Do it for Them, Not You: How to Undergo a Performance Makeover w/ Pastor Tim Conkling

Published on: 28th March, 2020

"If you help enough people get what they want, you'll get what you want." --Zig Ziglar

That quote came to my mind as I was listening to my friend, pastor and mentor Tim Conkling share his experience w/ performance anxiety and how he overcame some of his own struggles with it in his younger years.

Tim is an ordained Presbyterian pastor. But he has an extensive history and interest in the trumpet community. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, receiving his performer's certificate before entering full-time ministry.

He also gave Yours Truly some valuable encouragement and coaching when I decided to make music my full-time craft in 2007. Well, he reached out to me a couple of weeks ago and said he wanted to do a podcast on performance anxiety, and I readily agreed.

Here's what he shared:

Tim's Performance Makeover...11:13

  • Never practice, always perform
  • Ungracious performers
  • Practice vs. performance mentality
  • Kill the ego when you perform
  • Perform any chance you get

Break the physiological and psychological cycle...19:40

  • Dry mouth, sweaty palms
  • Inderol inhibits the sympathetic nervous system
  • Gradually wean off the beta blockers
  • Identity is tied up with your performance
  • "Identity is not tied to my playing"
  • Enjoy the moment, even your mistakes

What's at the root of performance anxiety?...27:05

  • We don't understand the ego
  • Our identity gets tied into our playing
  • A big ego can give you lots of courage or lots of fear
  • Quit being selfish; become selfless and self-forgetful
  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

How to stay in the parasympathetic state (if beta blockers aint yo thang)...31:55

  • Deep breathing
  • Neck and shoulder massage

What teachers are really looking for in auditions (it's not how well you play)...37:12

Tim's take on universities and conservatories in dealing w/ performance anxiety...42:37

Resources mentioned:

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle


Want to pick Tim's brain on performance anxiety? Send him an email! tim@timothyconkling.com

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About the Podcast

Trumpet Dynamics
The Story of the Trumpet, In the Words of Those Who Play It
Young or old. Professional or amateur.

You never miss a day of practice... or you're coming back to rediscover the joy you once knew playing your horn.

For those who love and are fascinated with this crazy mass of metal tubing that no one can seem to master -- or is wise enough to not admit it if they have.

This show covers all of the Trumpet Dynamics.

About your host

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James Newcomb

James Newcomb is a former/current/former/current trumpeter and founder of Committed Media, LLC. He currently resides near Hanoi, Vietnam with his wife, and is eagerly awaiting returning to his home in Virginia to live near his 7-year old son.