workshops for musicians to bring ease to your playing
ad agio ('at ease') is a workshop series aimed at musicians to help you play and perform in a more relaxed and comfortable way, both physically and mentally. Experts in musician wellbeing will lead workshops in topics such as performance anxiety, breathing anatomy and techniques, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, injury prevention and treatment, mindfulness and nutrition.
Who are the workshops for? These workshops are for all musicians aged 18+, of all levels and genres. They are aimed at all players and singers who want to play with more ease, avoid injury, feel more confident and enjoy their playing more. The events are relaxed and supportive with plenty of time to ask questions and try out techniques. Read about past workshops and feedback from participants.
When and where are they held? Online - the workshops are held several times per year, in a short series of four or five sessions (one each week). In-person - workshops are held in Sheffield city centre. The upcoming October series consists of five online sessions, all on Saturdays EXCEPT for 'Becoming Music Strong' which is on Sunday 11th October.
How much are the workshops and how do I book? All workshops cost £25 per participant, with discounts for booking all the workshops in one series together. Places must be booked in advance using the booking form.
Saturday 3rd October 2020: Performance Anxiety - a new approach with Martin Lawrence, 2-5pm UK time
Martin Lawrence is a horn player in the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, a musical coach and has just completed a PhD researching performance anxiety. Martin's research has led him to a thought-provoking conclusion: Your performance anxiety is a new and interesting musician trying to get out! Following a popular workshop with us in July, Martin is returning to run another session sharing his approach to putting this conclusion into action.
Come and find out how your performance anxiety can transform you as a musician. We can work with your performance anxiety to find out what it means for you. We won’t suppress any symptoms, we will bring them out, play with them, take them on a ride to find their hidden message - a message that could help you be the musician you always wanted to be! Performance anxiety can be the key to your artistic development. In this workshop, Martin will work one-to-one with three musicians whilst other attendees observe, learn, contribute and discuss.
"Martin was so kind, knowledgeable and full of insight", "So much learning, music and companionship crammed into three hours".
Sunday 11th October 2020: Becoming Music Strong with Angela McCuiston (online), 2-5pm UK time
Angela McCuiston is a NASM-CPT, CES, SFS and CETI-CES (Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Senior Fitness Specialist and Cancer Exercise Specialist) and owner of Music Strong, a business that specializes in personal fitness training for musicians. Angela received her Master of Music in Flute Performance from Florida State University and her Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from Tennessee Technological University. An avid performer, Angela is Assistant Principal/Piccolo of Sinfonia Gulf Coast of Destin, Nashville Philharmonic, Columbus Symphony and Nashville Flute Choir. Joining the military soon after 9/11 she recently became a member of the 313th Army Band in Huntsville, AL, after completing a 16-year tenure in the 129th Army Band in Nashville, TN.
As a trainer, Angela maintains several training locations in Nashville and also travels to give her workshops and presentations, most notably presenting at the National Flute Association Conventions and at Universities across the USA. Recently she was sought out by the Old Guard, Army Fife and Drum Corps as a special consultant to prevent playing related injuries. She has since taken up residence on the faculty of the Stetson University flute camp and has been appointed as Chair of the National Flute Association Performance Health Committee. In February 2019 she published her first book: The Musician’s Essential Exercises.
In this workshop, Angela will cover basic anatomy as it relates to the musician, incorporating body awareness methods and covering the basics of weight lifting form. We will end with several basic exercises you can use in a warm up or as a workout alone to prevent or overcome injury.
Saturday 17th October: Meditation, mindfulness, self hypnosis and much more, strategies to unhook yourself from that pesky inner voice! with Jean-Paul Wright (online), 2-5pm UK time
Jean-Paul started the flute when he was 9 years old where he quickly found a passion for as he called it ‘The sideways blowing tube’. After the completion of his academic studies, he moved to London where he studied the instrument with the George Crozier and Jim Dower. In the years since, he claims, like many musicians, to have performed on radio and television in many of the major concert halls throughout the world. He has tutored and given masterclasses at music events in the UK and also overseas.
It was a moment of performance anxiety on a live BBC radio broadcast in 1984 which began what has turned out to be a long journey of understanding (which he is still on). He qualified as a Clinic Hypnotherapist 25 years ago, studied NLP with its co-creator Richard Bandler and has spent many years searching for strategies to help musicians understand the power of their mind over performance. He is a passionate advocate of ‘mindfulness’ for musicians and ‘Taming that pesky inner voice’. Since 1995, he has worked with sportsmen, actors and musicians on strategies to overcome a pending performance or event and has given many classes on ‘Calming the Inner Voice’, ‘Thought Unhooking’ and the use of ‘Marginal Gains’ for musicians using the mind as the root. On hitting 50, he decided to ease up a little and now spends his time attempting to get stripes on the lawn, meditating, blowing bubbles and messing around with his beloved camera.
