Healing the Old Story: Geri’s Story

When I met Geri by chance, she was in her mid 60s and had hardly played the piano for 46 years. Her childhood teacher was very critical and discouraging, and she thought there was something wrong with her and that she just didn’t belong in music at all. But she had...

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A Great Performance: Bill’s Story

Four weeks after an artistic breakthrough, in which he had discovered the power of being receptive to the beauty of each musical sound, Bill came into his lesson saying that he’d had more breakthroughs. He said his hands had relaxed a lot, and that he was hearing even...

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Playing From the Heart: Lee’s Story

This story describes how you can overcome stress and performance anxiety by tapping into the power of your heart. Lee arrived at his lesson last week after a full day’s work at his office. He took a few minutes to settle down and warm up a bit. But as he started...

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Belonging on the Stage: Laura’s Story

This story shows how personal bravery overcomes performance anxiety and uplifts an audience. After an amazing breakthrough at her last online workshop session, Laura joined the workshop again a week later, performing a major work from her program in the concert hall...

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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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