When the Heart Breaks Wide Open

Just a few weeks ago we skirted the edge of the Camp Fire’s devastation as we drove by Paradise, CA. Choking on the heavy smoke, we walked into the Target in Chico, passing mountainous piles of donations for those who had

A Call to Arms for Musicians of Light

A Call to Arms for Musicians of Light

I grew up in Pittsburgh. Yesterday’s attack hit me hard. My weekly cello lessons with Michael Lipman took place just blocks away from the synagogue. Again the question arises: what can I do in response? Last night at the Oregon Symphony,

The Heart Compactors

Fear. Egoic pride. Insecurity. Competition. Judgment. You may face these “heart compactors” daily while pursuing excellence in rehearsals, performances, and lessons. How do you prevent them from compounding the stress you already feel? Do you try to become impervious, protect

Giving the Gift of Love Through Music

I sat at the end of a quiet hallway at Randall Children’s Hospital and unpacked my cello for what seemed just a few passersby on the 4th floor unit. My idealism faded away—what good could my music truly do for

What Freedoms Have You Won for Yourself?

What Freedoms Have You Won for Yourself?

We celebrate Independence Day for our country, but use this day to also focus on of the inner freedoms that you can claim for yourself. Have you won the freedom of inner peace? Don’t be dominated by the incessant outward

Speak, Sing, and Play from the Hermitage of Your Heart

Although we connect through music, social networks, family and community, our most vital connection is to our own heart. Now more than ever do we need to spend time in our hearts, connecting us beyond our little egos into highest potential, a deeper experience of

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

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

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

What Is Beautiful in Your Music?

On Tuesday I was a panelist for a philosophy of music class on “What Makes Music Beautiful?” at Lewis & Clark College. Dynamic discussion! Is it structure? Is it emotion? Is it context and memory? Is it tone? For 90 minutes we