Part One: The Mind-Body Connection                            

Chapter One: The Performer’s Challenges                            

Music: A Natural Instinct

Coping with Performance Demands

Imperfections and the Evolution of Performance Expectations

Musical Development and Performance Experience

The Balanced Performer

Personality and Perfectionism


Why Perform?

Chapter Two: Sport Psychology                               

Introduction to Sport Psychology

Parallels Between the Fields of Musical and Athletic Performance

A Brief History of Sport Psychology

Peak Performance, Optimal Performance, and Maximal Performance

Introduction to Cognitive Strategies

Chapter Three: The Connection Between Mind and Body

The Yerkes-Dodson Law

The Left and Right Hemispheres of the Brain

Peak Performance and the Concept of “Flow”

Automatic Processes and Controlled Processes

Chapter Four: “Performance Anxiety”                                   

The Beneficial Effects of Adrenaline

Performance Anxiety

Problems with the Word Anxiety

A Re-Examination of the Yerkes-Dodson Law

Part Two: The Mind                                                                      

Chapter Five: Cognitive Strategies                                        

Psychological Skills Training: An Introduction

Observational Learning and Modeling

Definition of Self-Talk

Historical Overview of Self-Talk

Thought stopping

Creating Positive Self-Talk Cues

Mind Mapping

Chapter Six: Mental Characteristics of Peak Performers     

Mental Toughness


Confidence and Self-Efficacy

Concentration and Attention

“Sound” Focus Versus “Self” Focus

Ristad’s Judges

The Work of Don Greene

Developing Concentration

Dimensions of Focus

Chapter Seven: Mind-to-Muscle Relaxation Techniques       


A Centering Exercise


Research on Meditation


Mindfulness and Metta

Types of Meditation

Practice as Meditation

Systematic Desensitization


Relaxation Imagery


Autogenic Training (AT)

Chapter Eight: Imagery                                                         

Definition of Imagery

Preperformance Imagery

Postperformance Imagery

Characteristics of Effective Imagery

Using All of the Senses

The Importance of Positive Imagery

Imagery Ability: Vividness and Controllability


Historical Overview of Imagery Research

Simultaneous Processing and Sequential Processing

Your “Personal Best:” Performance Enhancement Imagery

Initial Step in Imagery Practice: Relaxation

The Language of Imagery

Benefits of Imagery

Theories of Why Imagery  Works

Imagery Research in Music

Self-Reports of Expert Musicians

Aural Awareness and Audiation

Chapter Nine: Mental Rehearsal                                            

Concentration during Practice

Benefits of Mental Rehearsal

Meta-Analyses of the Research Literature on Mental Rehearsal

Sports Psychology Research on Mental Rehearsal 

The Combination of Mental and Physical Practice

Practical Strategies for Combining Mental and Physical Practice

Research on Mental Rehearsal: Music

Mental Rehearsal in the Beginning Stage of Learning


Learning Modalities

Mental Rehearsal for Memorization

Testimonials by Expert Musicians

PrePerformance Routines

Part Three: The Body                                                                    

Chapter Ten: Muscle-to-Mind Relaxation Techniques           

Types of Relaxation Techniques

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Breathing Practice

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Breathing With Your Music

Progressive Relaxation

Progressive Relaxation Sequences

Chapter Eleven: Stretching                                                                

Benefits of Stretching

An Introduction to Yoga

General Pointers for Safe and Effective Practice


“Playing the Edge”

Yoga Asanas: Types and Benefits

Seated Stretches and Warm-Ups

Standing Poses


Forward Bends


Inverted Pose: Viparita karani, or Legs-up-the-wall pose

Restorative Pose: Balasana

Final Relaxation Pose: Savasana

Yoga Sequences

            Thirty-Minute Daily Practice Sessions

            Five-Minute Mid-Practice Breaks

            Five-Minute PrePerformance Sequences

Chapter Twelve: The Balanced Musician                                          

The Effects of Stress on the Body

Taking Care of Yourself


Overuse Syndrome

Performance Countdown



            Appendix 1: Self-Evaluation Form for Video Recording

            Appendix 2: Anxiety Preview Questionnaire

           Appendix 3: Imagery Scripts