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Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Helps Opera Singers Overcome Performance Anxiety And Hit The High Notes.

May 15, 2008
In our New York NLP Practice I work with a number of clients to help them overcome performance anxiety. Stage fright shows up in many ways that can negatively affect performance, but by using Neurolinguistic Programming techniques it can be conquered.

I worked with a client this past week who shared her concerned about hitting the high notes while performing (and has given permission for me to post this here).

Chrissy is a coloutura soprano, and easily reaches those high D's and E's in voice lessons and while practicing at home and yet was nervous about "going for them" in auditions or in performance.

"Part of me wants to show everyone that I can sing these notes and part of me is frightened and wants me to hold back in case I don't make it or crack on the note," she explained to me.

In the NLP world when one hears the words "part of me this and part of me that..." it frequently leads to an exercise called The Visual Squash.

I asked Chrissy to sit comfortable in her chair and to place her hands in front of her, palms up. I then asked her to indicate to me in which hand was the "part" of her that was frightened of performing the high notes. Chrissy thought for only a split second then smiled and said, "hmmm well it's in this hand" (waving her left hand). "...and in this hand...?" I asked touching her right palm. "Well that's the part of that is singing all those high notes so beautifully" she said.

I then asked Chrissy to take a moment and ask the part of her that was singing the high notes what it's intention was. She answered almost immediately:

* Chrissy: "to show what I can do".
* Me: "and when you have that... what else is there?"
* Chrissy: "Happiness"
* Me: "And when you are showing what you can do and you have happiness, what else is there?"
* Chrissy: "Joy!" (she was beaming by this time)
* Me; " and beyond that...?
* Chrissy: "it's a completeness and wholeness"

By asking these questions I was asking Chrissy's unconscious mind to find the highest intention of this part. Next I would ask the same of the other "part" in her left hand. What I would be looking and listening for was for some kind of "mutual" higher intention of both parts. ...a sort of higher common ground where both parts can move into alignment.
I touched Chrissy's left palm and asked her to ask the part that was nervous of the high notes what it's intention was..

* Chrissy: "Safety...it stop me from being embarrassed"
* Me:" and when you have that....what else?"
* Chrissy: "Comfort"
* Me; "and with safety and comfort...what else do you have?'
* Chrissy: "protection and ease'
* Me: "and what is beyond that?"
* Chrissy: " A sense of wholeness"

We had reached a place where both parts had reached a mutual higher intention.
By this time in the process Chrissy was in trance (this is quite usual when accessing these inner thoughts and feelings). I asked Chrissy's unconscious mind to bring these two parts together by bringing her hands together in her own time. I continued to guide Chrissy verbally using much of the positive language she had used during the session. I noted that Chrissy's hands began to move together slowly and in a jerky fashion which is typical of unconscious movement and exactly what I expected to see.

As Chrissys hand came together in front of her I suggested that she bring this feeling into herself, back into her body, integrating and consolidating these new learnings. I continued the trance until Chrissy's hands were together and over her heart.

I then brought Chrissy back out of trance and asked her how she felt different now. She smiled a broad smile and said "well now I'm ready to wholly sing those high notes with complete joy "

The Visual Squash pattern is a fundamental NLP skill that we teach on our Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner training here in New York.
About the Author
Sarah Carson is a Neuro Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner a Director of The International center for Positive Change and Hypnosis offering NLP Training NLP training in New York and workshops on Overcoming Performance Anxiety Overcoming Performance Anxiety. www.nlptrainingnewyork.com Tel:212-714-3574 email:iphnewyork@aol.com
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