With his experience as a teacher and music practitioner, Clive Stocker offers his expertise and self-help tips for those looking to improve their performance quality. The suggestions in his book range from simple breathing exercises to step-by-step approaches to becoming more confident on a small or grand stage.
The book is comprised of 31 chapters of illustrations and explanations of methods, and at the end of many of the chapters, it summarizes the explained method into an ordered list of steps. After chapter 31, you will find two chapters with references and acknowledgements.
While I do believe Mr. Stocker has some good, helpful approaches and thoughts to becoming a more confident performer and musician in his book like…
“The real truth is that you will never be like James Brown and nor should you be! We all need to be the best version of ourselves we can be on stage but we can borrow actions and ideas from other performers that we know will work for us.” (Page 111)
…I do take issue with a couple of major things about Mr. Stocker’s work:
1) One of the big things proposed about this book is that it offers quick fix solutions for your lack of performing confidence. While the book does have some easy-to-try exercises, I think it’s a very hard thing to claim that your approaches will provide easy fixes for performers across the board. Yes, they might have proven successful for some, but for many performers – young and old – there are just some things that will take time for them to work through in order to become more comfortable/confident in the spotlight.
2) To me, there ‘s a very strong underlying theme of hypnotic approaches in Mr. Stocker’s book, as well as connecting to your feelings/imagery-that you have the power within your mind to find the confidence you need. This is also very prevalent in his “Guided Meditation“ CD.
I am not a proponent of spiritualistic type approaches to music or life in general, nor have I been successful overcoming obstacles – specifically with learning and performing piano music – believing I can do it through myself. On top of being well prepared, I have only found complete confidence and peace during a performance when I quote these verses to myself from the Bible:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
-1 Peter 5:7
“In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence…”
So in conclusion, I do believe Mr. Stocker is quite knowledgeable when it comes to enhancing your performance skills, but I don’t always agree with the avenues he takes or teaches to becoming a “confident performer.”
To learn more about Clive Stocker’s material visit his website: Confident Performer.