Fearless Performance by Jeff Nelsen

Just Play...

Do you know what time is iiiiiiit!!??
I wrote to you in a newsletter a few months ago about my experience of hearing those words yelled by a DJ in a club in Cuba. Those wonderful words mean to me that it is time to play!
I know, it's always time to play.  But seriously, how often do you? How often do you let go, and just play for play sake. This is the deepest most powerful gift of having a 4-year-old! He reminds us to get present, and play.
The performers we admire most, often remind us how simple a great performance can be. Those performers are present and have done the backstage work so that they can be in a state of play during their performance.

With my obsessive goals of learning and teaching how to consistently give a Fearless Performance, I've spent much time considering priorities.  In my preparation work, I often switch around my priorities.  Sometime excellence is the most important thing, while other times I focus more on creating a performance that I believe would be an enjoyable experience for an audience.  
By the time I'm walking on stage, I've looked into excellence and enjoyment enough to have made a habit of both, so I can walk on stage and just play...
I played a 20-minute horn concerto (James Beckel's "Glass Bead Game") five times in April, including a few live online broadcasts. I invested a large quantity and quality of work into these performances.  I believe I was in a wonderful state of "Play" during my performances because of how I mixed my work between excellence and enjoyment.
While considering enjoyment, be sure to consider both your enjoyment and your audience's enjoyment.  Both matter...so your decisions are based on how well you know your audience. Successful performance depends first on how you define your success goals.
Task for today - Just play.
If you're a musician, set a timer for 10 minutes and just make sounds...no critique. Sure, play your best if you want.  Or not.  Play for the enjoyment of playing.  No good.  No bad.  Let go. Just play.
Take note, so to speak, of how it feels to just play, and mix more of that into your serious excellence work.
If you're studying fearless performance for your business ventures, speak to someone today about your business and your products or services in the most most playful manner you can imagine.  Grab someone you deeply trust, and I dare you to be too playful with what you usually take very seriously.
Not only do you not have to be serious to take something seriously, but you don't have to take something seriously all the tiiiiiiiime!!!
Play your part!
Please check out the video links I've included below.  They can inspire very playful states of mind that you can take to your next serious work session.
I remember the first time my sister opened the case to her borrowed bassoon.  She didn't even know how to put the thing together.  After some fumbling around, she had it together and got ready to make some noise.  My grandfather said, "ok, now play like you've never played before!"
Her eyes got all scared, yet even more childishly excited, as she bubbled out an excited, "I haven't ever played before!"  
Then she giggled such a free giggle, and just played.
Go now and just play...for the first time.  Embrace this free spirit of play today.  It really can be the first time, because it really is.  What you do in a few moments from now really is the first time EVER that this version of you, at this age, on this rotation of the earth, with whatever this audience is for you, with this purpose, has ever performed what you're about to share.
Enjoy!  You might as well...because you're doing it to just play.
Thank you, and congrats...

Jeff Nelsen
Jeff Nelsen


Leave a comment