Thursday, June 21, 2018

Are your practice habits healthy?

I'm so excited for our upcoming Wyoming Summer Flute Intensive this weekend, and am in the throes of updating material for our workshops. We start every day with a not-rushed stretching session, some breathing exercises, and then warm-ups played as a group.  Not only does this bring a group of strangers together quickly, I hope it will also serve as a basis for healthy, well-rounded practice after participants leave. Here are some favorites from last year's sessions:

Breathing Exercises (which is heavily inspired by Breathing Gym)

Explore the Spaces: Isolate the different chambers you can fill with air—lower abdomen, chest, back/sides. Place one hand on your abdomen, the other on your chest, and work to push out each hand (meaning you are filling up) as much as possible.  Try this sequence: fill up for four beats each in 1. Lower abs 2. Back/sides 3. Chest. Add one beat of “slurp” breath to see how much more you can pack in, then exhale steadily. Experiment with shorter inhalation times and longer exhalation times as you develop this exercise. 
Suck-n-Pop: Resistance training for your abs! Create extreme resistance through suction by placing the back of the hand against your mouth, in the way of proper inhalation. Then quickly remove the hand, creating a “pop” sound and allowing for a quick, deep inhale.  Then exhale smoothly.  Experiment with shorter inhalation times and longer exhalation times as you develop this exercise.  (from Breathing Gym)
Time is Running Out: Breathe in for 4 counts and out for 4 counts.  Repeat once.  Breathe in for 3 counts and out for 3 counts.  Repeat once.  Breathe in for 2 counts and out for 2 counts.  Repeat once. Breathe in for 1 count and out for 1 count.  Repeat the 1-to-1 pattern as comfort allows. Quarter note = 60-88.

And although what we do is a bit more involved, this Mayo Clinic slide show has some pretty great stretches that you can easily personalize with your own variations to target specific points of tension! So here's to a summer of healthy practicing... 😊

Thursday, June 7, 2018

An Introduction to Career Coaching

What is Career Coaching, anyway?

Career Coaching has been around for decades in the business world, and it's finally starting to gain a foothold among creatives in this hyper-competitive market. And it's about time! Just as musicians spend thousands of hours in private lessons over the years to become better on their instruments, people across many career fields invest in career coaching, which may take the form of individualized counseling, group classes, specialized conferences, or a combination of all three, to hone their business skills and advance in their careers. Career coaches give advice on their topic of expertise with counseling techniques that support their clients in making complex career decisions and facing difficult challenges.

In the past, such practical advice might have been doled out sparingly in private lessons just before applying to graduate schools or taking orchestra auditions, but this advice was often limited in scope and depth. In our current, hyper-competitive musical climate, we are now seeing the emergence of a new, music-specific career coach.

I started Nicole Riner Career Coaching for Musicians in March of 2018 out of a desire to provide affordable, timely advice to help musicians take the next step in creating their unique portfolio careers. It stemmed from my experience working in academia, orchestras and recording studios; developing and promoting a private studio; founding and managing a chamber group and booking national concert tours; performing internationally as a soloist and chamber musician with corporate sponsorship; and leading non-profit groups in the arts, all just to survive in this business! (And along the way I realized this kind of flexibility was exactly what I wanted most in my life.) After doling out advice on the side for years to friends, friends of friends, and students, I realized there is still a need for more artists acting as official guides in our field.


Top 10 ways you can benefit from career coaching

  • Finding passion and purpose: who are you going to be?
  • Introduction to financial planning: how to get yourself ready to quit your day job
  • Creating your personal brand
  • Fight your fear: overcoming performance anxiety, shyness, and hushing your inner critic
  • Grant writing for the uninitiated
  • Painless networking strategies
  • Time management strategies
  • Getting started: promoting your group and booking tours
  • Developing a winning job application
  • Practicing your killer interview skills (mock interview experience)

(Psst, if this blogpost spoke to you, you can Claim your free 45-minute coaching session here and/or sign up for my free newsletter here to see what career coaching is all about!)