Confident Performing: Laura’s Story

This story shows how a musician can turn performance anxiety into performance power, using a combination of great piano technique, strong mental focus, and above all, a deep belief in themselves. Laura is preparing for a recital in a few days. She had come to the Art...

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Bill’s Story: An Artistic Breakthrough

This story shows how our primary gift as musicians—our intense receptivity to musical sound—can increase musical expressiveness and improve physical coordination. Bill had been working hard for a long time to release tension in his hands, arms, and shoulders. He video...

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Sandra’s Story: A Piano Technique Breakthrough

This story describes how a musician can acquire one of the fundamental elements she needs for confident performance: A reliable instrumental technique. Sandra’s previous teacher had given her pieces that were way beyond what her technique could handle. She showed up...

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When We Hide Things

When I was six or seven, my mother started giving me more toast than I wanted at breakfast every day. Because I didn’t know how to tell her that I didn’t want all of it, every morning I threw one piece of toast behind the refrigerator. I felt so clever and gleeful...

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Unlocking the Energy in Musical Transitions

I had a tough time transitioning back to New York City after teaching the Art of Practicing Institute’s summer program this year. I’d spent the week on the spacious, green campus of Edinboro University, with its peaceful lake in the middle inhabited by geese and...

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The Power of Being Ordinary

by Tracy Stuchbery A performing experience I had recently as a choral conductor has led me down a path of pondering the ordinary. Strangely enough, the performance itself was, in a word, extraordinary. I have never felt more alive, more in command, more connected to...

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Nora Krohn on Self-Love

Dear readers, This wonderful article by Nora Krohn was first published here on January 25, 2016. Her amazing heart and mind come through with fresh impact today, and I am honored to republish it. I hope you enjoy it! Madeline Bruser On Self Love By Nora Krohn A few...

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Decluttering Your Practicing

We’ve had a spectacular spring in New York, unlike any I can remember – intoxicating flowering trees followed by the unbelievable boldness of green everywhere, magically invading the masses of gray city buildings. Seeing this vibrant display of natural beauty, I can...

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How to Realize Your Dream

I woke up Saturday morning after dreaming I had discovered a whole new place at the south end of Manhattan, where people lived on quiet streets near a wide, curved beach that looked out on a vast expanse of water, no land in sight. It was spacious and peaceful, and...

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Do Less, Feel More

“150 minutes a week!“ the doctor said. “It’s very important.“ He was talking about how much aerobic exercise I need to get. So I committed to five vigorous, 30-minute walks a week in Riverside Park. It seemed easy enough—I love the park, and it’s just a block away...

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