your head, and blast it out through at the focal point you identified in Step 1. This is the conduit for your music, your voice, your movements and the energy that will convey your clear intention to the audience.