The Choice to Survive or Thrive

When my daughter was born, I learned about FTT (failure to thrive), which refers to decelerated or arrested physical growth in infants. But how about decelerated or arrested spiritual growth? Am I thriving and happy? Am I growing? Or am I

Walking the Talk Amidst Crashing Worlds

I’m in the midst of a tumultuous situation that rips out my heart and stomps on it, with no easy solution in sight. It’s not important for you to know details, but I bet you’ve felt something like it in

4th of 10 Obvious Inaudibles: Willingness

What I’m most ashamed of: Sitting in a cello lesson with a guest teacher, being completely unwilling to try any of his suggestions. “See!” I inwardly seethed, “that doesn’t work for me!” The lesson was a total waste, and I certainly didn’t

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

Fighting Fear with the Fuel of Music

Fear is ripping our country apart. How can we as musicians fight this pervading fear? How can we best be instruments of change? We need to act more than ever, but expressions of anger and frustration don’t lead to the

What Really Saved Me When I Got Hit By a Car

On Monday I paused at the top of the long downhill before me, feeling good. It had been a short and sweet 10-mile bike ride, and I was almost home. A few days previous I had taken this route and timed the

Fear, Courage, and My Misunderstood Pulse

Like many, my heart rate increases when I audition behind a screen. It’s distracting and annoying. As a 20-year meditator, I’d like to tell you that my years of inner practice has completely fixed this. But I can’t, because it hasn’t—yet. So

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

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