Body, Mind, Spirit Workshop
With Jeremy Wilson and Karen Cubides
Photo credit: Sara Bill Photography
I had the amazing opportunity of being a participant in the Body, Mind, Spirit Workshop, which was created by Jeremy Wilson and Karen Cubides. Jeremy is a trombone extraordinaire, a master teacher, and Associate Professor of Trombone at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. Karen is also a master teacher, life coach, speaker, saxophonist, owner and CEO of Karen Cubides Agency, and has her own podcast, The Musician’s Guide. The online workshop was held over a full and intensive five days from July 20-24, 2020. There were a total of 32 participants and auditors of all ages and playing levels in the workshop.
Jeremy and Karen created a wonderful, positive, and safe environment for everyone. I found Jeremy and Karen to be very kind, funny, humble, and super inspiring. They shared many of their life experiences as well as their vast wisdom and knowledge each day. Participants were allowed and encouraged to share their experiences as well, and by doing this, they made a very strong connection with one another. Over the five days, participants learned a holistic approach to music making and career building and were given tools to help perform one’s best, deal with stress, and connect with others, all while enjoying the process. Each day began with Karen leading everyone through a guided meditation. These meditations were an effective way to relax the body, focus the mind, and engage the spirit (a very powerful mantra that we discussed throughout the workshop). Jeremy described Body, Mind, Spirit as a philosophy and a process that he developed in college while preparing for the Second Trombone audition for the Vienna Philharmonic/Vienna State Opera audition.
Jeremy broke down each component of the process as follows:
Body – How? How do we take emotions and ideas and make them into sounds. The body includes motor skills and playing fundamentals.
Mind – What? In what way or what manner do I take the spirit of the piece and turn it into something concrete? This is the mental/intellectual part of the process to best allow spirit to come across. (ie. What do I need to do to make a piece be sad?)
Spirit – Why? What is the point of playing this music? What do I hope to communicate? Spirit includes emotional connection with music and your purpose and musical mission. According to Jeremy, Spirit is the most important part of the Body, Mind, Spirit concept. He believes that music should never be meaningless.
On Day 1, Jeremy gave an overview of each component. Jeremy focused on the Spirit on Day 2, the Mind on Day 3, the Body on Day 4, and putting it all together on Day 5.
In addition to Body, Mind, Spirit, Jeremy and Karen spoke about many topics including the following:
Tools on how to perform one’s best
Mental tools to help focus
Tools for dealing with Stress
Recognizing and removing unhelpful thoughts and thought patterns
Feeling your emotions
How the brain works
Morning and Evening Rituals
Sleep and rest
Using your imagination
The importance of failure
On Day 4, Jeremy and Karen invited Dr. Kate Umble Smucker to share her thoughts on wellness with everyone (https://www.kateumblesmucker.com).
There were so many highlights of the workshop - I especially liked Jeremy’s talk titled, “Truth bombs that changed my life”. Here are some gems from Jeremy:
“Don’t be disappointed by the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do!”
“Can’t pour from an empty cup.”
“Potential minus Interference = Performance”
“Your identity is who you are, not what you do.”
“The grass is greener where you water it.”
“You sink to the level of your training.”
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of your self less.” - CS Lewis
I can best describe the Body, Mind, Spirit Workshop as magical. It was transformative, empowering and inspiring. Everyone left the workshop with so many tools to help them deal with the challenges of life and being a successful musician. I plan on participating in the next Mind, Body, Spirit Workshop - I can’t recommend attending this workshop enough!
Be sure to check out Jeremy Wilson’s website, https://jeremywilsonmusic.com, as well as his videos on Body, Mind and Spirit on Youtube at
And be sure to check out Karen’s website, www.karencubides.com and her podcast, https://www.musiciansguidepodcast.com.