Performance Coaching explores practical techniques to enable teachers and performers alike to better understand and effectively manage performance anxiety. This will done through workshops, individual coaching and articles.



 Workshops will be presented by Derek Fennell

Teaching Reflections

As a busy flute teacher it is sometimes difficult to remember the reasons why it is so important to share my knowledge of flute playing with the young...and not so young. What is the value in someone learning how to play Kookaburra on the flute! There is a wealth of empirical data showing how music making can positively influence our higher cognitive functions. This knowledge can be lost when I’m in the trenches and showing a student for the seemingly hundredth time how to finger a high F# and play it in tune. It is healthier for me to be inspired by the cellist of Sarajevo, Vedran Smajlović and more recently by the cellist of Iraq, Karim Wasfi. These musicians play their instruments in environments that have recently experienced unspeakable horrors such as mass massacres, bombs, snipers etc. Smajlović decided to “daily offer a musical prayer for peace” amongst the war rubble of Sarejevo. For 22 days Smajlović played at 4pm at the site where 22 people were killed by a mortar bomb. Wasfi played in the blast centre of a car bomb in Western Baghdad that had killed a dozen people only one hour earlier. Wasfi’s and Smajlović acts of artistic defiance demonstrated to the world that no human force was going to have the authority and power to blast away their tender human response through brutality and sheer bloody terror. These artists remind me that teaching music requires me extend myself and learn to how resonate with my students and humanity. There is much in the world that is ugly, fractured and painful. As musicians and teachers we are in the privileged position of being able to bring beauty, refinement and provide an opportunity to exercise and develop our tender human response to our world. 

Derek Fennell

Performance Coaching