Musicians and Mindset

Resources and guides for musicians to cultivate a mindset that will set you up for success in your musical journey and in your life.

Recent PostsPractice JoyBooks

The Practice Joy Music Practice Journal | Free Download

This free pdf will help you set repertoire goals and organize your practice sessions in a way that inspires joy. Crafting positive experiences in our practice sessions makes us want to practice even more.

In addition to traditional journal pages and the “practice joy” pages, you also get a guide to practicing joy.

7 Steps to Practice Joy While Practicing an Instrument

In this post, I consult research on “joy” in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy and discuss how joy can be treated as a practice. When we combine joy practice with daily music practice, we create a positive association. This association encourages us to practice our instruments more often and in a better mood. This post provides seven steps to cultivating your own practice of joy.

While most of my posts and other resources are focused around healthy mindsets for musicians specifically, a lot of my knowledge and personal journey is informed by these books that everyone can benefit from.

Presence by Amy Cuddy

Book cover of Presence by Amy Cuddy

In Presence, Dr. Amy Cuddy draws from her experience as a social psychologist as well as her own story. The idea of “presence” is living fully in the moment, not worrying too much about the future or the past, and this is a very difficult thing to deal with in the middle of a pandemic. I’ve come back to the ideas in this book as a way of coping, and I’m sharing because maybe it can help you too. You can check out my review here.

The Art of Practicing by Madeline Bruser

Piggybacking off of Presence, The Art of Practicing by Dr. Madeline Bruser takes a mindfulness approach to practice, which is something that’s been a requirement for me since the start of this pandemic. I ended up taking this term off from piano lessons because it was all just too much, so having a mindfulness approach to my practice sessions has helped me stay accountable to them while still being patient and compassionate with myself. You can check out my review here.

Books by Brené Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection and Rising Strong are the two most influential books I read in the pandemic. They helped me through this period of chaos that, for me, was punctuated by a huge breakup and career struggles. The Gifts of Imperfection showed me how to start the journey to loving myself, to come from a place of worthiness, and this ultimately has helped me deal with anxiety of all kinds (performance-related, general, and social). Rising Strong helped me understand and re-shape my definitions of success. Dr. Brown explains that sometimes, just continuing to show up and do things is the hardest, especially in a pandemic! While these aren’t specifically music-related, they’ve shaped me as a musician; they’ve transformed the story I tell when I perform, so I recommend these to everyone.

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