Musicians – like top sportspeople – deserve and need coaching and feedback in order to stay engaged with their development. Even (and especially!) the best players are continually looking for new ways to improve their performances or their performance experience. Knowing how music-making works doesn’t guarantee success. Expertise and confidence comes from continual exploration and development of techniques for practice and performance preparation.
My style of coaching is based on techniques I have developed connected to audiation and an external focus of attention – focussing on the intended musical result as well as on sensory awareness (rather than on controlling movement coordination or technical analysis). This involves mental training using auditory imagery and developing a rhetorical approach to learning repertoire. Developing a clearer auditory image and sense of what you want to say is the basis for technical and musical mastery. The aim is to be totally engaged in ‘task focus’ – leaving no room for doubt or anxiety.

For personalised coaching for improving skill, confidence and preparing auditions or performances as well as coaching and training for teachers on how to teach practicing: contact

Quality Practice Workshops

If you are not improving, it’s not because you lack innate talent.
It’s because you’re not practicing the right way.

Anders Ericsson

Quality Practice

A workshop about finding and exploring effective and creative ways to practise. This workshop is for enabling musicians and people who teach musicians to:

  • Understand the basic principles of psychomotor learning.
  • Introduce and share methods and strategies for practicing.
  • Find out what aspects are strong and weak in your own practice.
  • Learn more about teaching practising.

For information contact



A life changing concert experience

(From a soloist in the early music field)

Dear Susan, I had no less than a life changing concert experience, totally focussed on myself and on the music, really at ease and full of trust. (The) slow movement was such a deep Flow that nothing could go wrong! Tomorrow live on radio in the morning and Concertgebouw début at lunch. Will go on doing this. Thanks SO much!

(Next day)

Concertgebouw debut was just like I dreamt of it! But the best thing is what I learned about being able to trust myself more.

Audiation: Approaching music a language

(From a clarinettist from a major symphony orchestra)

After learning about audiation I decided to put it into practice straight away; the following day I was giving a performance of Messiaens’s Quartet for the End of Time. I will just give a few small examples:
The three notes marked fp and tenuto before the recap demand a certain attack and decay which responds to the acoustic of the venue. I wanted these to sound like gongs announcing the end of momentary freedom (expressed in the preceding music)  – so instead of giving myself elaborate instructions on how to produce these shapes ” breathe like this, attack for a certain duration, release” I simply imagined the sound of gongs and the feeling that I was announcing the end of time. The sustained decelerating 4th finger trill which follows can also be tricky: it can easily sound tight and less than fully resonant, and the pacing of the rallentando is critical. (I don’t find that any rallentando will do in this context.) Here I decided to focus on the image of the universe imploding in response to the sounding of the gongs and miraculously I was able to exactly achieve the effect I was after.
A curious by-product of thinking this way during performance was that I didn’t have to think about how to breathe, which is remarkable in eight minutes of sustained solo playing. By focusing on the image to follow I was able to breathe in the way that gave me the right attack and sustaining ability to convey the shifting expressions of the piece.

Coachings and Workshops

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13-14 October 2017Lectures and workshop

13-14 October 2017
Lectures and workshop

Lectures and workshop at the Fachdidaktik und Lehrpraxis im Austausch and at the Symposium »Challenge accepted. Herausforderrungen im Berufsalltag von Instrumental- und Gesangslehrkräften« in Graz

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