9 Tactics to Battle (Music) Exam Stress. (Part 1)

My student Dylan, who in addition to studying with me, also studies at Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, asked me how I dealt with exam stress back when I was in music college. He also asked me how I get to be so disciplined and focused.

The tools and tricks that help you more efficiently deal with the stress of college exams, are the same tools that will help you get through any situation that is highly stressful, or demanding, or important in your life.
As such: the following information really pertains in a broader sense to how you can get the maximum out of your life in general.

Following reveals some insights that might help you deal more effortlessly with stressful situations as a musician or music student.

1) Health and Nutrition.

a. Eat 1 apple a day
b. Eat 1 banana a day
c. Eat something every 3 hours, small portions.
d. Drink 1 glass of water every hour.
e. Avoid sodas, coke, juices.
f. Even avoid coffee if you can. Some people swear by it as a means to wake them up more quickly in the morning or boost their energy. I never ever drank coffee: I also never needed it and belief I could think more clearly because of not drinking it.
g. Listen to your body and get the sleep your body needs.
h. Take naps: they are very good for you. Limit naps to max 30-40 minutes. If you nap longer, you will end up feeling drowsy and more tired than you were before the nap.
i. Take vitamins and supplements.
j. Go for walks to empty your mind. The cool air outside will do you good.

2) Working out:

a. 1 hour a day
b. 3-4 times a week.
c. And at least 2 of these work outs should be weight training
d. Working out results in your energy being up and better distributed throughout the whole day. I used to think of as working out as “something that kept me away from practicing guitar”. Now I think of it as an activity that boosts my productivity and results during my guitar practice time. More oxygen to the brain from working out, leads to more efficiency, deeper concentration and better flow during practice. You get more out of your practice time, at a higher quality, and with less resistance. You also add a couple of years to your life, which you can use to practice guitar non stop. ☺

3) Education:

a. Read 1 hour a day. EVERY DAY.
i. This is NOT a waste of time that keeps you away from being able to practice guitar for an extra hour.
ii. That 1 hour you read, SAVES you time in:
1. Making lesser bad decisions that don’t have to be resolved because they are not happening. (Because reading makes you better educated)
2. It makes you a more inspired musician because you attain more different influences that can color your art.
3. Reading changes you. It makes you a different person. Every book you read, adds something to you. The depth and value that reading adds to you, also adds extra dimensions to the music you will come up with.
b. Gives you more self-discipline. Reading books on time management and books written by motivational people (i.e., Tony Robbins, Eckhardt Tolle, Manuel Ruiz, etc.) gives you tools and knowledge that help you to focus more and that help you be more disciplined.
c. Gives you more energy: (especially if you read biographies of successful business people, time management books, spirituality books, motivational speakers, etc… )
One of the great things you get out of reading books written by highly accomplished, energetic people, is that you feel your own energy and excitement getting worked up. It is hard to feel down and drained when you read Tony Robbins’ book “Awaken The Giant Within”. The energy of happy, energetic people, can be very contagious. That energy boost you get out of reading their books, makes you feel prepared to tackle anything, and leads you to see more possibilities you did not see before.

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