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What is your WHY?

It’s easy to focus on all the things that can be hard about performing. 

  • Learning a new song that might be outside our comfort zone. 

  • The vulnerability of sharing ourselves with an audience. 

  • Feeling uncomfortable feelings in the body resulting from performance anxiety. 

  • Swirling thoughts in the mind: fears that we are not enough, that people won’t like what we are doing, that we might forget the words or the tune, that our voices or skills as an instrumentalist might not be there for us in the way that we would like. 

  • Completing a performance and knowing that we didn’t do our best.


I could go on. And on. And I’ve taught entire workshops where we deconstructed all these things, gave airtime to our fears, examined and understood them. And this is necessary in order to recognize when they arise and take steps to overcome them. But in my upcoming workshop, I’d like to examine the other side of the coin.

What is your WHY?

WHY do we keep saying yes to performing, in spite of our fears? What is it about singing, playing, listening to music, that captures our hearts and inspires us to put ourselves on stage in this vulnerable way? What is the magic that we feel?

We all have different answers to these questions. Here are a few of mine:

  • When I perform, I feel seen for who I am.

  • I love the sensation of singing in my throat, in my body.

  • I love how present I feel when I sing, how it focuses my mind to a single point.

  • I love how performing connects me with other people in a shared emotional experience.

  • I love how performing connects me with a song, the person that wrote it, all the people who have performed it throughout time, all the people who have listened to it throughout time.

  • For me, singing is a way to play as a grownup: playing with the melody, with my voice, with the microphone, with the band.

  • I love discovering what my voice can do, and the pleasant surprises that come from hard work.

  • I love relinquishing control, allowing the song to take me on a journey, thejoy of discovering where I end up.

  • I love the feeling when a song is flowing through me, where my sense of self dissolves and I am merely a vessel for the music.


This is just a partial list!

Does this mean I don’t still occasionally experience jitters, lack of confidence, self-judgment, and fear? Definitely not. 

HOWEVER, the more I am able to connect with my WHY, the more courage I have to face whatever is getting in my way to reveal all the amazing gifts of performing. 

The more I connect with my WHY, the more I can tolerate uncomfortable feelings in my body and mind, regulate my emotions, and step out of my own way to let the music flow through. 

The more I connect with my WHY, the more I can connect with the magic of music. Instead of being afraid of things I can’t control, I can choose to be curious, to be delighted by them, and to surrender to the journey.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, my friends.

And now, I put this question to you:

What is YOUR why?

If you are curious, take out a journal or piece of paper and start brainstorming. Don’t edit, just let the pen keep moving and see what comes out. You might be surprised at what you discover. And please leave a comment below about what you learned!

Want to go deeper and learn how your WHY can help you in your journey as a performer? Join us for my upcoming workshop, Find Your WHY: A workshop for singers and instrumentalists seeking to connect with their deepest inspiration.

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