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A discussion: How mindfulness can help musicians

9 December 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm GMT

Free – £5.00
Mindful Muscian Discussion icon

An exploration of Mindfulness for Musicians from the Inside Out with Ruth Phillips, Lucy Russell, Rebecca Herman and Alina Pogostkina

This discussion is between four professional musicians, all of whose lives, both personal and as performers and teachers, have been transformed by mindfulness. Not only are we each committed to bringing the benefits of traditional mindfulness – of body, breath, emotions and mind – to musicians but, as performers ourselves, we understand from the inside-out what it is like to be on stage: To be thinking ‘ahead’ to that difficult passage or to how our audience might judge us at the end; how the body responds to self-judgement during a run of semiquavers, how the breath can get trapped, the bow-hand shake, and how fear of failure can completely inhibit our creativity. And, we each know it is possible to become free of these patterns and fully enjoy practice and performance.

This discussion will be recorded for anyone who cannot make the actual time.

We welcome musicians of all cultures, players of all instruments and musical styles, of all ages and all levels.

Meet the panel!

Alina Pogostkina, violinist and founder of Mindful Music Making

I first encountered mindfulness in my teenage-years. Already as a child I had to deal with enormous stress since I was a ‘child prodigy’, performing on stage at the age of 5 under huge pressure. I was always looking for ways to deal with the suffering that I was experiencing both on and off stage. I found meditation when I was about 18 years old and my journey has led me to discover so much more peace and connection to my inner truth. It really has changed my life. In 2018 I founded “Mindful Music Making”, a program, that supports musicians to heal, step into their creativity, and to connect more deeply to themselves and others. I wish for everyone to experience the benefit that mindfulness can bring to our lives.


Ruth Phillips playing celloRuth Phillips, cellist and founder of The Breathing Bow

I lived, as Mr Duffy did in James Joyce’ ‘The Dubliners’, ‘a short distance from my body’ for much of my successful cello playing career. Alerted by a natural consequence of this separation – severe injury – it was initially through yoga practice that I started listening to how my body wanted to move rather than constantly bossing it around, creating only tension and resistance. This naturally deepened into an interest in meditation and, inspired in particular by the compassion-based work of Tara Brach, I found in mindfulness the compliment to yoga that not only transformed my own experience of practice and performance but also grew into The Breathing Bow. I have now been running workshops all over the world for ten years, helping musicians liberate themselves from the shackles of stage fright and tension. Along with my friend and colleague, Lucy Russell, I am now entering the second year of my training with Tara and Jack Kornfield to become a certified teacher of mindfulness. I am passionate about working with musicians!

Lucy Russell portraitLucy Russell, Prof. Baroque Violin, RCM. Leader, Fitzwilliam String Quartet

I first heard about Mindfulness twenty years ago and always wondered what it was but wasn’t curious enough to find out. I was embroiled with life, chasing about, addicted to and unsympathetic towards my own turbulent inner world. I was never ‘enough’, on or off the fiddle!  Several years later, a friend sent me home with a pile of books and audio material and the journey of self-enabling through a deepening awareness and a more tolerant and compassionate attitude finally began.
Tara Brach has featured large on my journey. She has been my ‘go to’ person when I have felt troubled and in need of support. Her wisdom, humility and calm have been balm to my soul over and over again and I leapt at the chance to train to become a teacher when it was offered. The training is rich, diverse, thought-provoking and life-changing and I’m loving every step along the way.

I have always felt that what I could apply to myself in a meaningful way (with or without a violin in hand), I would surely want to share with others! There is no secrecy around finding ways to change the landscape of our inner turmoil …there is only celebration in suggesting and sometimes enabling small changes to the quality of someone else’s life. I am committed to this path and to sharing with others.

Rebecca Herman, cellist and mindfulness researcher

I first encountered the work of meditation teacher Tara Brach on a Breathing Bow retreat with the wonderful Ruth Phillips. Since then, I have become increasingly interested in the practice of mindfulness and how it can support musicians, both on and off the stage. I am currently pursuing a PhD at the Royal College of Music in London, researching how mindfulness can alleviate performance anxiety. I have run mindfulness workshops for students at the RCM, as well as musicians on the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Foyle Future Firsts scheme.


The ninety minute long session divides into four parts:

  • After an introduction we will have a brief meditation together. This is a way to start the session in an embodied way rather than just with our heads – a particular hazard on zoom.
  • A discussion on what we experience as the value and challenges of mindfulness for musicians,
  • Sharing your experience in small break out rooms and your questions in the larger group.
  • Open forum in which you are welcome to bring your questions and share your experiences win the larger group.

Practical Information

Who is it for: Anyone interested in exploring the benefits of mindfulness for musicians. Anyone who suffers from stage fright or self-judgement. Anyone, really!
Number of participants: unlimited
Length of session: 90 minutes
Number of sessions: standalone
Dates and times:11-12.30 on Thursday 9 December 2021
Cost: £5. Students are free.

Bookings will close 10 minutes before the session is scheduled to start.
Your tickets will arrive very quickly. If you can’t see them, please check your spam/junk folder.
On the day of the event Ruth Phillips will send you the Zoom link for the session.


9 December 2021
11:00 am - 12:30 pm GMT
Free – £5.00
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