2020 Transformative Online Summer Program

This program will not be offered in 2021.

Connecting Mindfulness, Confidence & Performance

Application deadline is Friday, July 3.

Do any of these sound like you?

You’re often frustrated in your practicing and performing.
You feel stuck in habits of tension or anxiety.
You sometimes wonder if you really belong up there onstage.

You can change these things.

Imagine transforming your approach so that you can reliably perform with freedom and confidence.

See yourself performing with the expressive power you’ve always wanted.

Picture yourself supported in this transformative journey by an extraordinary community of like-minded musicians.

People just like you, who are all discovering their real performing potential in a supportive group process.

This is really possible.

The Art of Practicing Institute’s summer program has changed the lives of musicians from every corner of the globe.

And this year we’re excited to be offering this transformative program online.

Each musician in our community is, like you, endowed with a musical gift they want to share.

And like you, they’re looking to overcome challenges so they can tap into their true capabilities.

Kirk FergusonFor the past 12 years I’ve had a bottle of beta blockers in my cupboard, for those high-pressure solos, to make sure my hands don’t shake. But by the end of the API summer program, I was onstage without beta blockers and there was no shaking. My breathing was fine, my knees were fine, and I was having fun! That had never happened before in a solo performance. I’ve let go of the need to prove myself, and it’s given me the freedom to just stand up there, play my instrument, and say what I want to say.”

–Kirk Ferguson, Assistant Principal Trombonist, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Application deadline is Friday, July 3.

Join us in this dynamic six-day intensive to …

  • Learn and explore a proven set of mindfulness techniques you can apply to practice and performance.
  • Release physical tension while increasing expressive intensity in playing.
  • Discover how to shift your focus from self-consciousness to generosity onstage.
  • Connect to a confidence you never knew you had.
  • Develop vibrant stage presence in your performances so you can connect more strongly with your audience.

Make these powerful new discoveries:

New ways of practicing your instrument can help you trust your body and mind in performance, giving you more physical and expressive freedom onstage.

Daily support through mindfulness practices and group discussions can open you up both musically and personally, bringing you more joy and confidence as a musician.

A stronger connection with your natural musical impulses can liberate you from habits and concepts that have been holding you back.

Pam Smitter“It’s impossible to encapsulate the magnitude of the transformative experience of the API summer program with a few words. My body has begun to unwind years of muscular tension and clenching, and I can breathe more easily and freely. My musical soul has begun to resurface, and I’m reconnecting to the joy of being a creative, artistic musician, both physically and emotionally. I am so incredibly grateful.”

–Pamela Smitter, Principal Trumpet, West Michigan Symphony

See Young SongBefore I came to the API summer program, I felt very alone with music, not understanding why I was so afraid about performing. The teaching and community at this program helped me understand and appreciate myself, so I was able to put all of my own colors into the music. Madeline helped me realize that the connection between music and the player’s spirit is more important than playing perfectly, and I gave the best and happiest performance I’ve ever played on the closing concert.”

–See Young Song, flutist, Korea

Application deadline is Friday, July 3.

Special features for 2020:

  • General participants are invited to each have a 10-minute coaching session on a passage to help them play it with more ease and expressiveness.
  • Simultaneous master classes to choose from, according to your instrument and interest.
  • Small peer gatherings in breakout rooms will happen each day to help you further share and deepen your learning experience..

Come be a part of this extraordinary gathering.

Miloro VagniniThe API summer program was a revelation. It’s mind-blowing how it teaches you to unite everything that’s already in you – your personal story, your musical ideas, and all the things you’ve felt in your life – it unites who you are with what you dream of doing. And now, because of this program, my dreams have been transformed into plans. I feel confident that I can make them into a reality.”

–Miloro Vagnini, trumpeter, Italy

Nora Krohn“In my experience, there is nowhere else in the world where musicians can openly explore what it really means to do what we do, at every level, in a place of acceptance.”

–Nora Krohn, violist, New York

Master Class spots are now filled. Please apply if you would like to be on the waiting list.

Still accepting applications for general participants.

Application deadline is Friday, July 3.

Application for Summer Program Master Class 2020

Application for General Participants


Madeline Bruser, piano, author of The Art of Practicing, Founding Teacher
Stephen Burns, trumpet/winds, Certified Teacher of the Art of Practicing
Tim Mueller, piano, Certified Teacher of the Art of Practicing
Kirk Ferguson, trombone, Associate Teacher

Have questions about if this program is right for you? Let’s talk.

The application deadline is Friday, July 3.

If you’re ready to join us, we’re excited to include you.

Madeline Bruser signature

Get all the details here ...
Program Format (Eastern Time)

Due to receiving many applications, we’ve added a special Welcome and Introductions gathering on Sunday, July 19, 1:00 – 2:15 PM Eastern. Those unable to attend can view the recording and introduce themselves at the first discussion group on July 20.

The program is designed as a complete, transformative, six-day experience. Please plan on attending all sessions listed below:

Monday, July 20 through Saturday, July 25:
7:30 AM Eastern, July 21, 23, and 25: Educators Circle for those east of the Atlantic.
8:30 AM Eastern, July 21 – July 25: Peer gatherings for those east of the Atlantic
9:30 AM Eastern: Mindfulness practices, including mindfulness-awareness meditation, the Performing Beyond Fear exercise, and Focusing.
10:30: Discussion group
11:30: Meal break
12:30 First master class session, for entire group
1:15: Breakout groups transition
1:20 Simultaneous master classes
2:05 Break
2:20 Simultaneous master classes
3:05 Breakout groups transition
3:10 Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Educators Circle/Tuesday, Thursday: Short sessions for general participants with teachers/Saturday: Capstone Event
4:10 Breakout groups transition
4:15 Small peer gatherings for those west of the Atlantic
5:00 End of sessions for the day

Master class participants:

Master class participants may be musicians of any instrument. Each master class participant will play in three sessions, working on mindfulness techniques and movement approaches to perform more freely and expressively. Waiting list open. Applications deadline Friday, July 3. Click here to apply.

General participants:

As many as 50 musicians, at any level of study or expertise, may enroll as general participants, attending master classes, and taking part in morning mindfulness practices and discussions. They are invited to each have a 10-minute laser coaching session on a passage with an appropriate teacher, to play it with more ease and expressiveness.Application deadline Friday, July 3. Click here to apply.

Cost and Scholarships:

We are aware that in the current global situation, the finances of many musicians are strained. Therefore, we have kept our program fees as low as possible. In addition, we have a scholarship fund to ensure that no one will be refused participation in the program if they cannot pay the full fee. Please indicate on your application form if you need scholarship assistance, and if so, what amount. The full fees are as follows:

Master class participants: $345. Scholarships available.

General participants: $95. Scholarships available.

Payment plans may be available. We also encourage participants to raise funds through gofundme.com.

Start and End of Program (Eastern Time)

For musicians in North America, the program begins at 9:30 AM Eastern, Monday, July 20. For those across the Atlantic, the smaller discussion groups, as well as time to practice your instrument, will take place in the mornings and early afternoons instead of in the evenings.

The program will end completely at 5:15 PM Eastern on Saturday, July 25.

Refund policy

You will receive a full refund if you cancel your registration before June 20. After that, the following percentages will be applied:
By June 20, 75%
By June 30, 50%
After June 30, 0% refund

Contact Madeline

FREE Download

The Performing Beyond Fear® Exercise!

Enter your name and email address to receive Madeline's free download The Performing Beyond Fear® Exercise. You will also receive her free newsletter, Performing Beyond Fear.

You have Successfully Subscribed!