Health and wellbeing

Performance Coaching and Mentoring at the Conservatoire is designed to focus on the mental aspect of performance, which is often overlooked and considered a ‘taboo’ subject.

However, we can easily be undone and overcome by our own fears and doubts which, for many, manifest as performance anxiety that can quickly become an obstacle for performers at all levels and in many fields such as sport and music.

Students work with Max Garrard, a professional French horn player who is a member of the Orchestra of Opera North where he plays 4th Horn.  Before this he worked as a freelance musician in London where he played regularly with many of the major orchestras and opera companies as well as other orchestras throughout the UK.   

Through Max’s work as a performer, he developed a fascination with this ‘other side’ to performance.  Why do some players find it more difficult to perform under pressure than others?  Why do we feel anxious about performing, and how can we learn to deal with these feelings of anxiety in a positive way so that we can perform our best under pressure? 

Many (most) performers of all abilities go through these uncomfortable feelings of anxiety, but we can learn to deal with them positively!

Performance Coaching and Mentoring normally takes the form of individual sessions, usually lasting 30 minutes (but can be longer or shorter if desired) in which students work with Max to tailor their individual needs, wishes and goals, and can work to find strategies that can help them begin to manage pressure situations.  In conjunction with these individual sessions, students can choose to work in a group setting where they have the opportunity to perform in a ‘simulated’ performance situation and try to implement the work developed in their individual sessions.  These group sessions are a unique opportunity to ‘practice the pressure’ and to share ideas, offer feedback and become part of a supportive team of performers, all without being assessed.

Although both individual and group Coaching and Mentoring sessions are available, it is completely up to students how they wish to approach the subject.