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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Nov 8, 2019

In today’s episode, I wanted to celebrate 50 episodes in style by bringing someone who’s work has had a profound impact on generations of musicians: bass player and author of The Inner Game of Music, Barry Green.  I’m very happy and honored that Barry accepted to be on the show to have this very, very important conversation with me because his authentic approach to music-making has inspired and influenced thousands of musicians and redefined careers throughout the years.

In today’s conversation, Barry talks about some principles of the Inner Game, including what we should focus on, why we need to “Turn Up the Music” and how this simple act can transform our playing and change our life, how we can reach a state of relaxed concentration, how effective experience-lead learning is, and how to set effective goals.

He expands further on:

  • How “When you are playing the inner game, the quality of your experience becomes just as important as your actual success.”
  • How the only game we have control over is doing what we do best
  • How putting our focus on the things that we can control means that we can experience what we’re doing fully
  • How we can reach the state of relaxed concentration using:
    • Awareness techniques (what we see, hear, feel, etc.)
    • Commitment techniques (how well we prepare)
    • Trust skills (physical memory and advanced preparation)
  • Experience-lead learning: “Do” instructions VS “Awareness” instructions
  • Having more fun and accomplishing more while practicing
  • Setting productive and effective goals

It was a true honor to have Barry on the show and I hope you enjoy his wisdom as much as I did and walk away inspired and motivated!






YouTube videos featuring Barry and Inner Game principles: HERE


Barry Green, a native Californian, served as Principal Bassist of the Cincinnati Symphony for 28 years, and more recently Principal Bassist of the California Symphony and ‘Sun Valley, Idaho Summer Symphony. As former Executive Director of the International Society of Bassists, he is currently living in San Diego while teaching at the U. of Calif. Santa Cruz and active as a bass soloist, clinician and motivational speaker. Examples of his lectures can be found on his website at:

Green was the first bass soloist ever to solo with the Cincinnati Symphony in 1970 when he commissioned Frank Proto to write the Concerto for Bass and Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel. He has since twice appeared with the Cincinnati Symphony under the late Maestro Thomas Schippers who personally commissioned the Frank Proto Violin and Double Bass Concerto (with Ruggiero Ricci). In 1993 Green performed Jon Deak’s concerto Jack and the Beanstalk conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos. He most recently performed the Deak concerto in February 2005 with the US Air Force Band in Washington DC, Constitution Hall and Duluth Symphony. Barry is known for his creative and eclectic ‘Green Machine’ and “Green Man” concerts including the bass in jazz, folk, rock, funk, hip-hop contemporary and world music in combination with, dance, voice, art and theater.


Green has written three books on the ‘mind-body and spirit’ of performing musicians. He is author of the Doubleday book The Inner Game of Music, with W. Timothy Gallwey, and DVD (1986) which deals with musicians reaching their potential in performance and learning which has sold over 250,000 copies worldwide. He has written seven Inner Game of Music Workbooks published by GIA Music for keyboard, voice, instruments and ensembles. Green’s 2nd book, The Mastery of Music, Ten Pathways to True Artistry was published by Broadway/Doubleday in May 2003. The Mastery of Music is based on interviews with over 120 world famous musicians on topics of courage, passion, creativity, discipline, humility etc. It deals with qualities of greatness from the human spirit that transcend all professions. Jazz and classical artists interviewed include Dave Brubeck, Bobby McFerrin, Joshua Bell, Frederica von Stade, Christopher Parkening, Evelyn Glennie, Gary Karr, Jeffrey Kahane and many more.

Green’s most recent book (and DVD) is called Bringing Music to Life and was published by GIA Music. The book is exploring three techniques of breath, pulse and movement that allow the musician to channel expression through their bodies. This work is based on exploring creativity and inspiration through collaboration with the great improvisation cellist David Darling and his organization called Music for People.


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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!