How to Break Through to a New Level of Performance

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Want to Know How to Feel At Home Onstage?

How does an ordinary person, flaws and all, bravely step into the light onstage and perform for others? That seems to be the million dollar question. And the answer is that you need to feel comfortable in your own skin as a performing musician. What does this mean? It...

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Are You Practicing Too “Hard”?

A young pianist once told me an unusual story about how he had practiced for his jury exam at music school. The exam was scheduled for 9 o’clock in the morning. So the day before, wanting to be as ready as possible, he decided to practice all night. To keep himself...

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Receive First, Then You Can Give

We musicians are born with the ability to receive immense joy from music. It moves us so much that we feel compelled to get as close to it as possible by actually making music – by producing the sounds with our instruments and our own bodies. And sometimes we feel...

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Want to Know My Mom’s Crucial Message?

Mom and Dad were both very passionate, intelligent people. But so different from each other! I admired Dad for working hard and accomplishing a lot. In his moments of spare time during his 60-hour weeks as the town pediatrician, he read books and medical journals, and...

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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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