See some research that demonstrates that Neurofeedback Brain Training benefits those in the performing arts with improvement in creativity, reduction of performance anxiety, better focus and concentration and improvement of presence. Relaxation is the hallmark of a consummate performer and this form of neurofeedback training teaches your body to relax and remain present.
Today, with the breakthroughs in brain science and Complexity Physics, and the super sophistication of the personal computer, we are able to train the body and nervous system to recognize when it is behaving less than effectively. We can essentially train it to orient toward calm rather than fight or flight! At the turn of the century, professionals like Dr. Berger began to discover that he could measure biological energy fluctuations moment to moment. When we move, think, or have an emotion, micro-volts of bio-electric energy are being utilized to generate that activity. It is no different for the performing artist; it all takes energy and it is either efficient and effective, or it is not which this reads in our performance. And one step further, you are either gathering energy (cortical recharge) or losing it, based on how you are singing.
The science of neuroplasticity of the last 15 or 20 years has undeniably demonstrated that our brain (Central Nervous System) is capable to learning and changing for the better, from it’s own direct experience, or in other words, it can evolve. It is the old ‘use it or loose it’ notion. Research with stroke patients began to uncover that ours brains are highly sophisticated organic systems which can renormalize themselves naturally when challenged, a function of our instinct for adaptability and survival. It began to be clear that even though a portion of the stroke patient’s brain was not functioning, other aspects of their brain could take over that lost function. This was completely new information and it was resisted quite vehemently for a few centuries, just as the Earth not being the center of the Universe was resisted violently. But it is actually true and we can help your brain function better in life. We can teach the brain to remain calm during intense times (like being on stage) as it is clear that relaxation will always provide us access to our best performance.
Neurofeedback field: infancy to present day approaches
The neurofeedback field began to develop in the 1960’s, especially with Dr. Barry Sterman doing research that NASA set up to try to help astronauts. It was discovered that rocket fuel was affecting the astronauts nervous systems and causing epileptic seizures. Sterman was able to prove that seizure activity could be reduced or stopped with neurofeedback brain training. The type of neurofeedback that he used (and the field as a whole still uses is called engrain and migrate. The field went in many different directions using this linear, also called reductionist science. And the practitioners with years of experience with trial and error could be very helpful.
NeurOPTIMAL® Neurofeedback: advanced brain training
Today, we recognize that our reality is not a linear one at all, as so many still hold to, but a non-linear one, based on Complexity Physics. Saying “complex, adaptive system” is another way to explain this phenomenon. Weather patterns, heart rhythm, avalanche activity, crowd behavior, and the human brain are all recognized to follow the same principles of non-linear, dynamics. Healthy chaos is the norm in a non-linear, dynamical reality. Rather than controlling the brain as the more linear forms of neurofeedback do, NeurOPTIMAL neurofeedback brain training works to evoke healthy chaos in the brain by mirroring back to the brain comprehensively its own activity. Of course, only those who have had the experience of this training approach can grok what it can do but many people just intuitively understand that we do not want to control the brain, but want to allow it to become more resilient in the face of stress and a constantly changing world.
How did I discover neurofeedback?
I had worked with singers since 1982 in NYC. When I would find an approach that helped me improve my singing and performing significantly, I would go learn it. After many years of working with singers, and realizing that much of our blocks as singers were based on old traumas that were unresolved, I sought out a technology that would feedback to the brain when it was generating its own suffering but without ever meddling with its super-sophisticated function. This is called non-invasive training. I used EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) for a number of years but found that I could not use it with everyone. Some of us are so sensitive (performing artists often are) that it would drive the problem deeper, cause more suffering before it resolved anything. And the science is a bit fuzzy.
Around 2001, I had a hunch that neurofeedback could be what I was looking for but did not like the way the traditional field pushed and pulled the brain to get change. When I heard about NeurOptimal® neurofeedback and Dr. Val and Sue Brown, I found what I was looking for. This approach to brain training, feeds back to the brain in its now language, information about its perturbation (the root being perturb) activity without ever pushing the brain, ever. The brain, or Central Nervous System, is a complex, adaptive system that can learn from itself and is designed to improve its problem solving capabilities throughout the lifespan, improve its energy conservation ability and improve its resilience since life is changing constantly.
You can’t really get what I am saying until you have tried it first hand. But it is a game changer for sure. Read more about the science.
Rent or purchase a system for your own use
For the past 10 years, I have been training clients and students with this neurofeedback approach. A therapist and trainer for about 35 years, I have worked with hundreds of people over a period of time to help them improve their life in some way. I am essentially doing optimal and peak performance training, reducing suffering behaviors that interfere with a happy and meaningful life, and a wide spectrum of negative symptoms that have otherwise been resistant to change.
TheSingersCENTER represents NeurOPTIMAL® neurofeedback officially and and has for the last 13 years. There are several ways I can help you explore the training. Contact me and we’ll dive into all your options.