His site is called the Bulletproof Musician, but when I shared Dr. Noa Kageyama’s article,  The Hidden Cost of Avoiding Failure, on my personal Facebook page, it obviously struck a chord (!) since many of the shares and likes were from friends who are not musicians.

I subscribe to a lot of newsletters, but The Bulletproof Musician is different, because every week I learn something.  Sometimes it is practical, like how to do mental practice, but sometimes it changes something more fundamental…

For example,  The Hidden Cost of Avoiding Failure looks at “failure-deprivation” and how it is related to character-building,  and while “not particularly fun … is there something about those painful, miserable experiences that makes us stronger? Or does it just undermine our confidence?”  Read the article to find out the details, but (spoiler alert),  there may be some truth to that old adage “…that which does not kill us (figuratively speaking of course), makes us stronger.”

Another excellent article is How Can We Develop a More Courageous Mindset? (Plus, the Secret of Life)

I know a few people who have printed that particular article and carry it with them everywhere.

Dr. Noa Kageyama started playing violin at age 2, performed his first concert at 5, and eventually studied at the Juilliard School.  While there he attended a lecture by a sports psychologist that marked the beginning of his new career.  He went on to get a Ph’D in psychology, gave up performing, and now focuses on the psychological aspects of practice and performance.  He is on the faculty of The Juilliard School in New York City and the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida.  He obviously works with musicians, but his clients also include athletes and others who want to achieve peak performance in their field. 

“Much of my work is divided between working with individual students and professionals in the performing arts, and high-achieving folks in other fields who likewise are seeking to exhibit better poise under pressure and maximize their potential in a chosen area of expertise.”

The Hidden Cost of Avoiding Failure is just one example of the scores of articles he has written, typically a new one every week, that are available free to his subscribers.  For example:

4 Handy Dandy Tips for Brainwashing Yourself

He starts the article with:

“Jesse Jackson once said “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.” Though I’m not sure how I feel about the Dr. Seuss-like rhyming scheme, I like this quote, and it’s consistent with both sport psychology research and what other highly accomplished individuals have said themselves (e.g. “If you can dream it, you can do it” ~Walt Disney). ‘Tis all very nice of course, but many of us run into a brick wall which prevents us from getting to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Where is this sticking point?  Getting your heart to believe.”

His take away from that article?  “Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.”  ~Mary Kay Ash



If you are already a musician The Bulletproof Musician will make you a better one.  But even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket you might find yourself looking forward to those weekly posts. 

All photos from The Bulletproof Musician’s site.

Article copyright © JD Cottier

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One Response

  1. Norma

    Never heard of him before, but I love what I have read so far. My daughter plays the piano and this will really help. I thought the one about the hidden cost of failure was really interesting. Given how often I have failed I should be a huge success any day now. At least I can tell everyone I have great strength of character. LOL


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