Summer Program 2020

Mindfulness, Confidence & Performance:
A Transformative Program for Musicians

Cosponsored by Edinboro University

Are you often frustrated in your practicing and performing?
Do you feel stuck in habits of tension or anxiety?
Do you sometimes wonder if you really belong up there onstage?

What if you could change all that.

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

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

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 actually possible. You really CAN do this.

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

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.

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

Join us in this dynamic weeklong 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.

For 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

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

I invite you to join us on the beautiful campus of Edinboro University for this
rich and exciting week in July.

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

You’re invited. Spaces are limited.

Application for Summer Program Master Class 2020

Application for working with an Assistant Teacher

Application for General Participants



Madeline Bruser, pianist and author of The Art of Practicing, is the Program Director. She teaches the master classes and co-leads the discussion groups each day with an Assistant Teacher. A group of experienced Assistant Teachers and Teachers-in-Training work with selected participants. We are delighted that trumpeter Stephen Burns will return in 2020 as Assistant Teacher.

Program Format

Morning sessions: Mindfulness practices and group discussions

Afternoons: Practice time and master classes

Master classes:

  1. Six people will play in the master classes, working with Madeline on mindfulness techniques and movement approaches to help them perform more expressively. Master class participants are invited to perform in a public concert on the last night of the program. Click here to apply.
  2. Three other musicians will work in two 45-minute sessions each with Assistant Teachers or Teachers-in-Training. Click here to apply.

Additional study options:

As many as 15 musicians, at any level of study or expertise, may enroll as general participants. You can also arrange one or two private lessons with an Assistant Teacher or Teacher-in-Training for an additional fee. Click here to apply.


Room and board: $450.


Master class participants: $950.

Participants working with Assistant Teachers or Teachers-in-Training: $600.

General participants: $400.

Please note: Although tuition covers only 50% of the program expenses, some scholarship assistance will be available. Payment plans may also be available. We also encourage participants to raise funds through

Getting to Edinboro

Edinboro is a 20-minute drive from Erie, Pennsylvania, which has an airport, train station, and bus station. Uber and Lyft are available to drive you from the airport to the dormitory. For directions to Erie by car, plane, train, or bus, please contact the Administrative Director of the program, LeAnne Wistrom at

Accommodations and meals

All participants stay on campus in air-conditioned dormitories. We cannot accommodate family members or partners. Meals are served in the campus dining hall. Refrigerators are available in dormitories, and special diets can be accommodated by the dining hall with advance notice.

Start and End Times

The program begins with an introduction on Saturday evening, July 18, at 8:00 pm. The final lunch is at 11:30 on Saturday, July 25.

Refund policy

You will receive a full refund if you cancel your registration before June 18. After that, the following percentages will be applied:

By June 18th 75%

By June 25h 50%

After June 25th 0% refund

Are you thinking of coming to this extraordinary, transformative program? Then please feel free to contact me with any questions.

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

Madeline Bruser

Here's more info:

These workshops will give you
  • A reliable method for practicing with more ease and focus
  • The ability to play with more emotional intensity yet less physical tension
  • Greater access to your deepest musical potential
  • Stronger stage presence
  • A potent three-step technique for unlocking your communicative power and transforming stage fright into confidence.
How many workshop groups are there? What happens in them?

The Basic Group meets twice a month for 90 minutes, and each session includes 10 minutes of either mindfulness meditation, or the Performing Beyond Fear exercise, or Focusing practice – a mindfulness practice in which you explore your inner bodily experience of emotional energies. Each of these instruction 10-minute periods includes brief instruction. Following the mindfulness practice are a group discussion and a 45-minute master class with me for one of the participants. In between sessions, group members can stay in touch through a secret Facebook group, where you can share experiences and ask questions. All sessions will be recorded, so if you miss a session you can view the recording.

The Premium Group, with a maximum of 3 participants, also meets twice a month for 90  minutes, if one person plays or sings in the session, or for two hours,  if two people play or sing in the session. All Premium members can also participate in the Basic Group. As with the Basic Group, mindfulness practice begins the session, followed by group discussion and a master class session with one of the participants. In these more intimate Premium Group sessions, participants each work with me at their instrument once a month, and the work and discussions can be more personal and in-depth. This group will also have its own secret Facebook group to stay connected between sessions, and all sessions will be recorded for later viewing.

What does the Basic Group cost? What will I get for that price?

The Basic Group costs $50 per month, and includes the following:

  • Brief practice of mindfulness meditation, the Performing Beyond Fear exercise, and Focusing practice (brief instruction included)
  • Discussion with a maximum of 12 participants, plus our faculty
  • The opportunity to sometimes work with me in one of the master class sessions.
  • Membership in the group’s secret Facebook group, where you can share experiences and ask questions of each other between sessions.
  • Access to recordings of each session
What does the Premium Group cost? What will I get for that price?

The Premium Group costs $145 per month, and includes the following:

  • Participation in the Basic Group
  • The three mindfulness practices we do in the Basic Group (meditation, Performing Beyond Fear, Focusing).
  • Discussion in a more intimate group with a maximum of 3 participants and myself, allowing more personal and in-depth conversation
  • The opportunity to work with me at your instrument once a month
  • Membership in this group’s secret Facebook group, where you can share experiences and ask each other questions between sessions
  • Access to recordings of each session
How do I know which group is for me?

The Basic Group is for you if

  • You’re curious to try a new approach to practicing and performing
  • You’ve heard about API and would like to experience it a little
  • You want the community support – both live and online – of other musicians who are willing to explore practice and performance on a new level
  • You’ve already participated in API programs or lessons and would like to continue the experience.
  • You like the idea of occasionally working on your playing or singing in a master class setting, or you want to learn through observing others in that setting

The Premium Group is for you if

  • You’re ready to work more often and in depth with the API approach
  • You like the idea of sharing personal challenges and breakthroughs with one or two other committed people with whom you can explore all the musical and emotional facets of your playing or singing
  • You want to explore specific, current issues in your playing or singing in each monthly working session with your instrument
  • You’re performing professionally or oriented toward that goal
  • You’re a teacher of professionally-oriented performers or amateur, and you want to deepen your own understanding for their benefit as well as your own
When do the groups meet?

The Basic Group meets two Thursdays each month at 1:00 PM Eastern Time. You can join the group at any time.

Dates for early 2020 are:

January 16 and 30
February 13 and 27
March 5 and 12
April 2 and 16

The Premium Group meeting times are TBA and based upon the availability of the participants.

Payment/Refund Policy
  • The credit or debit card you use to pay for your group will be automatically billed monthly, according to the first date you use it for your payment.
  • You can participate live in as many sessions as you are able to, and you may also watch the video recordings of any sessions you have paid for.
  • After the first three scheduled sessions, you are responsible for each month’s payment, and sessions cannot be refunded.
  • If you withdraw from your particular group (Basic or Premium) within its first three scheduled sessions, payments you have made for any sessions you have not participated in, or for which you have not already been sent the video, can be refunded.
  • The deadline for withdrawing from your particular group is midnight Eastern Time on the day after the last session you have paid for.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have about the workshops – including what will happen in them and which group is for you. We want everyone to feel they belong – that you’re part of our community and that you have the best possible experience.

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

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Contact Madeline

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