Become the performer
you dream of being.

I help musicians transform their playing so they can connect more powerfully with their audience.

Maybe this sounds familiar . . .

You’ve had fine training and worked hard.
But still you feel there’s something missing in your playing.

You haven’t succeeded in taking it to that next level.
It’s frustrating.

You long to feel more free and confident onstage and to enjoy performing more.
Maybe you’ve wondered if you have what it takes to be a more powerful performer.
Or if you’ll ever feel like you really belong up there in the spotlight.

Now instead of this . . .

Imagine feeling liberated
onstage—not worried about
what your audience thinks of
you, but just on fire to give them
a vibrant, expressive
performance.

A performance that comes
straight from your heart—from
your vulnerable, authentic self,
and your deep desire to
communicate.

A performance that gives your
audience an unforgettable
experience of their shared
humanity.

Imagine feeling liberated
onstage—not worried about
what your audience thinks of
you, but just on fire to give them
a vibrant, expressive
performance.

A performance that comes
straight from your heart—from
your vulnerable, authentic self,
and your deep desire to
communicate.

A performance that gives your
audience an unforgettable
experience of their shared
humanity.

You can learn how to do this.
You can learn a way of preparing for performance that brings out the best in you onstage.
And the preparation itself can bring you a new level of joy that feeds into your performing.

“Before studying with Madeline I struggled for years with debilitating performance anxiety and frustration. She enabled me to recapture my earlier love for music and performing and to raise the level of my playing to an astonishing degree.”

–Tim Mueller, pianist, alum of Eastman School of Music

“The techniques Madeline teaches are magical. I have better tone and a kind of clarity that is beyond anything I’d ever imagined. I didn’t realize that I could still make this kind of transformation and progress.”

–Tang-mei Shieh, pianist, alum of Manhattan School of Music

Learning to perform with freedom and confidence is a process that reveals
who you really are as a musician and person.

If you’re ready to discover new possibilities in your playing by breaking free of habits that are holding you back, take the first step now, and set up a complimentary diagnostic session.

How does this work?

My teaching combines five essential elements. You learn how to

Eliminate excess physical effort

Use your body efficiently to maximize both power and sensitivity.

Release mental tension

Use mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and increase focus so you can accomplish more in practice sessions.

Deepen your responsiveness to sound

Use awareness techniques to strengthen your visceral connection to sound, so you can be fully present in your performances.

Create rhythmic vitality

Organize notes according to fundamental principles of pulse and timing to create a strong sense of organic momentum.

Connect to your heart

Strengthen awareness of your deepest motivation to perform: this will bring you true confidence and self-trust onstage.

Eliminate excess physical effort

Use your body efficiently to maximize both power and sensitivity.

Release mental tension

Use mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and increase focus so you can accomplish more in practice sessions.

Deepen your responsiveness to sound

Use awareness techniques to strengthen your visceral connection to sound, so you can be fully present in your performances.

Create rhythmic vitality

Organize notes according to fundamental principles of pulse and timing to create a strong sense of organic momentum.

Connect to your heart

Strengthen awareness of your deepest motivation to perform: this will bring you true confidence and self-trust onstage.

Master Piano TeacherHi. I’m Madeline.

I’m a pianist, educator, and author, and I love helping musicians take their playing to a whole new level and give it to the world.

Through my transformative approach – the Art of Practicing and Performing – each musician learns to identify what’s specifically preventing them from expressing themselves freely. Then I work with them on a set of proven techniques to break free of these limitations so they can perform with more confidence and expressive power.

I’ve helped hundreds of musicians, including seasoned concert artists, take their playing beyond what they imagined was possible.

How did I develop this approach?

I started out on track for a concert career, and in my 20s I performed as soloist with the San Francisco and Denver Symphony Orchestras.

But at 29 I had a crisis of confidence. I was getting close to the age limits for the big piano competitions, and I desperately wanted to take my career to the next level. Many people suggested that I play a New York debut recital. So I auditioned for a grant to fund the debut… and it was a disaster. Walking out to play for the judges, I knew I didn’t belong there. When I started playing my hands felt out of control, and I made some bizarre mistakes. I wanted to disappear.

This painful experience made one thing obvious: If I was going to advance in my career, I needed a whole new kind of relaxation and confidence onstage.

A couple days later, I remembered that I’d tried mindfulness meditation the previous year. It didn’t seem to do anything for me back then, and I didn’t stick with it. But now, after this devastating audition experience, I had a vague memory that meditation had calmed me down, and I started thinking that it might bring me the kind of relaxation and confidence I wanted as a performer.

Did it ever.

Meditation helped me relax and focus, and that led me to discover a completely new approach to practice and performance. My playing and teaching radically improved so that my whole musical life became much more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Over decades of teaching I’ve honed this approach to help not only pianists but other musicians as well open up their playing and change their musical lives.

If you’re ready to discover new possibilities in your playing by breaking free of habits that are holding you back, take the first step now, and set up a complimentary diagnostic session.

Here’s to more expressive freedom in your performances!

Madeline Bruser piano teacher

“Madeline is a teacher with a rare gift. There are many teachers out there who can teach you the craft, but Madeline succeeds in making you grow as an artist and a human being.”

