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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Dec 17, 2021

I can’t wait for you to hear this week’s conversation with the inspiring  Jennifer Montone.

Jennifer is the Grammy-Award-Winning Principal Horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and a world acclaimed soloist, chamber musician and teacher. She’s been on the faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School since joining the orchestra in 2006.     

She regularly performs as a soloist with orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Saint Louis Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the National Symphony, the Polish National Radio Symphony, the Warsaw National Philharmonic, among others.  She’s an active recording artist with several albums under her belt and she performs as a chamber musician in festivals and on stages across the world.

 In May 2006 Jennifer was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. She is also the winner of the 1996 Paxman Young Horn Player of the Year Award in London, England.  

 Jennifer shares fantastic insight in our conversation, including:

  • How Jennifer’s artistic path has unfolded throughout her career (4:10)
  • The importance of music in conjunction with education, and the education that can be taken from attending orchestral concerts (7:42)
  • What her life looks like as a musician in a professional orchestra, and how it differs from her early expectations (11:07)
  • How negative mindsets and nerves prevent us from improving, how to find a balance with your own mindset, and how she settles into her own (14:26)
  • Particular steps Jennifer takes when she knows she will be in a potentially stressful situation or performance to help tap into a “flow state” (21:35)
  • Why preparation for major repertoire (especially for the first time) should include learning the history and context surrounding its composition as well as studying the score  (29:16)
  • The balance Jennifer has found between her work and personal lives and how she achieved it (33:26)
  • What surprises her the most about professional orchestra life (spoiler alert: it’s the camaraderie of fellow musicians!) (39:45)
  • And finally Jennifer answers some rapid-fire questions, sharing the resistance she’s faced along her journey, advice for young musicians, her favorite warm-ups, advice she’d like to pass on to all the listeners, and an actionable tip you can try today (44:30)




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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