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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Sep 24, 2021

This week I had the pleasure of chatting with Laurie Niles, a performing violinist, pedagogue, and the genius behind!  She founded the website in 1996 and, today, attracts more than 200,000 unique visitors each month and continues to bring together lovers of the violin and classical music from all over the globe.

Thanks to Laurie, we have been able to enjoy insight and information from the world’s best violinists for years. She is also an incredibly kind and enthusiastic person, and it was truly a joy to speak with her.

Together we discussed...

  • Her musical journey, including the advent of (2:59)
  • The community and stories of (6:30)
  • Laurie’s thoughts on developing skills and expression through technique in artistic pursuits (8:35)
  • What fluency in your instrument means (12:41)
  • Practice tips, routines, and “virtuous cycles” of joyful playing (13:41)
  • Laurie’s favorite takeaways from years of interviewing violinists (17:35)
  • The authenticity and experimentation required to be a happy and successful musician (22:43)
  • Advice for young musicians on the road to professional musicianship (25:41)
  • And finally, Laurie’s own habits, favorites, thoughts, books, and advice! (30:48)



Laurie lives in Pasadena, California, where she maintains a private studio. She free-lances in LA, and has played for the Long Beach, Pasadena, New West, Redlands, Omaha (Neb.) and the Colorado Springs Symphonies. 

She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University, where she studied with Gerardo Ribeiro, and a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Indiana University, where she also studied violin with Henryk Kowalski. 

In addition to her blog, she has also written articles for The Strad magazine, Strings magazine, Symphony magazine and the American Suzuki Journal.

Be sure to visit for Laurie’s blog, directories, community discussions and more!

Other places to find

And be sure to check out Laurie’s books, The Interviews Volume 1 and The Interviews Volume 2.



I’m excited to tell you that Practicing for Peak Performance is now available for download! Go to for access to all the tools that will help you transform your practice, gain confidence in your process, and start performing at your best. 

With the purchase of PPP, you gain:

  • Access to all recorded content - over 7 hours of instruction
  • Guidance in effective high-performance systems
  • Detailed handouts
  • For a limited time only, a free 30-minute consultation with me.

PPP alumnus Karmen Palusoo has this to say about it:

For a long time I have had this belief that learning an instrument is difficult and hard work or that it has to be, and there is no other way. Only a few weeks after PPP, I am starting to feel that change! My everyday practice sessions are now filled with freedom and ease!”


This fall, I’m opening the doors to a brand-new exclusive group coaching program, The Music Mastery Circle! Together we will create the most fulfilling musical experience you can dream of. 

More details will be coming soon. For now, know that I’ll only be taking a small group of motivating musicians with me on this adventure!  If this sounds like something you’d like to be part of, send me an email at for more information.



A HUGE thank you to my fantastic producer, Bella Kelly, who works really hard to make this podcast as pleasant to listen to as possible for you.

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.

Thank you to pianist-singer-song-writer Louise Kelly for the introduction!  You can find out more about Kelly and her creative work by visiting


As we head into this new season, I encourage you to visit for a plethora of resources on mindful practice and information on how to work with me.

Sign up for my newsletter and receive your free guide to a highly productive mindful practice using a metronome!