Summer Program

Mindfulness, Confidence & Performance: A Transformative Program for Musicians  

Mallory Lake, Edinboro University

The Art of Practicing Institute’s annual summer program, Mindfulness, Confidence & Performance, takes place at Edinboro University, in Erie Pennsylvania. It offers instruction in mindfulness techniques, discussion groups, and music workshops, culminating in a final concert. The program has attracted musicians from across the US, Canada, Iceland, and Israel, including current students and graduates of the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, and San Francisco Conservatory.

          July 25 – August 1                         Edinboro University, Erie, PA

To musicians who want more confidence in performance:

No matter how much you prepare for a performance, when the moment comes to step into the light onstage, you may lack confidence and fail to shine your brightest. Passages you’ve practiced hard may even fall apart, and you may not know why, or how to do better the next time. You may wonder how some musicians rise to the occasion and radiate confidence in performance—how that scary moment in the spotlight brings out their very best.

You may have tried many things to achieve confidence in performance—pushing  yourself to practice extra hours, or repeating tough passages countless times in a joyless, desperate way to gain technical security. Maybe you’ve tried giving yourself energetic pep talks backstage, or even taking pills before a performance to slow down your racing heart and to prevent your hands from shaking.

The problem in each of these approaches is that you are run by fear. It is fear and desperation that drive musicians to overexert, to over-think, or to cover up physical symptoms with medication. And as long as you approach performing in this way, you remain a victim of your fear instead of learning to rise above it and master it. You never find out how proud and powerful you could really be in performance.

To master your fear you need to strengthen your presence of mind—to free your mind of distraction and judgment. Then you can use your mind to focus on what really matters: your connection with your instrument, with the music, and with yourself—with your deepest musical feelings and your innermost motivation to perform. When your mind is fully engaged with all of these things, you can then fully engage with your audience. You can fulfill your musical gift by giving it to others in performance.

You can strengthen your presence of mind through a practice called mindfulness. Mindfulness means noticing what’s happening in the present moment—both within you and around you. It includes observing the details of how you use your body with your instrument, and focusing intently on how sounds affect you. It also includes tuning into your body before you practice, and tuning into your deep intentions before you walk onstage. As you practice such awareness, your instrumental technique, your musicality, your stage presence, and your communicative power all grow stronger. In fact, they begin to outweigh your fear, and you become fearless in performance.

Since 1985, I’ve helped thousands of musicians fulfill more of their potential by using mindfulness techniques—in workshops, summer programs, and private sessions, and through my highly acclaimed book, The Art of Practicing. And since 2006, I’ve helped hundreds more musicians find powerful confidence onstage through my unique mindfulness technique, the Fearless Performing Exercise. You, too, can learn these techniques to bring out more of the music that is within you and to give it fearlessly to your audience.

Mindfulness, Confidence, and Performance is a weeklong summer program designed to guide you toward a new level of confidence in performance. In workshops with and without your instrument, you will learn simple, potent techniques that will transform your practicing and performing. The non-competitive environment, daily discussion groups, and ample practice time will enable you to absorb what you have learned and deepen your understanding.

Even if you’ve never done mindfulness techniques before, this program will give you the instruction and experience you need to apply these techniques directly to your preparation for performance. Whether you are a concert artist, an aspiring performer, or a dedicated teacher, Mindfulness, Confidence, and Performance will open your mind to surprising, new possibilities, and take you to a whole new level of confidence onstage.

I invite you to join us on the beautiful campus of Edinboro University for this exciting, transformative week this coming summer.

Madeline Bruser

You’ll come away with 

  • 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


 “Practicing this way cuts to the core rather than working on the surface. I have much more ease in playing; tension is falling away.”

Cathy Baerg, flutist, Ottawa, Ontario, Faculty, Carleton University

“It made me become a more genuine person, and that extends to my musicianship. I felt more at ease being myself onstage.”

Nora Krohn, violist and teacher, New York City

“My confidence has soared.”

Martha Sanders Brandt, pianist, Florida

“I played tremendously better while practicing, with more energy and way less  physical tension. . . . The world needs this.” 

Roger Farwell, classical guitarist, Master of Music, Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore


“This work is magical. I have better tone and a clarity that is beyond anything I ever imagined. I didn’t realize I could still make this kind of transformation and progress.”

Tang-mei Shieh, pianist, graduate of Manhattan School of Music

“Doing the three-step technique before each performance quite honestly transformed my experience of performing.  I actually found myself enjoying the moment, and feeling like I could lose my ego to some extent and just ‘give’ the music to the audience.”  

Felicity Corrie, cellist, Cambridge University Alumna



Program Director

Madeline Bruser, pianist and author of The Art of Practicing, will be the Program Director. She will teach the main music workshops and will co-lead the discussion groups each day. Click here for her biography.

Assistant Teachers

Three Assistant Teachers will work with three selected non-performing participants in a second set of workshops:

Stephen Burns, trumpeter. Artistic Director, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Former tenured professor at the Indiana University School of Music, visiting lecturer at Northwestern University and Amici della Musica in Florence.

Daniel Burdick, tubist—Tenured Professor of Tuba, Edinboro University, Erie, Pennsylvania.

Mary Duncan, pianist—Minneapolis/St. Paul

You can enroll in the program at one of two levels of participation:

1. Performing Participants

Six musicians will be selected by application to play or sing in the daily music workshops. Each performing participant will have three individual sessions with Madeline Bruser, and all other participants will observe the sessions. In each session you will learn mindfulness techniques for playing with less tension and more expressive freedom and authenticity. Pianists will also receive some instruction in easeful posture and movement. All performing participants take part in the daily discussion groups, and will be invited to perform in a public concert on the last night of the program. CEU credits available.

2. Non-performing participants 

As many as twenty musicians may enroll as non-performing participants. Non-performing participants may be musicians at any level of study or expertise. If you choose this option, you will learn all of the techniques in the program and will have the opportunity to apply them in daily practicing with your instrument. You will also take part in the daily discussion groups, which will be led by Madeline Bruser. CEU credits available.

Three of the non-performing participants will be selected to participate in workshops with the Assistant Teachers. These teachers all have significant prior experience with the techniques taught in the program. Each non-performing participant who is selected to work with one of these assistant teachers will receive guidance in two 45-minute sessions.  Click below to register as a non-performing participant.


Housing and Meals

Participants will stay in dormitories on campus, and meals will be served in the campus dining hall. Refrigerators are available in dormitories. Special diets can be accommodated by the dining hall with advance notice.

Traveling to Erie, Pennsylvania

Erie, Pennsylvania has an airport, train station, and bus station. For directions to Erie by car, plane, train, or bus, please contact the Administrative Director of the program, Daniel Burdick, at

Program Fees

Performing Participants: $850, plus housing and meals. Some scholarship assistance will be available. Please indicate on your application if you will need a scholarship.

Non-performing Participants: $400. Click below to register as a non-performing participant.


Housing and Meals Costs

The combined housing and meals cost will be between $450 and $600. Exact cost will be posted soon.

Dates and Times

The program will begin on Saturday evening July 25 at 8:00 pm. It will end after a celebratory lunch on  Saturday August 1.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact the Program Director, Madeline Bruser, at


Click below to register as a non-performing participant.