Performance Coach

As a Chamber Music Coach, she works with ensembles of all instrumentations and has led workshops for both students and adults, building musical skills and performance excellence,  creativity and entrepreneurship, democratic organization, shared leadership, and distributed responsibility. Via this arrangement the musicians build interpretive, organizational, and communication-based skills; more importantly they provide a model for business, civic, and social leadership based in and centered on creative endeavors.

Performance Coaching: for musicians and non musicians alike.

Tips on Performing with excellence and full engagement:

1. Lots of exercise and sleep: get your heart rate up doing your favorite aerobics (sit ups, walking/running/zoomba, whatever). Getting your heart rate up (that means sweating!) gets the adrenaline OUT of your system come performance time. Lots of stretching, especially first thing in the morning, before bed, and in your down time before you play. Sleep: reset that brain, get as much good quality sleep as you can.

2. Eat/Drink: Take care that what you are putting into your body is fuel for the machine to work like a high performance sports car.   Nutritional! Avoid salt, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, LOTS of water and bananas :)

3. Mental Prep: stay focused on the music and how to get from point A to point B. Fully engaged in the performance! If your brain wanders, snap back to the present as quickly as possible. This is something you can practice now ... Practice Performing. 

4. Performance time:  BREATHE!  Cool, beautiful air in, tension and negativity OUT. As you breathe, don’t be talking to yourself or thinking through performance steps, just breathe…no-mindedness…let the brain rest (like yoga class).  Don’t think about the competition, focus on being the storyteller that YOU want to be, and when you’re in the room, it’s Storytime! Be compelling w/ character and color, you know the notes and rhythms..this will set you apart from the pack.

5. Transcend technique so that the art grows out of the unconscious,,, you must let the unconscious come forward.

Focus and Distraction Control :

“A calm mind reflects the clearest focus just as a tranquil lake casts the clearest reflection.”

  • tune into your body and task

  • stay connected to what you are doing

  • do NOT let distracting thoughts interfere

  • trust your body to do what it’s been trained to do

  • block out everything else in my world, except me and the music.

  • STOMP on the ANTS (automatic negative thoughts)

  • Adios inner critic

  • No judgements, stay in the present

  • Trust your body to lead

  • A mind unconscious of itself that is not at all disturbed by effect of any kind.

  • It fills the whole body, pervading every pore

  • Flowing like a stream, filling each corner

  • A state of “NO THINKING”, emptiness, no mindedness.



A setback can drag you down OR serve as a reminder to focus more fully on the next step=redirect energy in a more positive way.

NO Condemning, judging, question along the way, you will lose your connection.

Favorite Reads…

The Power of Story, Stress for Success, The New Toughness Training for Sports-Jim Loehr:

In Pursuit of Excellence, Terry Orlick

The Performer Prepares, Robert Caldwell

A Soprano On Her Head, Eloise Ristad

This was a truly wonderful and inspiring experience: the dedication, energy, knowledge, musicianship, patience, and tact of the coaches were amazing! Mary Kay was exceptional in her flexibility and her willingness to go out of her way to make sure that every detail was taken care of.
— Mimi, pianist from Cleveland