The recent post What Should You Think About When You Perform? elicited some really insightful comments, and I was reminded of how much valuable wisdom is shared by the readers of this blog. And not just related to performing better, but being a better musician too.

I’m always intrigued by stories like that, and am a sucker for books like The Way They Play or David Dubal‘s Reflections from the Keyboard, so I decided we should have some fun and turn it into a contest (yes, there are prizes).

The rules

Enter the contest by leaving a comment below in which you share something impactful you learned from a teacher and/or artist you’ve studied with. Whether it’s something that helped you become a better musician, better performer, practice more effectively, warm up better, etc., please tell us about the impact this has had on you – and don’t forget to tell us who the teacher/artist was.

Sometimes we learn really profound things from books, interviews, and videos, so feel free to share those too.

You may enter as many times as you wish (each comment counts as an entry), but the contest ends in 7 days.

The prizes

In one week, at midnight EST on Saturday, March 31st, entries will be tallied up, and three winners will be selected at random.

All three will get advance pre-release access to the soon-to-be-released Performance Anxiety Crash Course (a.k.a. All the stuff I share with musicians who call me up at the last minute requesting help for a big audition or performance).

And the first prize winner will also get a 50-minute coaching via Skype, plus a mystery gift (it’s a mystery because I haven’t figured out what it’s going to be yet, and because mysteries are fun).

That’s it! Now go scribble something in the comments below before the motivation wanes (because it’s a whole lot easier to do it now than later). It doesn’t need to be anything mind-bendingly profound. Just something that stuck with you over the years.


Winners of the random drawing were Margot Kenagy (3rd), Irene Charrois (2nd), and Laurel Ann Maurer (1st).

Many thanks to all of you for sharing your stories, quotes, and wisdom. It was great fun reading through the comments as they arrived, and there was a lot of great stuff to absorb!

About Noa Kageyama, Ph.D.

Performance psychologist and Juilliard alumnus & faculty member Noa Kageyama teaches musicians how to beat performance anxiety and play their best under pressure through live classes, coachings, and an online home-study course. Based in NYC, he is married to a terrific pianist, has two hilarious kids, and is a wee bit obsessed with technology and all things Apple.

After Countless Hours of Practice, Why Are Performances Still so Hit or Miss?

It’s not a talent issue. And that rush of adrenaline and emotional roller coaster you experience before performances is totally normal too.

Performing at the upper ranges of your ability under pressure is a unique skill – one that requires specific mental skills and a few tweaks in your approach to practicing. Elite athletes have been learning these techniques for decades; if nerves and self-doubt have been recurring obstacles in your performances, I’d like to help you do the same.

Click below to discover the 7 skills that are characteristic of top performers. Learn how you can develop these into strengths of your own. And begin to see tangible improvements in your playing that transfer to the stage.

NOTE: Version 3.0 is coming soon! A whole new format, completely redone from the ground up, with new research-based strategies on practice and performance preparation, 25 step-by-step practice challenges, unlockable bonus content, and more. There will be a price increase when version 3.0 arrives, but if you enroll in the “Lifetime” edition before then, you’ll get all the latest updates for free.