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

Musicians: Curators of Consciousness

I received an awesome birthday present yesterday: a moment of realization! As I conducted my choir of meditators, I felt the purest Divine presence. It left no room for littleness of egoic pride, insecurity, anger, control, ambition. It was 100% benign, holding vibrations or frequencies

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

An inside view of my year with BRAVO

Last August I became a Teaching Artist at BRAVO Youth Orchestra in North Portland. It is an after-school music program based on El Sistema, founded in Venezuela in 1975 by José Antonio Abreu. Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director for the Los Angeles Philharmonic,

Don’t let your ______ hold you back

What word fills in your blank? fear past failures self-imposed limitations attachments past habits preconceptions instrument talent situation relationships I was wailing away on a friend’s cello when suddenly he said – “There! Stop! Now play that exact same passage on your own instrument with

The Sunday Matinee Challenge

It’s 2:00 on a Sunday afternoon. The perfect time for a nap. Returning to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall 15 hours after last night’s applause had died away, I sobered to the next phase of my challenge: Can I tap into Inspired

Are you courageous enough to be calm before performing?

“If you aren’t nervous, you’re not paying attention!” For countless years I thought worrisome backstage behavior was a badge of honor. It showed a high degree of awareness, care and concern, and therefore implied a higher degree of musical development. The less I allowed myself

The real difference between a performance and an audition

The real difference between a performance and an audition

This Saturday I’ll be taking an audition for the Oregon Symphony, my first audition in 17 years. It is the perfect opportunity for the ultimate test: Is my process of inspired performance possible in a blind audition? Can I take the principles

Have you developed a palate for clarity?

Clarity is a refreshing pool of water for the mind. It is high-resolution inspiration from the stillness of just be-ing. Clarity is an expansion of heart and a calmness of mind that lifts us above our problems into the realm