Our Aim 

The focus of this first edition is on ‘mindful music making and studying,’ as a basic skill for the 21st century musician. Our aim is to bring together people who are professionally engaged in the field of music (performance, creation, education, research, organization, and health care) and who wish to become part of a network and further develop their expertise. Bachelor and Master level students are also welcome.  

The benefits 

As more and more musicians become aware, mindfulness has a beneficial effect on healthy and creative music making. The program conveners, Peter Prommel and Henrice Vonck, are experienced mindfulness teachers at conservatories and in the professional workfield.

One of the most interesting practices for your unique body to produce your unique personal sound is mindfulness. Brandt Attema, trombone player Radio Filharmonisch Orkest and Nederlands Blazer Ensemble trombone teacher Hochschule für Musik, Karlsruhe

In those courses they meet students and musicians of two types: those who are ‘fit to perform’, for whom mindfulness can facilitate their quest for authenticity, creativity and optimal performance; and those who need to ‘return to perform,’ for whom mindfulness teaches a kind attitude towards themselves in a competitive environment, and helps them to find the right balance between challenge and ability.

In addition, mindfulness also supports teachers and staff to learn how mindfulness helps to create supportive ways of teaching, coaching and working together, to allow musicians to fulfill their full potential.   

The program 

The seminar will address these issues with presentations and workshops from a number of experts:  

  • Study Skills |  Focus and imagination, Wieke Karsten (author of In de Muziek
  • Body Awareness | Mindfulness of the body, Lilianne Koedood (owner of Nolet Fysiotherapeuten, physiotherapists of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra) 
  • Emotion Regulation | Wings of Trust, Paul Loomans (zen monk and owner of De Stressontknoping 
  • Awareness in Education |  Mindful teaching in professional education, Joyce Brouwer (social psychologist, educational advisor
  • Music & Meditation | Sound meditation, Marianne Svašek (teacher Indian classical singing at Codarts, Rotterdam)    

Workshops and presentations

Study Skills | Focus and Imagination
Making music, as a hobby or professionally, is a beautiful art form that creates space for you to develop artistically and mentally. And whether we practice, rehearse or perform, in the end what matters most is: how do we stay ‘in the music’?

In the workshop Focus and Imagination we will address this question and many others. What is focus actually, what happens in the brain when we focus and what does that mean for musicians? What is the connection between focus and imagination? How do we develop musical imagination? What is the connection between focus, imagination and artistic freedom? Can we influence how we feel and what we think when we make music, in our study room or on stage? In short, lots of questions that make us think about the ‘being’ of music making. Curious? Collect all your own questions and feel invited to join the workshop!

Wieke Karsten is a flutist and teacher at the Royal Conservatory Den Haag and the Dutch Flute Academy. In the last 25 years she developed the method ‘Making music, studying and the brain’ and gives lectures, workshops and teaches courses in the Netherlands and abroad. In August 2019 her book In the music was published and received with a lot of acclaim. The book is recommended to anyone who makes music and wants to know more about it. See www.wiekekarsten.nl for more information and reviews.

Emotion Regulation | Wings of Trust
In this workshop Paul Loomans will pursue the question how you can effortlessly influence your beliefs and behavioral patterns. He calls his approach ‘The inner metamorphosis.’ He shows how you can obtain a positive self-image by changing just a small but essential aspect in your relation with yourself. He explains how you can calm down the inner critic, get rid of people-pleasing behavior and procrastination. You learn ‘power spells’ that accelerate your growth rate. You let go of worries and live a life with an intense feeling of connection, freedom and trust. And finally he will tell you the most important lesson of Zen.

Paul Loomans is a zen monk, actor and trainer. His passion is researching how you can avoid and solve stress. He gives training to companies and organizations, and offers workshops to small groups. He wrote three books: Ik heb de tijd, handleiding in tijdsurfen (2013), awarded best spiritual book of the year, Goed gevoel, emoties als medicijn (2016) and Vleugels van vertrouwen, gids voor de innerlijke metamorfose (2021).

