The Way of the Peaceful Musician 

How to Cultivate Health, Harmony, Freedom & Excellence
in Your Music-Making with the Alexander Technique


The 2024 MBMS Summer Retreat

What: A 6-day residential retreat focused on the practical application of the Alexander Technique to music-making and life

When:¬†July 16th ‚Äď 21st, 2024 (arrive late afternoon on July 16th; depart noon on July 21st)

Where: The DeKoven Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin

Who: Adult (18+) musicians, including instrumentalists, vocalists, teachers and conductors

Why: To have a more harmonious, healthy and peaceful experience of making music 

Faculty: Michael Hanko, Peter Jacobson, Kayla Leichty & Eleni Vosniadou

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 Guitarist & Singer Kevin Kelly Kahelain lights up during a lesson with faculty member Eleni Vosniadou


          

Become a Peaceful Musician


Dear Fellow Musician, 

I like to think that making music is mostly¬†about relationships. It's about how we relate to the score, the meaning of the music, the text (if there is one), our colleagues, the audience and our instrument or voice. Yet there's one relationship¬†that's the most important of them all ‚Äď the relationship we have with ourselves ‚Äď our mind, body and soul.¬†

In my work with musicians over the past 20+ years I've learned that many musicians have a strained and sometimes even dysfunctional relationship with themselves. This not only creates a lot of unnecessary mental and physical suffering but can also be a barrier to achieving one's highest potential. I should know. I used to be one of these musicians. In fact, I had become so accustomed and resigned to the constant self-judgment, doubt and anxiety that I didn't even realize there was another way. 

But after discovering the Alexander Technique over 20 years ago, I discovered there is another way, one that allows us to make music from a place of peace, self-kindness and joy. And that's exactly what we'll be exploring at the 2024 MBMS Summer Retreat, titled "The Way of the Peaceful Musician."  

Over these 6 days, you will learn how to create a more peaceful relationship within your whole self and with all the other aspects of your music-making. Becoming a more peaceful musician cultivates four key qualities:  

  • Health ‚Äď a feeling of inner strength, well-being and vitality
  • Harmony¬†‚Äď a sense of calm, confidence and self-kindness
  • Freedom ‚Äď the¬†ability to be fully and authentically expressed¬†
  • Excellence ‚Äď the¬†capacity to access your fullest potential in any moment

How exactly will you do this? By learning and embodying the core principles of the Alexander Technique, a tried-and-true method that performing artists have used for over a century to enhance and optimize their artistic work. Our instructors will also draw on other relevant and complementary fields of study like human anatomy and movement, neuroscience, peak performance, skill acquisition, best practices in music learning and more.

We want this event to be more than just a nice experience for you. Our primary goal is that you leave equipped and empowered with lifelong skills that you can use at any time, in any place and in any situation, musical or otherwise.

Though the¬†primary focus of this retreat will be¬†applying Alexander Technique¬†to the activities of music-making ‚Äď playing, singing, rehearsing, practicing and performing ‚Äst there will also be ample space to explore other daily life activities like walking, sitting, standing, computer use, etc. through the lens of¬†this work.¬†

Make no mistake, this work goes¬†deep. Significant ‚Äď sometimes even life-changing ‚Äď transformations are more common than not. At the same time,¬†this work¬†is all about lightness. We like to¬†adhere¬†to¬†what¬†F.M. Alexander said: "This work is too serious to be taken seriously."

In addition to the core coursework in the Alexander Technique, you also have the option of participating in 2 elective options: 

  • The¬†Peaceful Performer ‚Äď additional classes on using Alexander Technique principles to address common performance issues like performance anxiety, stage presence, memorization, relating to the audience, emotional expressiveness and body freedom.
  • The¬†Peaceful Teacher ‚Äď additional classes for music educators and studio music teachers about how to practically use Alexander Technique principles in your music instruction.¬†

This retreat will be the perfect opportunity to get away from the demands of your daily life and make an investment in yourself, your musicianship and your quality of life. 

I invite you to take some time to read more about this event below. If you have any questions or would like to speak with me directly about this event please send me an email and we can arrange a time to speak.

