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Performing Beyond Fear

by Madeline Bruser

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Introduction 19:48


The Performing Beyond Fear exercise is a powerful, unique, 7-minute exercise that shifts your focus from self-consciousness to generosity onstage, rousing confidence and bringing out your deep communicative power. Recorded live at the Art of Practicing Institute's 2017 summer program at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, this audio includes an enlightening introduction as well as a Q&A session with program participants that provides further insight into issues of performance.

Designed originally for musicians, the exercise has also been used by actors, public speakers, lawyers, business people, and others, to help them bring their best self into challenging situations in which they feel on the spot.

If you are using the exercise in a nonmusical context, think of the idea of "lineage" as the people who have passed down wisdom to you, or who have inspired and encouraged you in developing your abilities. And think of your "audience" as the people you want to reach or communicate with.

The exercise can be used effectively in the minutes, days, or weeks before a performance, and also as a daily practice to cultivate confidence and to strengthen your connection to your unique communicative power.

Performing Beyond Fear was developed in 2006 by Madeline Bruser as an adaptation of specific, powerful aspects of meditative practices in the Buddhist tradition. She has been teaching meditation in secular contexts since 1985.


"While what every musician wants most deeply is to communicate without holding back, the moment of performance can be the hardest time to remember how to do that. This exercise allows me and my students to tap into something even bigger than our fear – the goodness and power of the human heart."

Nora Krohn, violist, New York

"This powerful practice transforms our fear of judgment, and our perception of the audience as a threat, into an uplifting awareness that we and our audience are joined in sharing a deep musical and human experience."

Cathy Baerg, Flute Faculty, Carleton University, Ottawa

"This exercise will show you who you really are as a musician and how precious and unique you are as a human being."

Xose Miguélez, jazz musician, Galicia, Spain

"The Performing Beyond Fear exercise is a powerfully transformational tool for artists of all levels of expertise. Madeline Bruser has created a profound practice through which musicians can connect with their inspiration, creativity, and authentic presence. The resultant experience of appreciation, confidence and generosity elevates the performer's expressive potential and genuineness."

Stephen Burns
Artistic Director of Fulcrum Point New Music Project
Adjunct Faculty Northwestern University Bienen School of Music
Visiting Lecturer Amici della Musica Firenze
Certified Teacher of the Art of Practicing
Yamaha Performing Artist

"When faced with all the anxiety and fear that arise before a performance, the Performing Beyond Fear exercise reconnects me to myself. It reminds me that I belong, that I'm loved, and that I have something special to give my audience. In a word, it is empowering."

Tracy Stuchbery, pianist and choral conductor, Toronto


released December 1, 2017

Audio recording: Louis Yungling
Audio editing: Alex Rodriguez; Park Avenue Post
Music: Fantaisie-Impromptu, by Frederic Chopin, performed by Madeline Bruser
Voiceover: Parlan McGaw
Cover photo: Louis Yungling
Cover art: Jeanne Weierheiser


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