What if you could experience more joy on stage?

...and help your students do the same?

It all started with a recital...

When we look backwards at our lives, it can be interesting to see how tiny, seemingly trivial moments can end up being a meaningful nudge in an important direction
One example from my own life, was attending a friend’s recital during my sophomore year of college.
It all started out like pretty much any other recital. I mean, I could tell my friend was nervous, but I assumed that this would pass as she settled into the performance.
Except that it didn’t. She had a little memory slip…which seemed harmless enough at first. But you could tell that this made the nerves get a little worse. Which led to another memory slip, and then another, and another. At which point she began rushing, playing faster and faster, and reaching a tempo that I could tell was unsustainable. Which only led to more mistakes and missed notes.
I’d had days like this myself, of course. So I could totally relate to what she was feeling in that moment.
I remember sitting there feeling awful for my poor friend, and powerless to help. I even started thinking about what I had learned in the Psych 100 class I was taking that semester. But none of it seemed directly relevant to what my friend was experiencing.
It would be another few years before I’d go to Juilliard for my graduate studies, and meet sport psychologist Don Greene. Where I’d learn about the field of sport psychology, and all the research on how elite athletes are able to perform optimally even under tremendous pressure.

Rediscovering the fun of performing

Learning about the mental side of performing was transformative for me. I began practicing and preparing differently for performances. More importantly, I began having more of those really good days on stage. And it was empowering to know that this wasn’t a lucky streak of random good days, but the direct result of the new mental skills I was developing. That it was something I had control over.
It was also cool to see how developing my mental game enhanced everything I was learning in my lessons too. I was able to more fully demonstrate on stage, the musical insights that my teachers were sharing with me in lessons. And I wasn’t only playing more accurately, but also feeling free to be more musically expressive as well.

…and then a change of direction

After finishing my studies at Juilliard, I put my violin down and went to Indiana University to get a PhD in psychology. Which led me back to Juilliard, but as a member of the faculty, where I specialize in teaching musicians how to play their best under pressure.

When I was growing up, performance psychology was not yet a thing. Or more accurately, very few outside of a small community of researchers, coaches, and elite athletes were aware of its existence.
That has changed in the last couple decades, of course. And a growing number of educators have begun exploring the mental aspect of performance with their students. Yes, there are times when a student probably ought to be referred to a licensed performance psychologist, but research in sports suggests that with a bit of training, coaches can help their athletes achieve many of the same positive outcomes as sport psychologists. Like managing nerves more effectively and performing more optimally under pressure.
I think this is a pretty awesome finding. And I suspect this is just as true in music as it is in sport. After all, you develop such a close working relationship with your students over the course of weeks, months, and years, that you’re uniquely positioned to integrate mental skills into their development as musicians – and people – in a really organic and natural way.
So if you have students who struggle with nerves or inconsistency, I’d love to share with you some of the techniques and strategies that I’ve found to be the most useful for musicians over the years.


Performance Psychology Essentials
for Educators

Performance Psychology Essentials for Educators is a live, online, 5-session workshop. A workshop where you’ll learn how to develop – and teach – the key mental skills that enable musicians to rise to the occasion and play their best when it counts.
It won’t be just a bunch of abstract theory. We’ll cover a specific set of concrete, actionable, mental skills and practice strategies. Things that will not only help your students develop their skills to the highest level, but help them demonstrate those skills as well. Especially when the nerves kick in.
You’ll spend the first three sessions learning skills that will enable you to become more “pressure-proof” yourself. And then we’ll spend the last two sessions making sure you not only feel comfortable using these skills in your own playing, but teaching these skills too.

Here's what we'll work on

Beating Nerves

  • You’ll learn three theories about the relationship between nerves and performance that will help your student understand their confusing and sometimes contradictory experiences with nerves.
  • You’ll also learn the four key elements of an effective pre-performance routine, that will help your student get off to a good start at the beginning of a performance or audition when nerves are often the worst.

Getting Into "The Zone"

  • We’ll explore the two reasons why your student may tend to “choke” or make random, inexplicable mistakes under pressure.
  • And you’ll practice using three strategies that will enable your student to get into “the zone,” facilitating not only a more optimal performance, but a more enjoyable experience on stage as well.