With Music & Love, 
Peter Jacobson
Founder & Director
The Mind Body Music School

Summer retreat participants playing together

Who It's For


This event is open to all music educators and musicians (18+) ‚Äď vocalists and instrumentalists.¬†

Our events typically attract music teaching professionals and/or musicians (amateur, semi-professional or professional) who are serious about their craft. The people that get the most of our events have a strong desire to learn and grow inside of a supportive community.

We warmly welcome musicians with no experience in the Alexander Technique as well as intermediate and advanced students of the work, including Alexander Technique teacher-trainees and teachers. 

If you're wondering if this event would be a good fit for you, write us a message.

Retreat participant Emily Soule letting her voice soar

About the Retreat


What You'll Learn


Here are the some of the benefits you can expect to experience in this retreat (based on past student's reports):

Greater Confidence & Self-Worth

  • A stronger sense of personal and artistic self-worth
  • A deeper connection with your artistic purpose
  • Improved self-confidence ‚Äď more courage and less fear¬†

Improved Musicianship & Expression

  • Improved musical and technical skills
  • More authentic¬†musical expression and storytelling
  • Better¬†listening skills

More Body Freedom

  • A¬†reliable way to free your body from unwanted tension
  • A deeper understanding of¬†how your whole body works
  • Music-making that is relaxed, free and unencumbered

The Daily Schedule

(Subject to change)

Morning

  • 7:00am ‚Äď 8:00am¬†Morning Meditation &¬†Movement¬†(Optional)
  • 8:00am ‚Äď 9:00am¬†Breakfast
  • 9:00am¬†‚Äď 10:00am¬†Opening Session ‚Äď Games & Activities (Large Group)
  • 10:00am ‚Äď 1:00pm Learning & Embodying the Core Principles (Small Groups)

Afternoon

  • 1:00pm ‚Äst2:00pm¬†Lunch
  • 2:00pm ‚Äď 4:00pm Flex Time: Individual Practice, Ensemble Rehearsals, Private Sessions or Free Time
  • 4:00pm ‚Äď 6:00pm Elective Sessions (Small Groups)

Evening

  • 6:00pm ‚Äď 7:00pm¬†Dinner
  • 7:00pm¬†‚Äď 9:00pm¬†Evening Activity or Free Time¬†

NOTE: Day 1 & Day 6 will follow a different schedule.


The Activities

 

Celebrations of Music

  • We will have 2 separate¬†Celebration of Music¬†events on the¬†last two evenings ‚Äď one for solos and one for ensembles.¬†These events¬†are a great way to put into practice what¬†you¬†are learning in front of a friendly audience. During these events, we put the focus on connection with the audience rather than perfection. We truly celebrate¬†every¬†musician and what they¬†have to offer.

Community Performance

  • One of the other highlights of our retreat is a performance in the¬†local community, typically at¬†senior or¬†assisted living facility.

Morning Breath Meditation Sessions

  • Every morning, before breakfast, we will be offering optional Breath Meditation¬†Sessions to help you get centered and present for the day of learning ahead.¬†

Walks & Bike Rides

  • There will also be opportunities to go for walks and bike rides on the shores of nearby Lake Michigan. Depending on interest, bikes may be available to rent for a small additional fee with advance notice.¬†¬†

Evening Activities

  • The evenings are yours to do as you please.¬†We do offer optional activities like¬†movie night, game night, tango lessons, arts & crafts. There's also the option of various outdoor activities like bike rides or walks by the lake.

Retreat participants enjoying themselves during a large group session

The Faculty

The 2024 Summer Retreat Faculty (L to R): Kayla Liechty, Peter Jacobson, Michael Hanko, Eleni Vosniadou


Enjoy this conversation with Kayla Liechty, our summer retreat collaborative pianist

Video Poster Image

            

What Past Participants Say

  

 

"The retreat is right up there with the very top experiences of my life."

‚ÄúStill on my endorphin high from the retreat. People are still saying to me 'you are absolutely glowing!' 'It makes me SO happy to see and hear you SO happy!' 'Are you in love?!' The retreat is right up there with the very top experiences of my life. I can‚Äôt think of a better sixtieth birthday present to give myself, which is how I framed it when I decided to sign up. (My birthday was a week later.) Magnifico!‚ÄĚ

‚ÄďLynn Lanese, Singer¬†

 

"Before this experience, I was going through a rough patch with my own confidence as a musician..."

