Justine Cormack

Creative Performance Coach

Supporting musicians to thrive

Do you crave a refresh or reset?

Would you like to feel more comfortable when you play?

Perhaps your confidence has dropped or your trust in yourself is dwindling?

Are you easily distracted by your thoughts?

Do you wish you could get out of your head and let the music flow? 

Then Creative Performance Coaching can help.

About the process:

Self-reflection and exploration

The personalised coaching process provides the opportunity to reflect and take stock, enabling you to discover what’s really at the heart of any issues you face.

Connection to body and mind

Building awareness of your central foundation, you discover renewed physical balance, freedom and comfort.

With that physical connection comes a calm mind and distractions diminish.

Supportive self-critiquing

Through supportive self-critiquing, you develop valuable skills of objective self-diagnosis. You discover the crux of what’s holding you back and how to move forward effortlessly.

Choosing your intentions

You discover the power of your intentions. Physically, mentally and emotionally you learn to set intentions that support success and enjoyment.

You learn that you have choices. You learn which choices deliver the results you really want.

Building confidence

By consciously choosing to add confidence into your processes, your confidence builds.

You harness the best of yourself and connect with your authentic creative voice.

Building trust

Trusting yourself, your imagination is able to lead your creative expression.

Everything starts to flow.

Creative Performance Coaching supports you to thrive!

As a coach, my priority is to honour you!

I respect you for who you are and recognise that you have unique needs, hopes and desires.

More about my coaching approach…

My approach is personal, empathetic and sensitive. I place high value on objectivity, integrity and confidentiality, creating a safe space for open and honest communication.

Through Narrative Coaching methodologies, I help my clients recognise what specifically motivates and inspires them. They increase their physical, mental and emotional self-awareness, learning to make choices that fully support their performing experiences and growth.

My coaching approach is highly practical, supported by a deep personal understanding of the music industry. As a result of my broad performing experience, I fully understand the variety of artistic demands placed on musicians by others AND themselves. 

In addition, I appreciate the multitude of interpersonal and political complexities professional musicians can experience in their day to day work in orchestras, ensembles and other performing situations. This understanding is critical in my ability to support musicians to thrive within their work environments.

My ultimate aim is to empower musicians to discover the most authentic expression of themselves, along with their knowledge and pride in what they have to offer as musicians – and human beings.

What my clients say…

After a few in-depth conversations it became clear that this was someone with not only a vast knowledge of music and the different career paths that are associated with it, but also of the wide range of issues involved with the occupation of being a professional in this field.

We both approached this in a very collegial way, and a mutual sense of respect – I was not sure what this would be like, but was totally open to trying things out, expressing certain fears, issues I was facing – to give just two examples, I was very overworked and found it hard to focus or enjoy music sometimes…another example, I was often in the position of having to lead groups and my natural soft spoken-ness and sensitivity of character made it a challenge for me. Now I realise those two things can also be used to my benefit!

Justine is a fantastic listener, and her experience in so many different fields of music – solo, chamber, orchestral, leading, teaching – have given her access to a veritable mine of ideas and methods to deal with so many things. I guess, at the end of the day, she gave me invaluable and extremely creative tips how to deal with myself. We are, oftentimes, our own greatest enemies!

Particularly helpful was her idea of how to get out of our heads (we are often very analytical and this may cause us to stiffen up) by raising a huge sense of physical awareness – concentrating on breathing, a sense of ‘centre’, etc. This, when practised as dutifully as string players practise their scales – eventually supports our bodies and minds as a whole, and not as two separate entities.

Furthermore, she taught me how to develop inner confidence, and to use my natural qualities instead of criticising them, to extend myself as a person and musician. 

This is a lady of integrity, of experience, and with an open, creative mind that will be able to work with all types of musicians – should they also be open to share their experiences freely and openly.

Tim Sutton - Trombonist, Auckland, NEW ZEALAND

Principal Bass Trombone, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

Justine is a trustworthy, confidential, patient and caring person. Her kind, nurturing nature and respectful communication skills lend perfectly to supporting high level performers to achieve confidence and freedom from performance stresses.

When Justine launched ListenFeelPlay it felt like she was speaking directly to me and that she had the answers to my lost freedom of music making without self-imposed judgment and stress. 

