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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Karu

Welcome to "Mind Over Practice: Integrated Perspectives on Health and Performance"

Hey everyone! My name is Rebecca and welcome to my blog. I’m excited to begin this new journey and to start writing on interesting and relevant topics many of us experience in the performing world from a new perspective.

A bit of a background about myself…

I was born and raised in Toms River, New Jersey and studied music for pretty much all of my life. Currently, I am a French Horn player based in NYC and I am in the midst of receiving my Masters from the Mannes School of Music. My future goals and aspirations are to become a principal or third horn player for a major orchestra.

Now about my blog! Over the course of my college years, I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs with my playing and general performance ability. I’ve gone through issues with equipment, breathing issues, health issues, and not being able to sit or hold my horn comfortably. I went through phases of, “Maybe this is just the way it’s going to be. Maybe I’m not cut out for this.” I’ve studied different methods of how to improve my playing, how to face my fears, and how to perform at the top level. However, have I perfected a method of how to deal with each and everyone of these challenges I’ve faced? Not yet, but that’s what this journey and process is about.

During my Freshman year of college, I found myself with Don Greene’s book, Performance Success, in my hands, and ended up changing my major from Music Education to Music Performance. My Sophomore year, I found myself struggling with the equipment I used and switched to a whole new set up. Around the same time, I found myself in a singing class I took as an elective, where my teacher, Valerie VanHoven, told us about her musical journey and background and how she got to where she is today. VanHoven mentioned that she was also a certified Alexander Technique teacher. I didn’t know a thing about it until I asked if I would be able to study with her the following semester. And the entire experience changed my outlook on performance.

This blog is about the mind, body, and health of artists in performance.

Because of my journey with the Alexander Technique, which I will be talking about in depth in the future, my experience with horn playing has also changed, as well as my take on topics such as playing positivity and not being so critical of yourself, musician’s health and, of course, performance anxiety. Throughout my blog, I will not only be touching on my experiences, but I will be having guests who have been more than happy to share their experiences and expertise with me as well.

Featured Guests include:

  • Valerie VanHoven- Voice and Alexander Technique teacher at both Montclair State University and Kean University

  • Jillian Reed- Flute player and recent graduate of Bard College

  • Claire Worsey- Horn player, Bard College and Mannes School of Music Alumni

  • Michael Burner- Trombonist at The U.S. Army "Pershing's Own" Ceremonial Band

  • Maddi Lusby- Trumpet player and Juilliard Alumni

  • Grant Abelson- French Horn player, UConn Alumni and current student at the Mannes School of Music.

  • Melissa Cabey- Actress, Singer & Dancer, Coastal Carolina University Alumni

And many more...

Check back weekly for a new blog entry that will be posted every Saturday. And for now, have a productive week of positive practicing.

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