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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Oct 19, 2018

First Associate Concertmaster with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the creative mind behind Natesviolin, Nathan Cole has incredible insight on practice and performance preparation!  In this episode, he discusses:


  • His path, from Suzuki beginner, to Curtis student, to the LA Phil, via the St-Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony
  • How he organizes his time for productivity
    • The importance of scheduling
    • Utilize small pockets of time
    • Know when you are the most productive
  • How he prepares for practice – the importance of
    • having the right environment
    • Not separating the warm up from “playing”
    • Not separating practicing from performing
  • The importance of paying attention every time you are about to start a note
  • The importance of choosing repertoire suited to our level
  • How he takes a piece from start to ready
  • The importance of practicing etudes and to understand what the point of each etude is so we can focus on the proper skill to be worked on
  • How he problem-solves difficult passages
  • The importance of paying close attention to how things sound and feel – being present
  • Why it’s important to develop good communication skills with colleagues


ALL ABOUT guest:


Podcast Stand Partners for Life:

Nathan on Facebook:


The Inner Game of Golf by W. Timothy Gallwey

The Inner Game of Tennis, also by Gallwey

The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green



Nathan Cole, First Associate Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has appeared as guest concertmaster with the orchestras of Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Houston, Ottawa, Seattle, and Oregon. He was previously a member of the Chicago Symphony and Principal Second Violin of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. A native of Lexington, KY, he made his debut with the Louisville Orchestra at the age of ten while studying with Donna Wiehe. After eight years working with Daniel Mason, Cole enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music. In addition to his studies there with Pamela Frank, Felix Galimir, Ida Kavafian, and Jaime Laredo, Cole formed the Grancino String Quartet, debuting in New York’s Weill Hall. Several summers at Marlboro enriched his love of chamber music.

While in Chicago, Nathan taught at Roosevelt University and coached the Chicago Civic Orchestra. He is currently on the faculty at the Colburn School for the Performing Arts, with classes at the Colburn Conservatory and USC. His articles and photographs have appeared in Strings, Symphony, and Chamber Music magazines.

Nathan’s articles and videos on practicing, performing, teaching, and auditioning have helped thousands of violinists worldwide. In addition to his online teaching, Nathan is currently on faculty at the Colburn School for the Performing Arts, with classes at the Colburn Conservatory and USC. His articles and photographs have also appeared in Strings, Symphony, and Chamber Music magazines.

Nathan is married to Akiko Tarumoto, the LA Phil’s Assistant Concertmaster. Together they host the weekly podcast Stand Partners for Life, an inside look at orchestra life, which can be heard at Nathan and Akiko live in Pasadena with their three children.


If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review on iTunes!  I truly appreciate your support!

Visit for information about past and future podcasts, and for more resources on mindful practice.


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 producer, Bella Kelly!




(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which helps cover some of the costs associated with the production of the podcast.  Thank you for your support.)