TAG: flow

Managing Challenge for Arts Leaders: How to Empower Your Leadership by Changing The Situation

This week, I had the honor to work with the 14 participants in Opera America’s Leadership Intensive, a program dedicated to identifying and forming the future leaders of opera by providing them with the skills and contacts that can help them advance in their careers. My role was to teach the “soft” skills of leadership:  how to empower yourself to lead …

Top 10 Public Speaking Tips for Arts Leaders and Music Entrepreneurs

What is the first thing that comes up for you when you think about addressing a group of people, whether it is a wedding toast, a speech to a live audience at a music performance or a presentation at your local charity? If the answer is “fear” or “dread”, you are not alone! Fear of public speaking or glossophobia is …

Living “in the Zone”: How Music Entrepreneurs Optimize Their Flow Experiences

Creative people know the feeling of being “in the zone”,  the state of effortless concentration and joy where your skill level meets the challenge at hand, you know what you want to achieve and you are receiving the feedback on how well you are doing, time whizzes by because you are doing something that you love, and you are thus inspired …

Fighting Your Way To The Top: 5 Ways to Manage Inner Conflicts

We live in a complicated, interesting world today where many in the classical music world are wringing their hands because of perceived lack of opportunities for making a successful career, while others (myself included) view our world today as one of tremendous possibility and opportunity.

This is one of the reasons that I am so passionate about teaching musicians how to look at the world as one of opportunity.  One of my objectives is to help my students adopt a positive attitude towards their lives and their careers since I believe very strongly that happiness and optimism breed success and not vice-versa!
Optimism is also essential to the mindset of the music entrepreneur of the 21st Century.

In my class, we start by examining the different attitudes that one can bring to a music career. This attitude is formed by past experiences and perceptions and it translates into energy:

•    stressful energy for things that make you feel hopeless, fearful, angry, or conflicted or

•    motivating energy that makes you feel that you can manage your life, inspires you to keep moving forward, be of service and find opportunity.

“Be good” vs. “Get Better”: Optimizing the Experience of Performing

I have just returned from my summer vacation in California wine country where I learned some valuable lessons about optimal goal setting while improving my piano skills!

Where did all this happen?

At pianoSonoma, a festival that brings together serious adult piano students to study with Juilliard faculty members Michael Shinn and Jessica Chow Shinn, and collaborate and perform chamber music with Young Artists ( current students at or recent graduates of Juilliard), as well attend concerts by the faculty and the Young Artists.  It is a thrilling week where I can indulge in my passion for learning and playing the piano and share the joy of making music with superbly talented musicians.

On the plane ride out to California, I had a chance to catch up on my Kindle backlog and settled into a short book called “9 Things Successful People Do Differently” by psychologist  and goal-setting expert Heidi Grant Halvorson.  Now success is what I teach, coach on and advocate so I was interested in her 9 points.  And the one that resonated most powerfully with me was point #5:

Focus On Getting Better, Rather Than Being Good

What does she mean?

Confidence vs. Arrogance: Know Your Gift to Boost Your Personal Power

We have all been there:  you meet someone at a competition or a reception or a class who dominates the conversation, talks only about himself, projects an aura of knowing it all and could care less about you or other people around him. What’s your reaction? “Boy, am I intimidated! Why can’t I be that confident?” Or perhaps “What a …

Speaking About Music: How to Be Confident and Powerful

If you happened to wander by my classroom at Yale recently, you would have seen and heard my students and their professor (that would be me!) moving their arms, doing knee bends, rolling their lip, singing scales to the tune of “mi mi mi” and reciting tongue twisters under the tutelage of Professor Brian Lewis who came to my class to help us learn more about public speaking and overcome “glossophobia”(the fear of public speaking).

In fact, in some surveys, fear of public speaking is the number one common phobia, ranking even higher than the fear of death!  So Professor Lewis was there to give us some valuable tips on how to get comfortable with public speaking since he adn I both believe that this is an essential skill for today’s musicians.  Here is a summary of his remarks, together with my own observations on how to speak in public with power and confidence. 

Networking for Music Entrepreneurs: Using Your Head and Your Heart

I love teaching networking because it is such a valuable skill for musicians.  And my recent networking class at Yale was such a treat because for the first time ever, I had a group where nearly half of the students enjoy networking! As a result, my “experienced” networkers were able to share their successes with their colleagues which both reinforced the importance of networking and showed other students what to do in order to incorporate networking into one’s arsenal of career-building tools. 

The bottom line:  networking involves both your head—being strategic—and your heart-being intuitive and sensitive to building quality relationships. 

Let’s take a closer look at what worked.

Two Confidence-Boosting Tools for Music Entrepreneurs: Strengths and Flow

One of the goals of my entrepreneurship class at the Yale School of Music is to help my students develop a mindset of positivity and project confidence since this is at the heart of being a successful entrepreneur. My students have learned two great tools for boosting their confidence—strengths and Flow.  These are more than “feel-good props”.  Both originate from positive psychology, the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive and whose mission includes “find[ing]and nurture[ing] genius and talent”.

What’s not to like?

So here is how strengths and Flow can help you to become confident in your professional and your personal endeavors.

What’s Working for Music Entrepreneurs?: The Power of Living at Choice

Spring Break is here.  My students are on overload.  They have been performing a lot, as well as auditioning for DMA programs, summer festivals and orchestra jobs, interviewing for internships and jobs on top of all their schoolwork.  We began our last class before Spring Break with a check-in on what’s working.

What’s working is a great question because you focus on the positive aspects of your life.  It is another way to change your perceptions and use the forces of positive energy to motivate you.

Here’s the way it works:

1.    First you identify what is working in your life.

2.  Then you figure out what about it works, analyzing the steps you took to create your success.

3.  Finally, you apply your methodology to areas of your life that are not working as well so that you can overcome your challenges.

Let’s take a look at what is working from my class.