Thursday, May 4, 2017

PercussionMind Revealed at PASIC 2017!

 Woohoo, y'all!!
On behalf of the Percussive Arts Society, I am pleased to invite you to participate in the 42 annual Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC® 2017) in Indianapolis, Indiana. This year, PASIC® will take place Wednesday, November 8 through Saturday, November 11 at the Indiana Convention Center. Your Professional Development proposal, “PercussionMind: The Mental Performance Habits of Today's Top Percussionists...and Where You Fit In,” has been accepted to be presented at PASIC17!
I am beyond excited that a current passion project, PercussionMind, will be revealed this year at PASIC.  If you want a quick summary of what it is, and learn about my collaborator, Mike Cerreto, check out the tab in the menu bar above. :)

PercussionMind is inspired by that long thought-journey taken as a young adult as you wonder what, exactly, suits you best in the professional music realm.  Here's a jaunt through my personal story:

In early undergrad, I thought I wanted to be an orchestral timpanist, as I loved playing timpani with a group; but, once I realized I couldn't tolerate the process of practicing excerpts, I learned that wasn't for me.  Then, I thought I wanted to have my own college studio and go straight through school, including a DMA; but, once I realized that my passions are a bit wider than only percussion, I learned that wasn't a good fit, at least directly.  I tried competitions as a soloist, thinking that would boost my confidence and provide a platform, only to learn that you are most successful in those situations when you no longer need them.

It feels important to say that right now, as an Instructor of Percussion at JMU (a part time position), I've stepped into a niche that allows me to challenge myself and students, all while sharing that in which I'm fluent and growing in that which has fallen by the wayside.

There are many reasons I've developed into a person who's highly reflective and observant (that's another post entirely!!), but suffice it to say that I've always been interested in practices that encourage wholeness of an individual, a commitment to "true-ness" in all actions.  A career, at least to me, is a natural extension of this desire.  So, it's no surprise that when I met a Performing Arts Psychologist I couldn't stop asking him questions.

Before Mike Cerreto became my collaborator, discussions started with wondering about whether or not there were certain mental habits that one needs to be successful in the professional percussion realm.  Naturally, there are behavioral ones: diligent practice, discipline, focus, and commitment.  But what about those things that are vital and inescapable to our inner worlds: self-evaluation, emotional distraction, intellectual worth, pressure preference, and extro/introversion?

It was these questions that we wanted to answer, and so, PercussionMind was born.

We are forever grateful to 28 professionals who volunteered their time in order to create this study.  Without them, PercussionMind wouldn't be possible.  They come from four performance domains/career paths:
          International Soloists,
          Orchestral Players,
          Distinguished Higher Ed Teachers, and
          Diverse Path-Makers.

Our analysis thus far shows that though there are certain traits all paths have in common, such as long-term focus, there are others that differ from domain to domain.  It's these differences that are of particular interest to us, mostly because they hold the most meaning for anyone who seeks to gain insight about their own mental habits, and how they can best be put to use.

PercussionMind is interactive, insightful, imaginative, and above all, important.  There's perhaps nothing more important than having an understanding and respect for yourself and your mind, and how they will help you fulfill your musical goals.

I look forward to sharing developments of PercussionMind with you little by little between now and November.  And when the time comes, Mike and I both hope we'll see you at our session at PASIC:
PercussionMind: The Mental Performance Habits of Today's Top Percussionists...and Where You Fit In.

Oh, and... May the fourth be with you. 

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