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How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?

Practice, Practice, Practice... But wait, there's more...

Dr. Noa Kageyama is one of the world leaders in Performance Psychology. He teaches countless students at The Juilliard School of Music and has conducted workshops at Northwestern University, the New England Conservatory and Eastman. He is also the performance psychology coach for the New World Symphony. Why should you know who he is? Because, this amazing teacher can be your performance psychology coach for 90 minutes, that’s why!

I first found out about Dr. Kageyama years ago when I was (and still am) improving myself as a musician. Performance has always been the one thing I needed to clear up in my mind and on stage. How and Why do I act the way I do when I perform?! I mean, I am playing my violin, right? I do that every day and for some reason when I get up to perform in front of people, I feel like I just sat down in a rollercoaster with no seatbelt! What is that about? So, after searching online for hours trying to find an article or someone who could help me. I was so desperate, I would have taken anyone (a hypnotist, psychic, the grand poobah, someone’s grandma….)

Then I found Dr. Noa Kageyama! It was a blog called: The Blog - Bulletproof Musician Yes, I put the link down for you to check out.

You’re Welcome :)

This blog changed my life in many ways. Dr. Kageyama explains everything in a down to Earth way that manages to make me feel as if there actually is something I can do about my performance nerves.

Performing Well isn’t this Magical Fairy that some musicians can catch and others can’t. It is a mindset that needs to be practiced just like we practice our instruments. And, just like I practice my violin and get better, I can practice to perform and get better. Performance is a chance and a challenge to test ourselves. It’s exciting! I mean, who needs roller coasters, right?

I remember when I was at a gig years ago, this oboist who told me about this book called, Mental Toughness Training for Sports, by James E. Loher. He said that he used this book to help him conquer his performance nerves and actually wound up in the finals at a Cleveland Orchestra audition! That was my introduction to this whole idea of how to control the mind to work for us and help us succeed.

In my life, there have been many times I either performed pretty well or not so well. I could never figure out why. I think my best performance was when I was in college and performed the Mozart Concerto No. 3. I remember that day so clearly even though it was years and Years ago. In college, my mornings usually went like this; I woke up at 10. (because I usually went to bed around 2 a.m - I was a total night owl.) That day I was scheduled to perform for a master class that started around 10:30. This was not a great choice for time considering my lifestyle, but I didn’t really have a say.

So, what happened that morning was this: I woke up at 10:00 a.m. and realized that I had a half an hour to put on my clothes, grab something to eat and RUN across campus and perform this Mozart Concerto. So, I grabbed an apple and ran “Chariots of Fire” style to the music department.

Looking back at this event, I have to laugh because the old me and the now me are two completely different people. Trust me, I would NEVER do this now. Anyway, back to my story….

So, after running for my life to the music department, I opened the door and staggered inside. I am certain everyone knew that I had just completed a marathon run because I was late (about 10 minutes - not a fast runner, I guess.) and gasping for breath!

My violin teacher turned to me and said, “You’re first.” and turned away.

I’m first?! Really? Now, I am not going to name names, but this guy was not my favorite teacher out of all of my teachers in my violin career. Not even close… Joseph Gingold, he was not!

What happened?

I played great, that’s what happend!! Probably the best I had ever performed! My teacher was shocked and so was I (but I tried not to show it). And, I could not figure out why I played so well until I took a class with Noa. I believe it was my elevated heart rate AND not having a chance to psych myself out that helped me. Had this jerk teacher let me sit and catch my breath while others were performing, I would have easily done the psychological tricks in my mind that would have been a performance catastrophe. I wish I had a teacher like Dr. Noa Kageyama when I was younger. He would have made a huge difference in my life. But, I am so happy to be able to learn from him now. I am older, wiser AND I would Never, Ever wake up a half hour before a performance when I had 30 minutes to get there! Unbelievable… Shame on you, “OLD ME”!

But, the truly great thing is that I have invited Noa to work with all of you! So, sign up soon and reserve a spot. We will be meeting with him in the Fall so get your playing chops up and be prepared to learn something new :)

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