Vicki Ambinder is a Music Performance Coach and Artistic Consultant. She helps musicians and bands of all ages, experience levels and genres improve and enhance their live and studio performance skills. She also helps musicians and bands work toward their artistic goals.
Our conversation touches on details of what she provides for clients as a performance coach. She explains what artist development means in her world and she details her compassion based approach. Vicki draws from her personal and professional experience as a musician, producer, session singer, songwriter, and actor. She teaches master classes and workshops in live music performance for music conferences, festivals, music schools, musicians’ organizations, music camps, and private groups around the country.
This glimpse into Vicki’s work offers musicians and performers much to think about.
I learned that Vicki is a big fan of The Beatles and George Martin, which endeared her to me right away. She also scored points with me for giving me permission to take a day off for the Thanksgiving holiday, a pause for this podcast. She tells me that giving permission is something she often does as a coach. I was and still am grateful for her gift of permission.
BONUS CONTENT (Follow-up Q & A)
Robonzo: If you were starting your music journey over from the beginning, what would you do differently?
Vicki: When I was 15, I decided to quit taking piano lessons after 10 years of rather serious study, because I wanted to have more time to do fun teenager things. When I got up the nerve to tell my piano teacher I was quitting, I was terribly afraid I would disappoint her. Instead, she was gracious and understanding. She told me, “Don’t worry. The time is right to do other things, and that’s fine. The important thing to remember is that you will always have music. You will always be able to come back to it whenever you want, and you will come back to it, in ways you can’t even imagine now. What you have learned here won’t go away. You will always have music.” What I would do differently if I was starting my music journey over would be to give myself the gift of taking my teacher’s very wise and kind words to heart at that moment, instead of feeling bad or guilty about my decision – because it turns out that music has been in my life in ways I never would have imagined, including eventually leading me to do the work I’m so fortunate to do today.
Robonzo: What habits or routines have best served you throughout your music journey?
Vicki: In a way, I think avoiding habits or routines has served me best throughout my music journey. By that, I mean I’ve tried not to get too stuck in one genre of music, or with one instrument, or in one area of the arts in general, at the expense of exploring other possibilities. The combination of things I’ve experienced – from trying several instruments, to collecting a wide range of recorded music over the decades, to being a member of many kinds of bands, to training and performing in theatre, to having careers in various fields in the arts and in media – informs and inspires me every day as a coach, and as a person in the world.