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Welcome to The Bulletproof Musician!

Hi! My name is Noa Kageyama – I’m a performance psychologist, and am on the faculty of The Juilliard School. But once upon a time, I was that sleepy-looking 2-year old learning how to hold a violin.

Like learning any other skill, everything was pretty much rainbows and unicorns at first, but it wasn’t long before I began experiencing stretches of frustrating practice days, where it felt like I was stuck – or getting worse. And on stage, I struggled with nerves, worries about memory slips, cold, clammy, shaky hands, a racing heartbeat, doubts, fears, and all the rest.

No matter how much I practiced, or how many bananas I ate, I never could figure out how to beat anxiety and perform my best when it really mattered.

Until I went to Juilliard, and took a class simply titled “Performance Enhancement,” taught by sport psychologist Don Greene. I had never heard of this area of psychology, but what I learned changed everything.

First Suzuki camp - Ithaca College!
I did love my Underoos...

What do elite performers do differently?

I discovered that that top athletes don’t just train physically, but engage in a ton of mental training as well. Furthermore, they understand that learning a skill and performing that skill are two very different challenges – and that success in each requires a different type of practice.

Which might sound pretty obvious. But at the time, I didn’t know how to translate any of this into my practice. Like, what does mental training actually look like? How exactly is practicing for skill and practicing for performance different? How the heck does one manage nerves, or “practice” confidence or focus?

Answering such questions is what this blog is about. Taking what researchers have learned, and what great musicians have intuited, and figuring out how to put all of it into action. Both in the practice room, and on stage.

Ready to learn how?

Start Becoming "Bulletproof"

A Quiz

And if you’re not quite sure where to start, I’d recommend taking the Mental Skills Audit. This 4-min quiz will help you discover your mental strengths and weaknesses and point you in the direction of the articles that will be most helpful.

Besides, who doesn’t love a good online quiz? 😁 

The Weekly Newsletter

Sign up for the weekly newsletter and you’ll get a fresh new research-based practice hack in your inbox every Sunday morning.

Plus, during your first week as a new subscriber, you’ll also receive some free bonus training – the 6-day Pressure Proof mini-course, where you’ll learn what causes “but-it-sounded-better-at-home!” syndrome – and what you can do to make this a thing of the past!

The Weekly Newsletter

Join 45,000+ other musicians and learners and get a fresh new research-based practice hack in your inbox every Sunday morning.

I’ll also send you the 6-day Pressure Proof mini-course as an additional bonus. If you’ve ever wondered what causes “but-it-sounded-better-at-home!” syndrome, and have wished you could play more consistently under pressure, I think you’ll really enjoy this course.

It might just change the way you practice forever. 😁