‘Mind-Body Awareness’ is Carmel Liertz’s approach and model for developing and gaining music performance confidence – based on sport psychology principles. Sport psychology’s successful performance history over many decades acknowledges and demonstrates the multidimensional aspects of ‘mind-body connections’ involved in performance. These aspects include:
– psychological skills required for performance
– health and exercise psychology
– mind-body states for peak performance
– mental and physical training programs
– performance nutrition guidelines.
This modern approach develops musicians’ awareness of the mind-body as an inseparable entity – how the mind interacts with the body and vice versa. The resultant awareness assists one’s mental attitudes for practice and performance, enhancing one’s technique and musicianship, while engendering respect for one’s mind-body as a unique, ‘finely-tuned instrument’. Just as for any instrument or voice, one’s mind-body needs attention and care to operate optimally. Within performance institutions too, it is now acknowledged that maintaining health and wellbeing is an essential part of being a successful performer in today’s stressful, competitive world.
Practising Carmel Liertz’s integrative set of strategies before, during, and after practice develops the many physiological/psychological aspects necessary for mindful practice and confidence in one’s ability. Those who have used this training conscientiously for some weeks have typically stated at 4-5 weeks, ‘I feel confident!’ (meaning about their performance). Positive changes are noticeable in body language and in the person’s demeanour and personality. (Singers have traditionally always been more aware of mind-body connections than their instrumentalist colleagues.) The synergistic effect with all six strategies being used, strengthens attention and focus simultaneously with inner peace and wellbeing, enabling the ‘inner ear’ and mind to be focused and secure. For musicians, the strength of one’s ‘inner ear’ has always been a trademark of musicianship and musical mastery, often referred to by Heinrich Neuhaus, the acclaimed Russian performer-educator. Other types of performers, presenters and college students benefit in the same way.
This strategies model has been used as discussion material for Bachelor of Education coursework entitled, ‘Guide to Adult Learning and Assessment’ at Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia. While health professionals and medical researchers have advocated such strategies for general health and wellbeing, this particular set of strategies has a special role to play in preventing and assisting depression. This is because each one of the strategies has the power to positively change brain chemistry, which in turn affects how the body reacts. The ‘Mind-Body Awareness’ model was presented at the 2000 Australian Psychological Society’s Conference for ‘Depression: prevention, research and treatment’. Psychologists at this conference declared that, ‘This holistic strategies program is also suitable for non-musicans.’