SPORTS MEDICINE :
SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY :
When Practice Alone Isn't Enough
When Practice Alone Isn't Enough
By CORINNA DA FONSECA-WOLLHEIM
SEPTEMBER 29, 2011
Wall Street Journal
A shorter URL for the above link:
Noa Kageyama is in the business of bulletproofing, but his work does not
involve Kevlar vests or polycarbonate. The performance psychologist runs a
consultancy, ProMind Coaching, whose clients include Olympic athletes and
CEOs. His mentor and business partner, Don Greene, is a former champion
diver and Green Beret, whose specialties including teaching principles of
sports psychology to SWAT team members. But the battlefield Mr. Kageyama
is most interested in is the music world. On his blog, The Bulletproof
Musician, he takes principles developed to toughen up tennis pros and uses
them to help musicians cope with the intense pressure of solo performance.
Last month, he joined the faculty of the Juilliard School.
Performance psychologists are invited into music departments nation-wide,
as educators recognize the need to prepare musicians for the competitive,
high-stakes world of classical music. In the past, performance anxiety was
rarely discussed; if anything, it was seen as a Darwinian way of
separating those fit for a solo career from those doomed to teach. Today,
performance psychologists advertise their services as coaches, not
shrinks, providing musicians the same concrete tools and drills offered
athletes and CEOs.
Mr. Kageyama is himself an accomplished violinist. He remembers his mother
arranging lessons for him with master teacher Shinichi Suzuki when he was
still in kindergarten in his native Japan. Later, he boarded weekly
flights from Columbus, Ohio, to New York to attend precollege lessons at
Juilliard. He knows first-hand how hard musicians work in the practice
roomand how that alone does not prepare for the stress of solo
"Given the sacrifice we put in, it's intensely frustrating to get up on
stage and not have what you know to be capable of come out," he says. "And
it's even worse when you don't know why." His job, he says, is not so much
focused on anxiety as on "taking people who are already great and helping
them be great under pressure."
Andrea Levine contacted Mr. Kageyama in late 2009 after she had performed
poorly in recent auditions. The Louisville Orchestra in Kentucky, where
Ms. Levine is the principal clarinetist, was in financial straits, its
future uncertain. "Each audition was like a do-or-die situation," she
says. Over a series of Skype conferences and phone consultations with Mr.
Kageyama, she developed a program of centering and confidence-building
exercises. In her next set of auditions, she reached the final round each
time. One led to her current one-year stint with the Colorado Symphony
during a leave of absence from the Louisville Orchestra.
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
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