This is an excerpt from Finding Mastery #003 with violinist Kai Kight in which he explains how he trains confidence.


Kai Kight: How do I train confidence? Practicing in different scenarios.

One of the things that hurts us the most – people that perform on any stage – is that we only practice in ideal environments and we’re trying to perform at a high level, but it’s never ideal.

There’s always things that are coming against us, forces that make it more challenging to get in that state. And so for me, any time I perform, I put so many repetitions in but they’re always different.

When I practice music, I’ll practice with other music playing in the background or I’ll start on the wrong note or I’ll try to mess up in a way or start at a point of dissonance and see how I can get back to that.

I’ve never had a perfect performance but I’m confident that I’ll figure it out because I know that at the end of the day something is going to happen…


Michael Gervais: There’s a deep trust that you’re talking about. So you put yourself in a lot of different scenarios so that you can trust yourself in whatever is going to come next. And that maybe what I’m hearing is that you’ll trust, that you can adjust to whatever comes because you’ve seen so many frames, so many different looks at this thing that you’re interested in doing. So it’s expanding that comfort zone to be able to [thrive] in the uncomfortable.

That requires effort to do that.


Kai Kight: It’s easy to say, “Ok if I do this this and this it will lead to X.” Right.

So if I practice two hours a day, play this, it will lead to that. That’s easy.

But what’s harder is saying, “If I keep myself off balance right what will happen then?”

What happens if you kind of practice keeping yourself off balance being ready to adjust. You create an energy, you create confidence.

So you’re not creating a static piece of art, you’re creating energy. Right? And that’s what people feel.

And so for me when I practice now it’s like, ok whatever I practice, it doesn’t matter if I don’t have the energy there and so how can I train for that?


Listen to the full podcast here.


Contemporary Composer |

Kai Kight has a diverse background that has been fueled by creating and making. As a Kleiner Perkins Design Fellow and Mayfield Fellow, Kai got an early start in entrepreneurship. Kai composes his own music using an innovative style on the violin which blends classical technique with rhythms and textures from popular genres such as hip hop and jazz.