"...but much of the program focused on self-care and self-kindness, and I feel like this allowed me to focus inward and find ways to embrace my singing and work on a new level. I left the retreat with a more open heart and a stronger sense of self-worth.  I am eager to continue learning from these teachers and students!"

‚ÄďNadine Gomes, Singer & Voice Teacher

 

"Thank you for an incredible learning experience."

‚ÄúWhere to start? I have not had this much fun learning something new. I feel like I have found long lost family. You three leaders did such a great job guiding us through the week. I loved the concert that we gave to the nursing home. Listening to the soloist and being part of the chorus was wonderful. I think the highlight for me was the New Talent and Fran's morning sessions. When I share my week experiences, I light up and move my arms with much excitement. Everyone loves the play by play of the week‚̧ԳŹ. Thank you for an incredible learning experience.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄďLinda Ransom, Singer

 

“Watching others' transformations was so exhilarating and informative."

"When I came home, I was a better teacher, taking more time to listen and to not worry about having all the answers right away. My own singing the next Sunday, after two weeks of not singing before, was relaxed, free and unencumbered.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄďLisa Rogers Lee, Singer & Voice Teacher

 

"It was absolutely worth every penny and I would recommend it to any and every singer..."

“This retreat gave me a new outlook on how I view my personal relationships with those around me from day to day, but especially with other musicians. I am so happy that my experience at TVF has given me new insight to how I can approach meeting other singers. My sincere hope is that I am able to bring the light and positivity of TVF with me to school and any future singing I do, not only for myself, but for those around me. building people up and really connecting with my colleagues is my number one focus!

Other than that, I just want to say that I do really appreciate you letting me be a part of TVF this summer. It was absolutely worth every penny and I would recommend it to any and every singer, as long as I know they have an open mind and a kind heart! The retreat was so uplifting, it made me feel support in a field where support is seldom found, and I got to learn about the Alexander technique which is something I have always been curious about!‚ÄĚ

‚ÄďEmily Soule, Singer

 

“I LOVED the retreat." 

"I learned so much about myself, perhaps most significantly that I could give myself permission to do (or not do) some things.¬† That seems basic when I see it in writing, but in the context of self-care, it was a radical realization for me.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄďMargaret Quinnette, Singer

 

“The retreat was a very positive experience for me. I was so inspired by other teachers and artists."

"There was a balance of musical concepts and connecting with ourselves as a person. The highlight for me was the explanations and the circle singing. This retreat made me want to find a deeper connection with my inner compass. Also learn more about the human body.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄďYedda Hay, Singer & Teacher

 

"I felt like it didn't matter that I am not a professional, but felt like what I thought and felt was valid.‚ÄĚ

“I loved the casual masterclass atmosphere, the way everyone was treated with love and respect, and as if we were the only one in the room. The opportunity to explore our creativity was welcome, and way more fun than I thought it would be. Activities that encouraged play are not usually something that I enjoy, but since this was a judgement free zone, I felt more comfortable."

‚ÄďMartha Springstead, Pianist & Choral Director

 

“Because of the safe and trustworthy space created for freedom of exploration and discovery, I was able to lay aside my former self-judgement and fear of mistakes."

"When it came time to perform in front of everyone, I was not even thinking about the fact that there was an audience present, and I wasn’t nervous. My intention for every performance was to provide every possible aspect of support to the singer while creating beautiful music and a satisfying, enjoyable performance experience. Because I had not rehearsed with them, I gave full permission (to both myself and the singer) to expect mistakes and imperfections; this resulted in the ability to completely ignore or let go of those things as they occurred, and allow myself to be totally present in the joy of making music. It is truly one of the most rewarding things I’ve experienced in 40 years of music-making."

‚ÄďDeb Logan,¬†Pianist & Choral Director¬†

 

“My experience of the retreat was an immersion in living and learning in grace and truth..."

