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Mindfulness Meditation for Musicians

Empowering Movement - logo for conference 2023

Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk

Hand Out / Document

We know that both peak performance and effective practice are achieved with mental calm and clarity. Some musicians seem to innately possess it: others must learn it. Mindfulness meditation helps to level the playing field. It provides performing artists the tools to manage performance anxiety, access mental quietude, and improve focus and memory retention. This interactive workshop requires a moderately quiet room.

The ability to redirect thoughts and manage anxiety helps all artists endure the marathon of developing our craft, the harrowing process of auditioning with both positive and negative results, and for working under a variety of circumstances. This workshop explores Koru mindfulness, which is based on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a secular, eight-week evidence-based program developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the 1970s.

Meditation has been proven through many recent scientific studies to change the size and function of the brain and has direct application to performers. Meditation helps performers develop awareness without judgment, key to reducing performance anxiety and to focused, effective practice.

While time does not allow us for a full overview of Koru—the complete class is a one-month sequence—attendees will have a taste of Koru by learning several of the skills taught in the class. A creative visualization mediation, which is especially useful for managing performance anxiety, will be included.

A meditator since elementary school, Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk’s dissertation explored performance anxiety management in musicians. While her own research helped her conquer a brief struggle with stage fright, deepening her meditation practice has made the biggest impact in both her own life and that of her students.

Dr. Hurst-Wajszczuk teaches annual seminars on wellness for students of all majors in the Honors College at UAB and leads two weekly meditation groups: one for students and the other through UAB’s Arts in Medicine program. Since 2019, she has presented over 50 mindfulness workshops online and in person. For more information, visit

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