All the World’s a Stage

“First of all,” I said, “how are you doing with this virus situation?“. The person on the other end of the phone was a customer service representative at my Internet provider company. I had no idea who she was apart from that. But I knew she was one of us. One of the...

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Arising from Our Longing to Connect

I’ve been working hard for a few weeks to bring our new program to life—the online summer program for the Art of Practicing Institute. We knew we had to make it happen. But how could we turn this phenomenal in-person program, normally held on the beautiful green...

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A Time for Gentleness

Last Thursday, my brother sent me an article about the coronavirus that stunned me. I canceled my plans to leave on Saturday for a meditation retreat in Vermont and am doing my retreat at home. By Friday I had asked all my students to switch to online lessons. Then...

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Memorization or Intimacy? Laura’s Story

This story describes how our anxiety about having a memory lapse in performance can be overcome by cultivating our natural coordination and our natural responsiveness to sound“I was the kid who sat at the piano for three hours playing and singing every day when I was...

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Unlocking Musical Treasure: Evan’s Story

At a recent lesson with me on a virtuosic piece by Liszt, Evan saw that he was creating unnecessary tension in his arms by holding his elbows out. As soon as he he let them relax, he began playing with tremendous freedom, and brilliant energy leapt out of the piano....

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Beginner’s Mind: Georgia’s Story Begins

This story describes how a musician can begin to develop a healthy instrumental technique by having an open mind and focusing on simple, comfortable movements, rather than overexerting physically or mentally. Although the story is about a beginner, all of us, no...

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Freeing the Body: Laura’s Story

This story describes how simple body awareness can improve your piano technique and transform your playing. Laura was quite tired from lack of sleep due to a challenging event in her family. But she showed up at last week’s live online workshop anyway, ready to work...

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Was I Nervous? My Story

This story describes my own recent experience with overcoming performance anxiety before an important presentation. Thursday evening I had the wonderful opportunity to address a group of pianists in a workshop at Steinway Hall, on a topic that has great meaning for...

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