In our sessions together I’ve been made to feel instantly at ease and supported to be able to share personal feelings around a craft that is very much a part of who I am. She understands my performance issues and challenges at a deep level having worked to such a high level herself in many different professional settings.

Not only has she provided me with some techniques to use when I’m feeling pressured but in the bigger picture some skills to find that simplicity and joy of playing a musical instrument like when you first started.

The idea of a music performance coach is long overdue. I love knowing that I can call on Justine for a quick pep talk if needed, she has always checked in on my progress and ListenFeelPlay is there to encourage, guide and support my musical life.

Megan Molina - Violinist, Wellington, NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Justine has a confidence and calmness about her that makes you feel at ease. No question I had was silly and no problem too small. The ultimate goal is to ensure your music making is as enjoyable as possible and her approach makes you feel empowered to take that control of your musicianship.

Following 8 years as a full-time violinist in the NZSO, as well as a busy family life raising two small rambunctious boys, all whilst rehabilitating for that last 2 years from a non-music related wrist injury, I was struggling with my focus as work. My confidence was also waning and I was losing touch with my enthusiasm and enjoyment for playing.

Justine sensitively helped me to discover what was causing my lack of focus, then skillfully supported me to regain control and reconnect with my love of playing and performing.

I learnt how to consciously build my confidence, as well as trust myself and my creative ability.

Discovering my centre created a wonderful new feeling of space within my playing. I now consistently find comfort within cramped orchestra quarters and am able to support myself to feel all the space I need to perform at my best.

My quality of listening also evolved – much more attentive to character, tone, timbre, articulation and colour. As a result, I’m thrilled to be achieving so much closer to my expressive potential.

I have rediscovered enjoyment in both my practicing and performing and I am now able to consciously focus my attention where it really counts.

My sessions with Justine have been invaluable for me and my career as a violinist. Approaching music from the standpoint of curiosity and creativity, playing the violin is now so much more than just a ‘day job’!

Thank you Justine!

Malcolm Struthers - Wellington, NEW ZEALAND

Double Bassist, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

In a few short sessions Justine transformed my outlook and approach to playing in an orchestra. Her insightful and practical coaching gave me new ideas and tools for extending and self-managing my playing, both physically and mentally.

It’s been two years now since Justine worked with me. I find I am continuing to gain new insights through applying the ideas and techniques I learned with her. I am more assured, resilient, and a great deal happier as a player than I was back then.

As musicians, I think we all need some fresh input from time to time. Justine has real integrity both professionally and personally, so her ideas and techniques come from true understanding and experience.

I heartily recommend Justine to any player who is looking for a way to be refreshed, inspired, more productive and happier in their work.

Dr. Robin Wilson - Violinist and Pedagogue, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Resident Violin Faculty, Australian National Music Academy (ANAM)

My sessions with Justine were incredibly helpful.

As a performer and a teacher, I am always searching for ways of tackling issues that commonly arise in my own playing, as well as my students. Justine’s method really increases one’s awareness of use and gives extremely effective and easy to implement methods of releasing tension and enhancing performance.

Her approach is supportive and encouraging and facilitates the performers ability to focus and realise their musical intentions without inhibition. The simple concepts and techniques that she teaches can even be used whilst performing on stage, to increase ease, comfort and ultimately confidence.

I highly recommend this to anyone wishing to improve their own performance or that of their students, and enhance their enjoyment of music making.

Dickson Fung - Medical Doctor and Violinist, Auckland, NEW ZEALAND

I have no hesitation in giving my full endorsement to Justine as an exceptional teacher, coach and performer.

I was fortunate to study violin with Justine for over 8 years, including during my undergraduate performance degree. Her holistic teaching methods helped me connect the physical, intellectual and emotional domains vital to successful creative thinking, skills which I continue to use in my musical and medical practice daily.

Additionally, I am constantly inspired by her drive to further her own creative musical discovery as a world class violinist. Her skills and experience would no doubt be of benefit to the development of any aspiring creative performer or artist.

Interested to explore what coaching could achieve for you?

Start with a complimentary 30-minute session to see what is possible.


Is Creative Performance Coaching right for me?

If you are committed to your ongoing development as a musician/creative performer, then Creative Performance Coaching will support you.

If you enjoy exploring and experimenting with how you engage your body and mind in your creative pursuit, Creative Performance Coaching is right for you.