"...of finding song and substance/soul within and seeing with new eyes, listening - opening, a blossoming awareness and connectedness to the beauty of our oneness in sound and being. There was joy in the simple things; the tiny shifts in mind and body which led to peaceful ease, the healing touch of a loving hand, a look shared between friends. I found comfort in being included, and noticed others finding it too. It was a safe space in which to begin to bloom and I gave myself permission to breathe free.‚ÄĚ

‚Äď"Mama Donna" Castaner, Singer & Teacher

The DeKoven Center


The retreat will take place at the historic DeKoven Center in Racine, Wisconsin, located right on Lake Michigan. It's quite a magical place; we like to think of it as "The Hogwarts of the Midwest!"  

There is an easily accessible bike path. Bikes will be available to rent with advance notice.

Lodging

  • Single, double and triple rooms are available.¬†
  • The accommodations¬†are simple, clean and comfortable.
  • Bathrooms¬†will be shared¬†by up to 6 people.
  • Unless you tell us who you'd like to room with, you will be assigned a roommate.
  • All rooms are air-conditioned.¬†

A double room at the DeKoven Center

Meals

All meals are included in your retreat fees. 

The DeKoven Center will gladly accommodate any food allergies or needs with sufficient advance notice. After you register, we will ask you to let us know if you have any special dietary needs. There will be a microwave and refrigerator available for personal use.

Getting There

Racine is about a 1 hour and 15 minute drive from the Chicago O’Hare Airport and about a 40 minute drive from the Milwaukee Airport.

There is free parking at the Dekoven Center.

We will be assisting in organizing ride sharing from the airports.

Arrival/Departure Times 

  • Arrival on Day 1: Plan to arrive at the DeKoven Center on Tuesday, July 16th between 3:00pm and 5:00pm. We will have dinner at 6:00pm followed by an opening session.
  • Departure on Day 6: The retreat will end¬†at 12:00pm on¬†Sunday, July 21st.

Retreat participants in the Great Hall during a movement exploration

Frequently Asked Questions


Do you offer continuing education credit?

At this time, TVF/MBMS does not offer continuing education credit. However, many employers allow you to submit your hours independently for approval. In that case, we will provide you with any official documentation you need on official MBMS letterhead. 

Do you offer certification through MBMS? 

Yes! We offer certification through The MBMS Prelude Program.

Are there scholarships available?  

Yes, there are limited, need-based scholarships available through an application process. To request an application, please write to MBMS director Peter Jacobson directly. 

Is it possible to attend only a portion of the event?

Due to the fact that we will creating a short-term community built on trust and safety, it is not possible to attend only a portion of this event.

What if I have additional questions?

If you have additional questions, click the button below to contact us and we'll get back to you within 2 business days. 

Contact Us Now

Registration Fees


Your registration fee (prices listed below) 
include all tuition, meals, and lodging.

Contact us directly via email to inquire about these following:

  1. Commuter rates (with or without meals)
  2. Monthly payment plans (10% fee applies)
  3. Need-based scholarships
  4. Group discounts of 3 people or more

Refund Policy

  • Refunds will be offered¬†before¬†May 31st (less a $150 admin fee).
  • If you cancel, for any reason, between June 1st and July 9th, you will be offered an account credit (less a $150 admin fee) that you¬†must use within 1 year towards any MBMS online program or live event.
  • If you cancel after July¬†9th you will forfeit your registration fee.
  • If you have a last-minute medical emergency or illness and need to cancel you will¬†receive an account credit (less a $150 admin fee).

Pricing & Registration

SINGLE ROOM

$1,995

  • Access to all retreat classes & events
  • Lodging in a¬†single¬†room
  • All meals (3 per day)
Register Now

DOUBLE ROOM

$1,745

  • Access to all retreat classes & events
  • Lodging in a double room
  • All meals (3 per day)
Register Now

TRIPLE ROOM

$1,495

  • Access to all retreat classes & events
  • Lodging in a triple room
  • All meals (3 per day)
Register Now

STUDENT/

TRAINEE

$1,195

  • Access to all retreat classes & events
  • Lodging in a triple room
  • 3 meals per day
Register Now