The Conscious Musician Seminar in Toronto November 4-9 2019!

Mind-body teaching principles for performing music

For advanced music students and professional musicians

Delivered by
Paulina Derbez

The Conscious Musician Seminar Presentation “Music without borders”

“The Conscious Musician Program is exactly the missing component to classical musical curriculums”

Y.Lee, M.Mus, Guildahll School of Music

“Rosa and Rogerio played so beautifully and with such passion and precision. All the students  were fantastic!”

Jacqui O’Casey, Iyengar teacher

From our 2019 Seminar

The Conscious Musician Seminar provides participants with strategies for their daily practice and for overcoming stage fright.

Paulina Derbez is an award-winning violinist, TEDx speaker and author of the book The Conscious Musician (Editorial Ink, 2014). She has taught violin classes and music workshops in Canada, Mexico, and Switzerland, and has been part of the faculty at the International Festival and Master Course Music in the Alps in Bad Gastein, Austria. Derbez holds a master’s degree in music pedagogy from Escola Superior di Musica di Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain).


Back in 1993, while studying in Switzerland, I had the good fortune to study with a teacher who gave me a solid technical grounding for the first time in all my years studying violin. However, this technical grounding was not enough to resolve all my problems as a performer. It was at that moment that I realized that my basic problem was that I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO STUDY. My only study method was to play slow and then faster. I was also terrified of playing in class. I realized that other students at the Conservatory suffered from the same terror: the terror of being judged in classes that were open to all students.

Then one day, while reflecting on why I felt so much tension while playing, the following thought came into my mind:

“Every musical problem is resolved first at the mental level” (Derbez, 2015).

This thought revolutionized my way of studying and relating to the world of sound. An amazing thing that happened to me at that moment was when I closed my eyes and saw myself, in my mind’s eye, playing with tension. I realized that because everyone always told me that I was tense when I played, I had internalized it, and my subconscious mind was recreating this reality on the physical level. That’s when I understood that I needed to transform my vision of myself with the violin and begin to use my mental capacities in a healthy way to make my studying effective and enjoyable. This was the seed of what later became my book The Conscious Musician. (Derbez, 2015)

In my experience as a teacher of advanced students I’ve realized that many of the challenges they face both in class and in public performances are related to their daily study method, which in many cases involves constant repetition without any understanding of why. It is this mindless repetition that leads to all kinds of tensions. This is why I believe it is necessary todeliver a program that addresses the challenges of daily practice of a musical instrument and that prepares advanced students for the stage using a holistic vision. Here is where The Conscious Musician Seminar has an important role in music education today.

General Objectives

The general objectives of the seminar are:

  1. Make students aware of the importance of physical wellbeing as a basis for an effective technique and expressive musicality
  2. Use mental metacognitive strategies to resolve challenges in practice creatively and effectively
  3. Develop the emotional dimension in relation to the performance of the musical pieces being studied
  4. Develop the ability to express themselves freely onstage and overcome stage fright
  5. Develop creativity in their musical/artistic performance

Paulina Derbez, M. Mus, Escola Superior di Musica di Catalunya


Concious Musician Seminar Testimonial
Rosa Romero performing Songs that my Mother taught me by A. Dvorak

I have a clear and close relationship with my instrument. And this is exactly what violin means to me. An instrument to express through sounds. I have found the way to connect with my inner creativity and to know exactly what I want to hear when I play. I am not worry any more about my technique because since I know clearly in my mind what do I want from a musical piece I know that my body will response in a natural way to that clear idea in my mind and that my ear will be my best guide in this process. I simply found my way of practicing and playing, a way that I have enjoyed every part every second.

My relationship with music has become much deeper. When I do visual motor rehearsal, I can see the pieces from above and understand how to phrase a musical piece. I see the violin to connect with other dimensions, to connect with the source of each musical work. I don’t compare my self any more with other violinists. I now believe that my mission as an artist is to show the audience other realities where they can also connect with the source of music and transform themselves in a musical event. I have become a sonic character on the stage and feel in my heart every emotion I want to express.

Rosa Romero, bachelor’s in music education University of Veracruz

Rogerio Pérez, performing Brahms Concerto in D Major
Rogerio Pérez, performing Brahms Concerto in D Major

I feel much more confident when I play. I feel more relaxed when I perform and now, I have a clear idea in my mind about the pieces I play. Now my relationship with music is fantastic and powerful. I have a closer and deeper relationship with music. My mission as an artist is to help people to forget in that moment about their problems and touch their hearts.

Rogerio Pérez, bachelor in violin University of Veracruz

This post is also available in: Spanish