Ahimsa (Non-Violence), Competition, and Inspired Performance

When I entered Eastman as a Freshman in the fall of 1985, I needed a tool to survive being plunged into an intimidating sea of talent. In the first few weeks I was lifted up high by a wave (Principal

If Music is Your Religion, Here’s How to Worship

Think of one of your most amazing musical experiences—a concert, rehearsal or your private practice—and you’ll soon realize that music brought you into some form of bliss. Wherever it happened, you likely felt an awakening of energy, a presence, expanded

What Was Your First Musical Epiphany?

An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is an experience of sudden and striking realization. Generally the term is used to describe scientific breakthrough, religious or philosophical discoveries, but we can also use it to describe those

3rd of 10 Obvious Inaudibles: Joy

Joyful performances can’t help but inspire. Musicians performing with Joy draw us into their sphere of inspiration. Their subtle physical cues of relaxed pleasure and confident presence trigger something within us—perhaps due to mirror neurons in our brain that elicit our own inner experience of uplifting

5 Ways to Soften Musical “Scar Tissue”

I recently had the honor of teaching an esteemed colleague how to meditate. The next week he told me of an immediate benefit: “I was walking through my college campus during the Viola da Gamba Society Conclave—hundreds of viola da gambas everywhere—and passed

Notes from a Journey into “Center Everywhere”

What an amazing tour through California! It succeeded far beyond my expectations, and expanded my understanding, friendships, and new connections. It began with a great day at the YMA Camp where I presented Meditation for Musicians to the 100 young singers

Confessions of an Anti-Present-Moment-ist

Fallacies of thought and logic that I’ve been guilty of: If something requires all of my attention, I must not be very good at it. If I give my full attention and fail, I will have no excuse. Avoiding the present gives me an

A Search and a Call for Truth in Music

15 years ago I was an inexperienced spiritual seeker armed with a righteousness that rivaled JP Sears’ Ultra-Spiritual spoofs. I made a dismissive comment about a musical piece of angry, arrhythmic dissonance to my dear friend and cellist, Andrew Eckard. He knocked me off

Does “Psychological Safety” Help or Hinder Your Music?

My past is darkened with a shameful experience. Many years ago I was in a quartet where I constantly dominated all discussion, told the others what was wrong, and let my ego run rampant. I was playing with younger musicians (I myself was

The Mouse, the Cheese, and the Owl

Does the type of motivation matter for your performance? This weekend I’ve got lots of creative work to do, but find it hard to get going. What would be the best way for me to motivate myself? A. Focus on negative