Creative Performance Coaching will assist you to gain insight into your creative processes. By reflecting on the effectiveness of your methods, and by exploring new and liberating ways of engaging your attention both physically and mentally, you will refresh and reset your attitude, consciously unleashing your self-expression and performance potential.

The process is fun, inspiring and liberating, so if this sounds like something you want more of, then Creative Performance Coaching is right for you.

What will I get out of Creative Performance Coaching?

Creative Performance Coaching will refresh and reset your creative processes, allowing you to access your creativity more easily and naturally. Quite simply, you’ll learn how to get out of your own way, allowing your natural expression to shine through.

You will discover more enjoyment and fulfilment from your performance, and will uncover new ways to perform and express with more confidence and ease.

You will also discover the value of objective reflection, and in the process will set new attitudes and intentions that support the release and expression of your creative potential.

What is the process?

Creative Performance Coaching sessions are personalised and tailored to the individual. A 30-minute complimentary intro session will help to define what you are seeking from Creative Performance Coaching and what we can acheive together. This session can be via online videos platforms or in person.

Generally there will be a questionnaire for you to fill out. This will be the start of your self-reflection process around the way you currently perform and create, and will also help to pinpoint what you hope to acheive through the Creative Performance Coaching process.

Then we will likely have a few hour-long sessions, either in person or via an internet platform, within a time to suit your goals. During these sessions, we will explore together your physical and mental approach to your performance – both by talking and playing, and as a result, you’ll discover new ideas to experiment with, explore and reflect on in your own time, feeding these discoveries back to me in our next session together.

It is important to add that this process will be completely confidential between us.

My aim is to inspire you and give you new tools to enhance your creative process, confidence and overall enjoyment. I will work with you to discover the best way to help you refresh and reset your performance modus operandi, in order to unleash the creative expression you already possess.

How many sessions will I need?

This will all depend on you.

A lot can be accomplished within one single session. However, three to five hour-long sessions are ususally sufficient to support a reset and refresh of your creative process. As a result of these sessions, you will have new ideas, tools and techniques to explore and experiment with in your creative process.

Depending on what you discover, you may wish to explore further through more coachings. Or maybe some subsequent ‘check-in’ sessions will assist your ongoing development over time.

Of course, this fluid process will be entirely up to you and determined by what you want to achieve.

What technology will I need?

If we are unable to meet in person, it’s not a problem. We can work together through your preferred internet video calling platform. You will simply need is a device with a camera (phone, computer, tablet etc) that is connected to a stable internet connection. I can help you to set your device up so that it will be as if we are in the same room. 

Silver linings the second time around

Having performed the complete cycle of Beethoven’s violin sonatas in February 2020 with American pianist Kate Boyd, we had originally planned to perform the cycle again later that year. But of course, COVID had other plans for us and the soonest that we could rearrange for our second cycle was for 10-17 January 2023 – almost 3 years later.

With the first of these concerts now just a day away, I’ve been reflecting on the new opportunities that presented themselves because of the enforced ‘change of plans’, and the silver linings have been numerous and rather wonderful.

Building Confidence

Radio New Zealang Concert asked me for advice around confidence, and in particular if it can be built.

I believe it can.

You can read what I had to say about it all on their website: Confidence Tricks – some tips for musical performance.

Effort, Age and Survival  

It is over a month since my last blog post and with the 6 weeks that have passed, we are well and truly in mid-summer here in Central Otago.

I have been systematically working through the 10 Beethoven violin sonatas, regularly inspired by the awesome landscapes outside my window, and accompanied by my trusty sidekick – Coco the cat.

It turns out one of the biggest current challenges is physical fatigue.

A reset from the inside out

Having previously performed 6 of the 10 Beethoven violin sonatas more than 20 years ago, it has been a lovely process coming back to the familiar, as well as discovering the new. Primarily due to the work I have been doing over the last 2 years getting to the nitty-gritty of my performance philosophies, these incredibly pristine works of Beethoven are proving to be an absolute gift for me.

Where to from here?

The next three months are super exciting for me, with 3 concerts confirmed in Mid-Feb 2020 for the performance of all 10 Beethoven sonatas within three days…and all in my new gorgeous neighbourhood of Central Otago.

It’s quite possible that I am naïve to the full enormity of this project – but one thing is for sure, sinking my teeth into these works again is a true treat, and the magnitude of the project is just what I am now needing at this point in my life.

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