Mind Matters: Thinking about thinking

What do you think about when you think about performing? Take a few minutes before reading further and make a short list. Below, I have listed some frequent responses about performance that I have heard from teachers and students:• I am afraid I will make mistakes.• I will feel embarrassed if my performance does not go perfectly.• I freak out about...

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Mind Matters: Stage fright on my mind

Stage fright is on my mind for various reasons. I have spent my entire life dealing with it since my first memory slip at age six, and it has continued to arise in my career as a performer and subsequently as a psychotherapist. Stage fright is not a topic that is easily discussed or admitted, because shame is an embarrassing component of this anxie...

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Reflections on music's life lessons

I imagine that, in one way or another, you are caught up in the drama of politics these days. My feelings have been impassioned and vocal around the proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). It is not unusual for me to write when my sensitivities feel challenged, as is cur...

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Music enhances our quality of life

I doubt that any musician (and many non-musicians) reading this article would argue that the survival of music and art is critical to our nation's well-being. The final words in the previous sentence are the title of an article I wrote in 2008 and just rediscovered when going through some files in my office.1  In writing an opinion p...

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Rethinking the master class

Recently, my husband Louie and I presented a joint master class at the Mississippi Music Teachers Association State Conference. We have developed a different format for these educational, and sometimes intimidating, sessions where a student performs before an audience of peers and teachers, and an invited guest teacher, by reputation a "master," ma...

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Mind Matters: Retirement


Imagine this: for many years you and your students have created many personal memories and memorable musical moments. You have contributed to your profession and felt emotionally enriched and, sometimes, financially rewarded. You have established a home, found a satisfying personal and family life, and planted roots in your community. You have atte...

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Why do you play the piano?

For years, I have written about and counseled many people regarding their performance anxiety. I have lectured on the topics of symptoms and symptom reduction, as well as deeper psychological issues that fuel stage fright. I have heard numerous comments about "wanting to play perfectly," "wanting the audience to like me," and "not letting...

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Mind Matters: Less is more

Full disclosure: I have repeatedly tried to write this column for a couple of weeks. I have thought about it for much longer. I usually have my Clavier Companion column completed long before it is due. I do not like last minute crunches. I have legitimate excuses. In the past couple months, I have been busy attending meetings, writing papers, and p...

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Music lessons are life lessons

Have you ever been in a room full of people or at a table with friends where no one was talking with each other because everyone was texting? Although "texting" is a relatively new verb in our language, I imagine that most people, in our Age of Cell Phone, would understand its current definition. While texting potentially makes communication i...

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Mind matters: Perspectives


I am delighted to inaugurate this regular column. As both a musician and a psychologist/psychoanalyst, I have dealt with many varied and complex issues that music performers and teachers of all ages struggle with. This obviously includes stage fright, but it encompasses so much more. I am sure that all of you have known students like Robin, wh...

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About Piano Magazine

Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

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