Practicing for Pressure

  • We’ll experiment with a strategy that will help your student engage in more deep, thoughtful practice, without it feeling like pulling teeth.
  • You’ll also experiment with “flipping” the practice day, and ways to make recording a more enjoyable (well, slightly less painful) experience for your student.
  • You’ll learn two unconventional practice strategies that will maximize consistency under pressure, not just effective skill development.
  • We’ll also practice two exercises that are not only fun (?!), but will also help your students play more freely and musically under pressure.

The Schedule

See one, do one, teach one

We’ll spend the first three sessions learning and trying out the essential skills and strategies described aboveI’ll show you how I introduce and teach these skills to my students, share the exact worksheets I have my students use, and we’ll practice the skills live, together, as a group.
After a few weeks of experimenting with these skills in your own playing, you’ll then teach a few of your new skills to 2 or 3 of your students.
And to make sure you feel comfortable and supported in doing so, we’ll reconvene as a group for two follow-up sessions, to share what went well, discuss went less well, and get feedback on what adjustments to make, if you encountered any speed bumps along the way.
And if you can’t make the live session times, not to worry – the sessions will also be recorded.

The Schedule

Session #1: Beating Nerves
Thursday, Feb 3, 2022
1-3pm Eastern (6-8pm UTC)
Session #2: Getting Into “the Zone”
Thursday, Feb 10, 2022
1-3pm Eastern (6-8pm UTC)
Session #3: Practicing for Pressure
Thursday, Feb 17, 2022
1-3pm Eastern (6-8pm UTC)

– Break –

Session #4: Follow-Up #1
Thursday, March 3, 2022
1-3pm Eastern (6-8pm UTC)
Session #5: Follow-Up #2
Thursday, March 10, 2022
1-3pm Eastern (6-8pm UTC)

A community of educators

To maximize opportunities to benefit not just from my experience but that of your fellow educators, the follow-up session will have a small-group component, where you will meet in groups of 4-5 in Zoom breakout rooms, and have a chance to tap into the collective experience and wisdom of other educators in the group.

Plus, you’ll have access to a private discussion forum, where you’ll be able to engage with all of the other educators during the week, sharing updates, asking questions, and getting feedback from myself and your colleagues. Which will look something like this:

What teachers are saying...

About the course...

THANK YOU for the wonderful classes! It was so great to have the opportunity to learn from you in as close to a real, 'live' way as the world currently permits! The material was wonderful, and the presentation, pacing, time-keeping, and opportunities to interact and ask questions were all equally as wonderful. I have LOTS of super useful concepts and strategies to digest, practice and teach to my students, thanks to everything I've learned from your blog posts, 'Beyond Practicing' and now, 'Performance Psychology Essentials'!

FWIW - I've grown to appreciate what I learned in class even more in the weeks since. Now, having some additional tools to work with and the confidence to teach these concepts and strategies to my students, I've witnessed a truly remarkable difference in their week-to-week progress - and in my overall joy, seeing them progress past things that had been challenging them in their lessons!!

From a purely 'business' perspective, your classes (and practice plans) are equally great! These are things that NO ONE in my world of American Roots music teaches or really even talks much about. Being able to offer the strategies I've learned from you is something 'unique' that I can now offer, and that set me apart from others teaching this type of music.
Wayne Fugate
Before signing up, I was worried about having to interact with inflated egos, and know-it-all types of teachers. But of course, that wasn't even an issue, and I found all interactions to be helpful and enjoyable 🙂

I have hard-working students, but I'd hit the proverbial wall with a few of them in terms of practice techniques and lesson performance. Taking this course sparked my own creativity in how I approached certain things with individual students, and in turn renewed my excitement in working through their challenges with them, instead of against them. I've been on a two week teaching break, and can't wait to start fresh with everyone this week!

I liked hearing your specific ideas for and stories about sharing these concepts with students. I'm sure it's all trial and error, until we find our own way to approach teaching these strategies, but it was nice to have a starting point and know what students may/may not respond to. I appreciated hearing what other teachers do as well, particularly the piano teachers who have really young students.