For his day job, Jean-Paul is managing director of the international musical instrument company Worldwind Music and is the global creative director for the TJ instrument brand. He is host of the popular ‘Talking Flutes’ podcast channel and is the creator of thehappyflutist.com website for stressed and anxious musicians. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Worldwind Music Charitable Foundation. His interests are walking, reading, people watching and not taking himself too seriously.
In this workship, Jean-Paul will attempt to demystify the process of mindfulness, self-hypnosis, meditation and will include exercises, examples and tools for everybody to discover which works best for them in their quest to slow down and take more control of their music-making.
Saturday 24th October: What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body®with Kelly Mollnow Wilson (online), 2-5pm UK time
Kelly Mollnow Wilson teaches musicians to move with ease and comfort, which allows them to deliver musically convincing, effective performances. She teaches Body Mapping for Musicians at Oberlin Conservatory as a Licensed Body Mapping Educator, teaches private flute lessons and performs in Northeast Ohio. As the owner of Precision Performance and Therapy, she uses her skills as a Neurokinetic Therapy practitioner to help musicians with pain and discomfort. Ms. Wilson holds a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Baldwin-Wallace College. Her teachers include Katherine Borst Jones, Mary Kay Fink and Liisa Ruoho. Ms. Wilson has nine years of teaching experience in the instrumental music department of the Wooster City Schools in Wooster, OH. She is the lead author/flute author of Teaching Woodwinds: A Guide for Students and Teachers (http://teachingww.com/) and serves on the NFA Performance Healthcare Committee.
Musicians move for a living. All of the sounds we make are produced by some sort of movement, yet most musicians are not taught how the body works in movement. Body Mapping is a tool that performers and teachers can use to enhance performance, maintain wellness, and prevent injury and discomfort. In this workshop, participants will learn how to use bones and muscles efficiently, identify common Body Mapping problems that instrumentalists and vocalists have and learn how to solve them, and uncover global relationships between arm/leg use and breathing and discover strategies for self care. Many people are experiencing wrist, arm and/or neck pain due to the increase in computer time and there are movement choices that can be made to minimize this stress. Armed with this information, playing any instrument or singing becomes easier and more natural, advancement is easier and injury can be prevented. All musicians who want to play or teach better, eliminate aches and pains, and reach new levels of musicianship are welcome.
31st October 2020: AndBreathe - performance anxiety, exam nerves and creating a more positive approach with Gillian Watt Gillian Watt began her music studies at Napier College, Edinburgh, in 1980 before being given the opportunity to continue her studies in the USA, where she gained a MMus in Flute Performance from Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois.. Her first professional post was as piccolo player at Disneyland, Anaheim, CA, so it has been all downhill ever since! She has performed in chamber ensembles, orchestras and solo recitals on both sides of the ocean but her true passion has always been as a flute teacher. She taught for many years at the University of Aberdeen and is now flute teacher at Aberdeen City Music School, in addition to her private students. Alongside her career as a musician, Gillian has had a couple of career changes along the way, including becoming a primary school teacher and head teacher. She has always been passionate about health and wellbeing and after having Sepsis a few years ago, re-trained and now works as AndBreathe. Her mission is to share the tools she has used, so that when others experience tricky times, they will have their very own toolkit. Her tools include EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Reiki, Mindfulness and 16 Guidelines, using the outdoors and woodlands skills as often as possible.
Gillian says "as a young flute player, I suffered from performance anxiety, which was a big problem for someone whose degree was ‘Flute Performance’. During my studies at NIU, a visiting lecturer introduced me to what she called ‘deep relaxation techniques’. It was the first time I understood that we can train our minds to change our brain. From that moment on, my nerves have not been a problem. Yes, I still get the adrenaline rush, but I do not have the dry mouth or sweaty palms that plagued me all those years ago. I am now trained in a variety of techniques that nurture and support mental health and look forward to sharing the techniques with you. These techniques will include EFT, Mindfulness and 16 Guidelines. In this workshop, I will be specifically focussing on performance anxiety, exam nerves and creating a more positive approach to life. It will be an interactive event and I would ask anyone with performance anxiety to consider volunteering to work with me on the day. We will hopefully have time for a few volunteers".
Fees: One workshop - £25 Any four workshops - £90 Any five workshops - £110 We are aiming to offer some reduced-price places to musicians on a low income - if you would like to make a donation to help a musician attend the workshops, you can do this when you buy your ticket or click 'donate now' at the bottom of this page. If you would like to attend but need the support of a reduced-price place, please contact email@example.com