The Embodied Musician: The Art of performance Wellness

Date: 2016
Location: Vancouver International Song Institute, Vancouver, BC
Fee: Part of the program

To book a date for your institution please email me at or call at 604 679 6665

"Confident performance is not a fluke, but the product of imaginative and consistent synthesis of technical and emotional work".

Frank Wilson

With elite athletes it is commonplace to work with a sports psychologist. Musicians are now beginning to recognize that their mental and physical health is as important as the hours put into practicing their instrument. The Embodied Musician offers a comprehensive set of tools, practices and information to explore a variety of psychological and physical aspects of performance practice.

This is a discovery and investigation of internal awareness - body, mind and spirit. As we inhabit our whole body through experiential exercises that explore our thoughts and our sensations, we begin to discover what limits us. Then we can mindfully choose from a toolkit of techniques to let go and trust our true nature. The journey is toward freedom of expression. Befriending the internal world allows the performer to walk onto the stage deeply connected with the authentic self. This process allows spirit and creativity to flow freely through the structure of the music.



In our workshop, Paula honoured each person's uniqueness, providing astute guidance in a non-threatening way. We all came away understanding ourselves better, loving ourselves more and ready to address music and the next performance in a totally different way. Paula is magic! 

Harpist, Sunshine Coast, 2018

Paula Wise's course on addressing performance anxiety for young musicians was one of the most influential and inspiring experiences I have ever had relating to my own music education. Before working with Paula, I had quite debilitating performance anxiety - so much so that I have often contemplated leaving my musical pursuits because of it. Paula's course has changed this dynamic almost entirely. After working with Paula for three weeks, I now have the tools I need to handle and overcome my performance anxiety.
Music Student, VISI, Vancouver, BC

Working with Paula was for me in many ways the most important, revelatory, and life-changing component of the VISI program.  It is invaluable to have someone on hand who is qualified not only to help discuss and explore performance-related issues and the psychological nature of being a performer, but who can also help one in understanding the more fundamental roots of insecurities and blocks that affect our lives both personally and professionally.  After experiencing the positive changes that only a few short hours with Paula brought me, I wish that every music student could have this same opportunity - a safe and nurturing environment in which to learn how to accept and understand oneself better, and a mentor who can help one develop tools with which to deal with the inevitable stresses that come from life as a high achiever on a public stage.
Music Student, VISI, Vancouver, BC

You have touched lives and our hearts in more ways than one that is truly humbling and reminds us of our musical selves and beyond!
SUNY Fredonia, NY

Paula’s help not only made me a better performer but had an impact in my daily life as well.  I constantly use the relaxation techniques I have learned from her.   I am also more serene with life challenges of all kinds.  My stress level is much lower.  At last, I have rediscovered my love for practicing and performing, and my passion for music.  Without Paula’s help, I doubt I would have achieved my goals as a musician.  I am eternally grateful for her guidance, as it made me not only a better musician, but a better person.
Pianist, UBC, Vancouver, BC

Thank you from the bottom of my (now-expanding) heart for your work here at VISI. What you do turns a great program into one that is transformative, life-changing. Growing in self-knowledge is challenging work, but with guidance like yours it feels much safer to go exploring.
Musician, VISI, Vancouver, BC

About four years ago I had the privilege of attending the VISI program where I attended many of the sessions hosted by Paula Wise. I was so blown away by the importance of her work with performers that I knew I had to fly her out to my college in New York to do a session for the students here. To this day, as I come to the end of my masters degree, I look back on the notes I took during Ms. Wise's sessions four years ago. The fact of the matter is, every performer has some sort of anxiety or baggage that with the help of Paula they can work through. Being liberated from the chains of the things Paula specializes in (performance anxiety, self doubt, perfectionism) not only improves performance ability, but even more importantly by skimming those toxic thoughts off the surface, it allows things like JOY and FULFILLMENT to come to the forefront! Personally, I dealt a lot with the idea that in order to have a successful singing career I need to follow a certain formula and be perfect. In her sessions Paula stresses that no matter where we are in our walk of life- we are enough. I still have a sticky note on my mirror that I look at that says "You are enough". It is a great reminder to look at as I start and end my day. It is very hard to express the gift Paula is to performers, but the fact that I have been meaning to do this testimonial for 3 years and haven't forgotten, speaks to the impact those short few sessions have had on my outlook on performing and just life in general. Thank you Paula!

Voice Student, VISI, 2016

The embodied Professional: An Emotional Spa Day

Date: TBA
Location: Liberty Clinic, 245 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC
Fee: TBA

To book a date for your organization or be put on an email list please email me at or call - 604 679 6665

This workshop is a day retreat to deeply rest, restore and rejuvenate for therapists/teachers/nurses/doctors and anyone who supports others. As you support, guide and help facilitate healing for others, you must not forget yourself.
We will soothe the senses and release stress by exploring body awareness practices, meditation, breath work and grounding techniques. This will be interspersed with time for the delight of playing with art, movement and writing.

All the practices you will learn, you can then use with your clients/students/patients to help diminish symptoms of anxiety and stress. The window of tolerance for uncomfortable sensations in the body is then expanded. As we are able to be in the body, befriend what is present with kind attention, the body softens and tension is released.

Anxiety in Adolescents

Date: January 9, 2015
Location: Kitsilano Secondary School
Fee: Professional Pro-D day

To book a lecture at your school please email me at or call at 604 679 6665

"Stressed out" is a buzz word.
Anxiety is something youth talk about freely now.
The world is faster, more complicated and with that, anxiety has increased in our youth. Yet how do we really accompany those struggling with these very real and sometimes debilitating states. It is said that youth need three or more non-parental adult figures in their lives as compassionate and stable role models. Teachers and counsellors can have that important impact on these young individuals.
This presentation will give you an understanding of the causes, symptoms and management of anxiety in youth. You will be offered some tools that can calm the anxious mind and relax the tense body.

Words are not enough to convey how wonderful your presentation was to our staff.  In one staff member's words - "it is out of the ball park"!  Yes a sports metaphor but genuine.  I was vibrating all weekend due to the impact you had on our day.  It really was a gift.
High School counsellor, Vancouver, BC

Meditation, Body Practices and Process Group

Date: TBA
Location: Liberty Clinic, 245 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC
Fee: TBA

To be put on an email list for the next workshop please email me at or call at 604 679 6665

This workshop is an introduction to the embodied state. Our lives are filled with fast paced activity and technological distractions. This can leave us disembodied and in a perpetual state of wound up energy. The group will learn body centered meditation practices that allow us to slow down, pause and reconnect with our true grounded nature. We will explore our inner conceptual world and its unconscious impact on the way we move in our lives.

Paula, you're so accomplished and such a natural group leader, always pointing the way forward but in such a warm and gentle way. So, as a result, we could have full confidence in the integrity of the process and its various outcomes. Thanks for another rich, inspiring session - such a good group.
Meditation Group participant, Vancouver, BC