Want to Dissolve Your Dread of Memory Lapses?

For years, I had a recurring nightmare that I had to sightread a concerto with an orchestra, and that as I stumbled through it in total panic the zipper in the back of my dress started to split open. It was the classic performance anxiety dream of a musician. But in...

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Pianists: What Would You Do With a Magic Wand?

Imagine you had a magic wand that would instantly create the one change you want most in your playing — what single change would you wish for? A more reliable technique? More freedom to let go and express yourself? Less anxiety about performing? Whatever it is, it's...

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Want to Feel Less Stress and Make More Music?

There's so much stress in our lives lately! And as musicians, practicing our instrument can be part of that stress. We struggle to master a hard passage. We worry about being ready for the next concert or audition. We fall into feeling inadequate to meet the complex...

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What Is Mindfulness for Musicians?

When I wrote my book, The Art of Practicing, I was careful to barely mention mindfulness or meditation, even though they were the basis of every chapter. It was the 1990s, and I didn’t want my readers to think I was some kind of hippie or weirdo and to not take the...

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What Happened to the Magic?

What Happened to the Magic?

Remember when you fell in love with music and were so excited to play it yourself? It was magic, and you wanted to live with that magic every day. At first it was exhilarating – you loved touching your instrument and producing beautiful sounds. And then . . . at some...

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Do You Trust Yourself as a Performer?

Many musicians don’t trust themselves to perform the way they want to – with physical and emotional freedom, and with deep confidence. But it turns out that there are specific ways to build belief and trust in yourself at the piano – and in front of an audience. It's...

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How to Believe in Yourself

Every pianist who comes to me for help with their playing is struggling in one way or another with not believing in themselves enough. Isn’t that what we’re all up against, as we navigate the ups and downs of our lives? Maybe you’ve had a teacher who discouraged you,...

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Your Heart Is in Your Hands

I once zoomed in on Peter Serkin’s hands with binoculars from the balcony of Carnegie Hall. He was playing an extremely virtuosic contemporary piece that had his hands running all over the keyboard. As usual in watching any great instrumentalist, I sat there stunned -...

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