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

How in GRATItune are you?

A spontaneous test for you—attune yourself to gratitude right this moment, without any specific thing for which to be thankful. Just BE in gratitude. See how close to gratitude you can get in just the space of 3 deep relaxed breaths. Now please rate

Are You a Spiritually Independent Musician?

Is your spirituality tucked safely out of harms way? Have you ever yearned to bring into the secular world of the Arts the deep spiritual truths that you have experienced? Centuries ago we created a barrier separating the Arts and Sciences from the

Is Your Music Magnetic?

And if so, what does it attract? I recently heard Chanticleer live for the first time, and was thrilled by what their songs evoked in me. It was as if they were a huge magnetic force that pulled out different

Healing the Wounds of Inspiration

The picture hanging over the mantel came crashing down on the glass art…SMASH…shocking us out of a guided meditation. “Just let it be everyone—I’ll pick up the pieces later.” The voice of our gracious host, Theresa Koon, betrayed her sadness