Performance psychologist Noa Kageyama is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and is a performance coach for the New World Symphony in Miami, FL. A conservatory-trained violinist with degrees from Oberlin and Juilliard before pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology, Noa now specializes in working with performing artists, teaching them how to utilize sport psychology principles and more consistently perform up to their full abilities under pressure.

He has conducted workshops at institutions ranging from Northwestern University, New England Conservatory, Peabody, Eastman, and the U.S. Armed Forces School of Music, to programs such as the Starling-Delay Symposium, The Perlman Music Program, and the National Orchestral Institute, and for organizations like the Music Teachers’ National Association and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. 

Noa’s work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, Musical America, Strings Magazine, Strad, and Lifehacker. He maintains a private coaching practice and online mental skills courses, and authors a performance psychology blog and podcast called The Bulletproof Musician.

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In this episode, we talk to Dr. Noa Kageyama about his journey from violinist to performance psychologist. He describes his early success with music, which led him to summer festivals, competitions, and conservatory, and shares the moment he realized that he did not want to become a professional musician. Noa’s story gives us great insight on how to be honest with ourselves about our true desires, motivations, and tendencies.

In this episode, we continue our conversation with Noa Kageyama about his decision to quit music. He describes how much lighter everything felt for him, as the work towards mastery would have never ended. We also discuss deconstructing the rigid structures of the music world and embracing making music for fun, both for professionals and amateurs.