MSA.21 Results

Mental Skills Audit Results

What Does This All Mean?

Whether it’s a big audition or an exposed solo, it can be difficult to be ourselves and perform freely when the adrenaline kicks in.

A high score in this area suggests that you’ve figured out how to manage your nerves, and start off each performance feeling pretty confident and focused on what you are about to do.

But by no means does a low score mean that there’s no hope. On the contrary, it just indicates that you may not have learned how to regulate your stress response and achieve a more optimal physical, mental, and emotional state in the last few moments before walking on stage and playing the first note.

If you have difficulty quieting your thoughts and settling yourself down before beginning your performance, this would be a good place to begin.


Practicing can sometimes be a complete mystery. Why is it that sometimes we sound great in the practice room and seem to improve by leaps and bounds, while at other times, it seems that the more time we put in, the worse we get?

A high score in this category suggests that you are effective and efficient with your time in the practice room, with a good understanding of how to structure and use your time for maximum gains. It also suggests that you are able to demonstrate on stage what you’ve worked on in practice, from being confident about your memory to being ready for the pressure of high-stress performances.

A low score means that you may not yet have learned (or figured out) what effective practice methods entail, and that the difference between practicing for learning and practicing for performance may still be a little unclear.

If you feel that you aren’t getting as much out of your practice time as you should be (i.e. things aren’t “sticking” as well as you’d expect), this may be a good module to explore.


We all have those special days where we feel confident and believe in ourselves. But there are plenty of days where we doubt ourselves, question everything, and wonder how we’re ever going to make it in music.

If you have a high score in this area, it doesn’t mean that you’re uber-confident, 100% of the time. It’s just that you’ve developed an understanding of how to remain positive and stay in a productive mental space even when facing challenges and setbacks.

A low score suggests that you may at times be your worst critic and enemy, and not be quite sure how to dig yourself out of a hole when you stumble into one (or how to avoid these downward spirals of doom to begin with).

If you feel that your confidence goes way up or down from day to day, and seems to be something that you have very little control over, you may find this module to be very relevant.


There’s a tendency for us to play much more cautiously and tentatively on stage. Even though we know we’ve had no problem nailing all the difficult spots in the days leading up to our performance. So what gives? How can we play as fearlessly on stage as we do in rehearsals?

If you have a high score in this skill, you are either naturally inclined to, or have trained yourself to become more comfortable taking risks on stage. Either way, you’ve figured out how to build trust in this approach, and know just how far you can safely go.

If you have a low score, there could be a few things holding you back from playing more freely and courageously on stage.

If playing out and really letting loose is a challenge, especially in high-pressure situations, this would be a good skill to explore.


It can feel like our thoughts are racing, jumping and scattering amongst all sorts of unhelpful and crazy places as we wait offstage for the moment when we must go out and can no longer turn back. Unfortunately, all the doubts, fears, and worries are not so conducive to performing up to our abilities. So how can we quiet things down and get into a more performance-optimal mental space?

A high score in this skill suggests that you are able to quiet your thoughts on cue, shut off the critic, and stay present and composed in the moment.

A low score means that your brain may seem to have a mind of its own in performances, making it difficult for you to take control and settle things down.

If you find that you’re unable to quiet the critic and control the crazy thoughts in your head during performances, this may be a good place to spend some time.


Mental quiet is nice, but we don’t exactly want our minds to be blank and empty while performing either. Once we’ve gotten our mind to chill out a tiny bit, we must figure out how to focus all of our attention on the task at hand. This is one of the real keys to getting in “the zone” – that magical place where peak performances happen and everything just seems to flow effortlessly on stage.

If you have a high score here, you probably have a pretty clear idea what you need to think about in order to play your best, and are able to stay immersed in “the music” and avoid thinking about how others might feel about your performance.

A low score suggests that you may not have spent a lot of time choreographing and practicing the “mental scripts” of your performance – i.e. what is most helpful to think about during each section of your piece, whether it’s an easy section or challenging one.

If you’d like to find out what top performers think about when performing optimally, this lesson will help you get into the zone, using a few specific strategies that may change your experience of performing from this point forward. Yeah, I know that sounds a tad overhyped, but just trust me on this one.


Missing shifts and cracking notes are no fun. But what’s even less fun is getting so hung up on these, that the rest of our performance takes a nosedive. So maybe we can’t prevent all mistakes, but we can certainly become much more resilient and adept at dealing with those rough days that inevitably happen – even to the very best musicians.

A high score suggests that you are able to keep yourself from dwelling on the past, and are good at moving on, no matter what happens.

A low score indicates that you may have a tendency to beat yourself up in the moment, and have difficulty letting go of something that failed to meet your standards. And that it can be difficult to stay optimistic and positive when you’re having a difficult day on stage.

If the level of your performances seem to be overly dependent on how the very beginning of a piece goes, and you have difficulty hanging tough on those days when the universe seems to have it in for you, this will be a useful module to explore.