–Xose Miguelez, saxophonist, alum of Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Vigo, Spain

If you’re ready to discover new possibilities in your playing by breaking free of habits that are holding you back, take the first step now, and set up a complimentary diagnostic session.

The Performing Beyond Fear Exercise audio

“While what every musician wants most deeply is to communicate without holding back, the moment of performance can be the hardest time to remember how to do that. This exercise allows me and my students to tap into something even bigger than our fear – the goodness and power of the human heart.”

–Nora Krohn, violist, New York

The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart

“Give this book to any musician you love and to any person who loves what music does for them and for the world.”

–Richard Stoltzman, clarinetist

Here's more info:

These workshops will give you
  • A reliable method for practicing with more ease and focus
  • The ability to play with more emotional intensity yet less physical tension
  • Greater access to your deepest musical potential
  • Stronger stage presence
  • A potent three-step technique for unlocking your communicative power and transforming stage fright into confidence.
How many workshop groups are there? What happens in them?

The Basic Group meets twice a month for 90 minutes, and each session includes 10 minutes of either mindfulness meditation, or the Performing Beyond Fear exercise, or Focusing practice – a mindfulness practice in which you explore your inner bodily experience of emotional energies. Each of these instruction 10-minute periods includes brief instruction. Following the mindfulness practice are a group discussion and a 45-minute master class with me for one of the participants. In between sessions, group members can stay in touch through a secret Facebook group, where you can share experiences and ask questions. All sessions will be recorded, so if you miss a session you can view the recording.

The Premium Group, with a maximum of 3 participants, also meets twice a month for 90  minutes, if one person plays or sings in the session, or for two hours,  if two people play or sing in the session. All Premium members can also participate in the Basic Group. As with the Basic Group, mindfulness practice begins the session, followed by group discussion and a master class session with one of the participants. In these more intimate Premium Group sessions, participants each work with me at their instrument once a month, and the work and discussions can be more personal and in-depth. This group will also have its own secret Facebook group to stay connected between sessions, and all sessions will be recorded for later viewing.

What does the Basic Group cost? What will I get for that price?

The Basic Group costs $50 per month, and includes the following:

  • Brief practice of mindfulness meditation, the Performing Beyond Fear exercise, and Focusing practice (brief instruction included)
  • Discussion with a maximum of 12 participants, plus our faculty
  • The opportunity to sometimes work with me in one of the master class sessions.
  • Membership in the group’s secret Facebook group, where you can share experiences and ask questions of each other between sessions.
  • Access to recordings of each session
What does the Premium Group cost? What will I get for that price?

The Premium Group costs $145 per month, and includes the following:

  • Participation in the Basic Group
  • The three mindfulness practices we do in the Basic Group (meditation, Performing Beyond Fear, Focusing).
  • Discussion in a more intimate group with a maximum of 3 participants and myself, allowing more personal and in-depth conversation
  • The opportunity to work with me at your instrument once a month
  • Membership in this group’s secret Facebook group, where you can share experiences and ask each other questions between sessions
  • Access to recordings of each session
How do I know which group is for me?

The Basic Group is for you if

  • You’re curious to try a new approach to practicing and performing
  • You’ve heard about API and would like to experience it a little
  • You want the community support – both live and online – of other musicians who are willing to explore practice and performance on a new level
  • You’ve already participated in API programs or lessons and would like to continue the experience.
  • You like the idea of occasionally working on your playing or singing in a master class setting, or you want to learn through observing others in that setting

The Premium Group is for you if

  • You’re ready to work more often and in depth with the API approach
  • You like the idea of sharing personal challenges and breakthroughs with one or two other committed people with whom you can explore all the musical and emotional facets of your playing or singing
  • You want to explore specific, current issues in your playing or singing in each monthly working session with your instrument
  • You’re performing professionally or oriented toward that goal
  • You’re a teacher of professionally-oriented performers or amateur, and you want to deepen your own understanding for their benefit as well as your own
When do the groups meet?

The Basic Group meets two Thursdays each month at 1:00 PM Eastern Time. You can join the group at any time.

Dates for early 2020 are:

January 16 and 30
February 13 and 27
March 5 and 12
April 2 and 16

The Premium Group meeting times are TBA and based upon the availability of the participants.

Payment/Refund Policy
  • The credit or debit card you use to pay for your group will be automatically billed monthly, according to the first date you use it for your payment.
  • You can participate live in as many sessions as you are able to, and you may also watch the video recordings of any sessions you have paid for.
  • After the first three scheduled sessions, you are responsible for each month’s payment, and sessions cannot be refunded.
  • If you withdraw from your particular group (Basic or Premium) within its first three scheduled sessions, payments you have made for any sessions you have not participated in, or for which you have not already been sent the video, can be refunded.
  • The deadline for withdrawing from your particular group is midnight Eastern Time on the day after the last session you have paid for.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have about the workshops – including what will happen in them and which group is for you. We want everyone to feel they belong – that you’re part of our community and that you have the best possible experience.

If you feel ready to join us, we’re excited to include you.

Madeline Bruser signature

Contact Madeline

5 + 8 =