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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Oct 8, 2021

I recently had the true pleasure of chatting with my former teacher: violinist and pedagogue extraordinaire Brian Lewis!  He is an exceptionally dedicated and passionate performer who is committed to growing the legacies of his own two incredible teachers, the great Dorothy DeLay and Dr. Shinichi Suzuki.

In our conversation we touched on...

  • How Brian’s artistic path has unfolded, from his own childhood studies to today’s pedagogical pursuits (3:13)
  • Teaching the language of music (11:50)
  • Practicing concentration, and the importance of shifting your focus to refocusing for optimizing your practice (13:00)
  • The legacy of Dorothy DeLay: how she empowered her students (including Brian) through positivity, removing judgement from her instruction, encouraging questions, and presenting the possibilities of playing to help young musicians sort out their own paths (15:01)
  • Leading teaching with love, and the lasting, negative impacts of “abusive teaching” (25:13)
  • Practicing habits (formed by DeLay and Suzuki) that helped set his playing apart, focusing on simplicity, the importance of listening, and repeating your own study of a score (30:01)
  • Brian’s advice for collegiate musicians to use your time in conservatory to prepare for a life as a professional musician (35:09)
  • The lineage of musicianship and importance of flexibility (42:15)
  • Brian’s answers to a series of rapid-fire questions, including consistent practicing, his most memorable performances, favorite practice room tools, and book recommendation! (44:10)



One of the most versatile violinists on the current scene, Brian Lewis is an exceptionally gifted and charismatic artist. "There are a lot of fine violinists on the concert stage today, but few can match Lewis for an honest virtuosity that supremely serves the music,” reports the Topeka Capital-Journal. Much sought after as a performer and teacher, Mr. Lewis concertizes and teaches around the globe, and is dedicated to growing the legacy of Shin’ichi Suzuki and Dorothy DeLay. Acclaimed performances include concerto debuts in both New York's Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, as well as performances with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Berlin (Germany), Louisiana, Kansas City, Hartford, Syracuse, Odense (Denmark), Lima (Peru), Boulder, Guadalajara (Mexico), Sinfonia Toronto (Canada), ROCO and American Symphony orchestras, among many others.   He has released six CDs, including as soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra of music by Leonard Bernstein and Hollywood composer Michael McLean for the Delos Label.

Mr. Lewis began his violin studies at the age of four, participating in the Ottawa Suzuki Strings program, and traveling to Japan twice to study with Dr. Suzuki. He received his Bachelor and Master degrees from The Juilliard School, studying with the renowned pedagogue, Dorothy DeLay. Mr. Lewis holds the David and Mary Winton Green Chair in String Performance and Pedagogy at The University of Texas at Austin. In addition, he is Artistic Director of the Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies at The Juilliard School in New York City, Artistic Director and Faculty and the Brian Lewis Young Artists Program held most recently in Fairbanks, AK. He has also recently held positions as the Class of ’57 Visiting Professor of Music at Yale University and Visiting Professor at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

More information about Mr. Lewis can be found at



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 PPP:

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!”



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



I encourage you to visit for a plethora of resources on mindful practice and information on how to work with me.

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