Awareness in Education | Mindful Teaching in Professional Education
In this workshop we use the principles of mindfulness to discuss a case from the teaching practice of (one of) the participants. After a brief introduction of different ways of (mindful) listening, we apply these methods to the presented case to further investigate it and come to a deeper understanding.

Mindful listening helps us to listen without judgment and to be more aware of all signals we might receive. We know from experience that learning how to listen mindfully and to think with the other person is just as helpful for the listener as for the one who presented the case. Joyce will ensure that we work in a safe environment. What is shared in the group, stays in the group.

Joyce Brouwer is a passionate educational advisor and program leader with 25 years of experience in higher education. In thinking about higher education she aims to establish an honest dialogue about what kind of education facilitates ‘real’ learning in a world that is becoming more complex. She is not just inspired by educational insights, but also by her background in social psychology. How do you create some scope to learn and develop, for yourself and for others?

Mindfulness of the body | Awareness of posture and mental status for the prevention of physical injury
This workshop offers insight into the most common physical problems of musicians that seek help in the Nolet physiotherapy practice.

It’s a great initiative. I think that it’s very much needed for anyone. Katarina Gaborova, psychologist MSc Conservatorium van Amsterdam

Many problems occur due to repeated strain on the body, wrong posture or excessive working hours. Most musicians ignore these small problems that then easily grow into bigger problems and which easily could have been prevented by thoughtfully handling the body. A stressful practice and stressful schedules are unavoidable. It is however important to learn how to respond to pain and to minor injuries. What are normal pain feelings, and what are the warning signs?

This workshop sheds light on better understanding when pain is acceptable and when it is not, which exercises help prevent or heal the pain, and when rest is needed. Lilianne explains how mindfulness is helpful in knowing the difference, and teaches you how to rest and recover more effectively.

Lilianne Koedood a physiotherapist and owner of Nolet Fysiotherapeuten, as well as a mindfulness trainer. Nolet is a leading physiotherapy practice in Amsterdam. The practice is specialized in assisting clients who need to be ready for optimum performance, like musicians or dancers preparing for a performance, or sportsmen training for a match.

Music & Meditation | Sound meditation
This sound meditation is an early morning meditation, based on an Indian vocal training called kharaj.

This vocal training focuses on awareness of sound, by singing different vowels, sustaining these for a longer period of time, and then ending the meditation in silence. Awareness of your voice, your breath, the sound you produce, the vibrations of the sounds in your body, all help you to be present from moment to moment.

I benefit from it in my daily practice as a human being, teacher, leader and professional musician. Richard Jansen, percussionist at the Balletorkest, percussion teacher Conservatorium van Amsterdam

Marianne Svašek studied dhrupad, classical Indian singing at Codarts Conservatorium, Rotterdam, with Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and Uday Bhawalkar. She also studied sarangi, a string instrument originally used for the accompaniment of vocal music, with Joep Bor and Pandit Ram Narayan. She obtained her diploma in both disciplines with honors. Marianne is affiliated as a teacher at Codarts, and teaches workshops and gives concerts throughout Europe, the United States, India and Pakistan. In a wooded environment in the Czech Republic she is building her own cultural centre, where participants can stay for workshops and classes of Indian classical singing.

Plenary and group discussions

In group and plenary discussions participants are invited to share and exchange their own wishes and needs, including their own insights to this newly emerging field of mindful music making and studying.

The Centrum voor Mindfulness aims to support the development of a new network in which expertise is documented and developed, possibly leading to an accredited professional development trajectory for musicians and music teachers, and a tailor made Mindfulness for Musicians training.  

For Whom 

The seminar intends to inspire and to provide a platform that allows for exchange and collaboration in the field of mindfulness for musicians. You are wholeheartedly invited to subscribe, and to connect to this new initiative.

Please feel free to contact Henrice Vonck if you have any questions, by mail (henricevonck@cvm.nl) or phone/whatsapp (06 52347843). 

Host and convenors

Henrice Vonck, Peter Prommel (program conveners) and Wibo Koole (director CVM)