I would 100% recommend this course to other educators. I think that much of the way music is taught (in private lessons, public schools and especially higher ed) is based on a patriarchal, alpha-musician system, that can be abusive and damaging, and counter-productive to fostering musicals skills and love for performance. I think any way we can rock that boat and shake things up is a step in a better direction. There is a sense of whimsy in your approach that matches my own teaching style, so that really resonates with me. I love that a practice strategy can have a cute name and a cute meme, and then be a simple but powerful tool to help someone evolve as a musician. The classical music world could stand to lighten up a bit, and I think courses like yours are a fantastic way to help people break free from the mold, get creative, and start thinking outside the box! The results are better practicers, more confident and competent performers, and a more pure love for studying and performing music.
Laura Medisky
Oboe, Alexander Technique
I was initially intimidated by the list of very accomplished, conservatory trained musicians coming from around the world to this course, but I was very pleasantly surprised by how warm and inviting all of the participants were. Noa did an excellent job of fostering a community through this course.

I enjoyed that the "homework" was always discussion based and compelled us to interact with one another to pose questions about teaching concepts we've been struggling with or to share our insights. I feel very privileged to have had this opportunity to interact with so many kind and thoughtful musicians.

As a cellist with a music library containing nearly every treatise, essay, manual, method book, scale book, and etude book on cello technique and pedagogy, this is the first course I've taken that has so neatly and concisely addressed performance psychology (and in a non-instrument specific way!).
Anthony Rodriguez
I wasn't sure I could use the knowledge on my students who are mostly young kids that are early beginners, but I decided that I needed it for my own benefit as well so I decided to sign up.

I ended up gaining a lot of mental insight into my own brain while practicing and performing. A lot of the techniques taught were eye-opening. Not only have I been able to improve my musicality, it also provided tools to me as a music educator to pass on to my students.

This might make me sound perfunctory, but I liked everything about the course. I liked all the studies that were presented, and how they can be pertained to music practice and performance. I loved the video clips of famous artists and their interviews presented during the class. And I loved the discussion sessions and hearing other peoples' perspectives and experiences too.

I would definitely recommend this course to other teachers, because I feel that while music educators may be well qualified to teach technical skills, a lot of them are not prepared to help solve mental problems their students face.
Edith Ting

And about their students' progress...


If you have any questions, just send me an email!

Oh, and whatever happened to that pianist whose recital nudged me onto this path? Well, she went on to solve the nerves issue and become a terrific pianist. And we ended up getting married too, so I guess it’s a good thing I went to that recital. =)

How to Sign Up

Performance Psychology Essentials
for Educators


Frequently Asked Questions

The sessions will be recorded and uploaded as soon as Zoom does its thing and I can upload them to my host (usually by the end of  the day). So you’ll be able to “play along” with the exercises we do, and submit your homework into the group along with everyone else without too much of a delay.

And part of the reason for my creating the private social network for this training, is to ensure that we can all communicate and share ideas with each other asynchronously, regardless of whatever time zone we may be based in.

The short answer is that there is indeed some overlap between this course and Beyond Practicing. If you’re trying to decide between the two, my recommendation would be to start with this “Essentials” course, and then consider signing up for Beyond Practicing afterwards if you’d like to take things further.

However, a number of folks have gone the other direction, enrolling in this “Essentials” course after having gone through Beyond Practicing already. This can work too, and I’ve received feedback that the live aspect, the focus on teaching these skills, and the interactions with other educators has increased their confidence, not just in their ability to use and benefit from these strategies themselves, but in their ability to pass these skills on effectively to students as well.

But if you have any questions about whether this would be right for you, email me and we can chat about this some more!

No problem. Just email me, and I’ll do my best to answer them!

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There's an LIVE component too! (for educators)

If you’d like to explore some of the most essential skills and techniques in the course live, with a cohort of curious, thoughtful, supportive, and like-minded educators (and a few mildly irreverent or benevolently sarcastic folks mixed in to make sure we don’t get too serious), that’s also an option!

Starting Thursday, February 3rd, we’ll meet via Zoom once a week, and go through selected strategies related to effective practice, managing nerves, and achieving flow states under pressure. We’ll do some in-class playing experiments (don’t worry – you’ll be muted!), short weekly homework assignments, and small-group breakout sessions to help you integrate these new skills into your teaching.

This 6-week live course is normally $199, but is available at 50% off the regular cost when bundled with Beyond Practicing below. For more details about the live course (and dates) CLICK HERE.