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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Jan 24, 2020

Robert deMaine, principal cellist with the LA philharmonic, talks to us about his view on the various facets of practicing. He elaborates on:

  • The importance of courage, presence, and joy in practice
  • How to improve your playing at any time, in any circumstances
  • Practicing for auditions
  • Incorporating two aspects of preparation
    • Polishing all the nitty gritty
    • Letting go
  • How he gets himself in “Olympian” shape for auditions
  • The importance of “seeing the forest”
  • His view on devices – recorders, tuners, metronome, etc.
  • The cumulative effect of preparing for audition
  • The mental preparation
  • A strategy to “find” the motivation to start practicing (Read my own blog post on the topic , Commit to Ten, here:
  • His technique routine
  • How to make practicing excerpts personal and enjoyable


Don’t forget to visit the Mind Over Finger Resources’ page to check out amazing books recommended by my podcast guests, as well as my favorite websites, cds, the podcasts I like to listen to, and the practice and podcasting tools I use everyday!  Find it here:!


And join the Mind Over Finger Book Club in the Tribe!  We meet HERE, and we’ll begin 2020 with The Inner Game of Golf by Tim Gallwey!


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Los Angeles Philarmonic:





Robert deMaine is an American virtuoso cellist who has been hailed by The New York Times as “an artist who makes one hang on every note.” He has distinguished himself as one of the finest and most versatile instrumentalists of his generation, performing to critical acclaim as soloist, recitalist, orchestra principal, recording artist, chamber musician, and composer / arranger. In 2010, deMaine was a founding member of the highly acclaimed Ehnes String Quartet and completed several world tours and recordings with the ensemble. In 2012 he was invited to join the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Principal Cello. He collaborates often in a piano trio with violinist Hilary Hahn and pianist Natalie Zhu.

A first-prize winner in many national and international competitions, deMaine was the first cellist ever to win the grand prize at San Francisco’s Irving M. Klein International Competition for Strings. As soloist, he has collaborated with many distinguished conductors, including Neeme Järvi, Peter Oundjian, Joseph Silverstein, and Leonard Slatkin, and has performed nearly all the major cello concertos with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where he served as principal cello for over a decade.

His recording of the John Williams Cello Concerto (Detroit Symphony, Leonard Slatkin conducting) is available on Naxos. His forthcoming recordings include the complete works of Beethoven for piano and cello with pianist Peter Takács, the Haydn Cello Concertos with the Moravian Philharmonic of the Czech Republic, and a recital CD of Grieg and Rachmaninoff sonatas with pianist Andrew Armstrong.


DeMaine studied at the Juilliard School, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Southern California, Yale University, and the Kronberg Academy in Germany.


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Most sincere thank you to composer Jim Stephenson who graciously provided the show’s musical theme!  Concerto #1 for Trumpet and Chamber Orchestra – Movement 2: Allegro con Brio, performed by Jeffrey Work, trumpet, and the Lake Forest Symphony, conducted by Jim Stephenson.

Also a HUGE thank you to my fantastic producer, Bella Kelly!