This is the second of several articles dealing with what to do on a bad gig night. The first article, Gb-Db-Ab-SQUIRREL!, gave some ideas for what to do when you just can’t focus, and your mind is like a dog that gets distracted by a squirrel. This article is about what to do when your energy level isn’t high enough, or you can’t keep up the energy level.
What do you do when your energy level isn’t up to task for your gig? When you manage to get your energy up for one song, only to find that it has fallen back down for the next?
This is the opposite problem to stage fright or performance anxiety!
One great way to deal with having too much energy is to Center Down. (The Zen of the Stage DVD set includes instructions and an audio mp3 for Centering Down.) Conversely, a great way to deal with not having enough energy is to Center Up.
Without going into great detail, here is a quick overview of how to Center Up:
- Stand in a stable, grounded position.
- Create your intention, such as “I will have positive energy to give generously to the audience for the rest of this set.”
- Start rapid, full breathing for a few breaths while clenching and unclenching hands. Just a few breaths will do it – don’t get dizzy or hyperventilate! Then stop both, and relax your upper body.
- Imagine energy at your Center (your center of gravity – behind and below your belly button), ready to uncoil and release.
- Think about your intention.
- Send energy from your Center up and out, to hit a focus point outside yourself.
Once you have learned to do this, you should be able to do it in 10-15 seconds, so you can actually do it between some songs if there is that much room in the transition.
If you are interested in more detail about how to Center Up, check out pages 98-100 in the book Performance Success by Don Greene, PhD.
Besides Centering Up, here are some other ideas to try:
- Just take a few deep, quick breaths to get some oxygen pumping!
- Set a reasonable intention for your energy level. If you are really feeling down, set an intention like, “I will exude a calm but positive energy.” If you are emotionally fine but just a little low-energy, perhaps your intention is, “I will show the audience my natural enjoyment of this song.”
- Change the expression on your face to a smile. It’s been proven that our facial expressions can cause matching emotions!
- Turn your attention toward the groove of the song, and see if you can tune your body in to it. Borrow energy from the song itself rather than trying to force energy out.
- Red Bull, coffee or tea. These are never my drinks of choice for night time, but they work for some people. Take it easy on these drinks if you are the least bit prone to the jitters – the last thing you want to do is start shaking.
- Mate – A much calmer stimulant than Red Bull or coffee – doesn’t induce jitters, but does wake you up.
I’d like to hear from other readers of this newsletter: what techniques do YOU use when you don’t have enough energy for your gig, or when your energy keeps flagging?
(c) 2010 Adrienne Osborn