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

The Sound of Devotion in Your Music

Last night, while performing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, I was deeply moved during the 3rd movement where the first violin’s 16th notes flow in gorgeous counterpoint to the main theme in the winds (quick reference video). If I were to foolishly try to define what Beethoven

Celebrate the Return of Light in Your Music

Happy Winter Solstice! How are you celebrating the return of the light? Years ago as a classroom teacher, I discovered that many cultures celebrate with light throughout the year: Ramadan. Diwali. Chanukah. Kwanzaa. Christmas. Furthermore, in yogic traditions the solstices and

Yo-Yo Ma: Spiritual Master Musician or Musical Spiritual Master?

I was in the front row for Yo-Yo Ma’s solo recital last night. It was a life event that opened doors both musical and personal. He performed the 1st, 2nd, and 6th Bach Suites, each preceded by a short piece evoking a folk style

This Is What Gratitude Does to Your Performance

Gratitude in performance? What a ridiculous idea. Won’t it take away from our focus? Nope. Last Sunday I performed a sextet with fabulous musicians from the Oregon Symphony, as well as the Brahms Clarinet Trio (watch it here). I felt immense gratitude percolating behind