Justine Cormack

Creative Performance Coaching

Inspiring healthier and happier creative performers who LOVE what they do

What is a Creative Performance Coach?

Like a physical personal trainer who helps you to achieve your health and fitness goals, or a business coach who assists you to build a thriving business, as a Creative Performance Coach, I offer directed personalised coaching to support you to achieve more ease, enjoyment and success in your creative pursuit.

By helping you to develop objective and insightful mind and body self-awareness (principles at the heart of my ListenFeelPlay performance philosophy), you will let go of unhealthy and unhelpful creative processes. In turn, you’ll discover more healthy, fulfilling and successful ways to engage your creative expression. Through holistic and objective mind and body awareness you will fully unlock your imagination and release the creative wisdom that you already possess.

Confidence is something you build and manifest for yourself. With my guidance, you will learn how to objectively evaluate yourself and your creativity without judgement. Through honest and supportive self-critiquing and self-reflection you will consciously practise and build confidence at every step. You will learn to trust yourself and your creative ability throughout the process.

Who’s it for?

Whether you are a highly experienced professional performer, enthusiastic amateur, and/or a performance teacher yourself, I will support you to creatively explore and experiment with true insight to achieve more positive creative results.

I can help you no matter where you are in the world with the likes of skype or similar video calling platforms. It’s straightforward to set up and communication is easy. It will be as if I am in the same room watching and hearing you play, and we’ll have fun together exploring new paradigms for your performance.

My aim is to support you to fully unleash your confidence and creativity – and derive more significant enjoyment and rewards from your performance.

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.

Suyeon Kang - Violinist

Winner 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition

When Justine Cormack 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. 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.

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.

Tim Sutton

Bass Trombone, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra


What experience do I (Justine) bring to the role?
As a result of close to 30 years as a professional violinist playing in all manner of ensembles, and most recently as the violinist of NZTrio playing throughout NZ and on the international stage, I understand intimately the creative process of performing. I have consistently explored the most natural, intelligent and ease-full ways to engage both body and mind in order to fully unleash creative self-expression.

As a teacher throughout my career, I have explored these principles with my students. Together with my own performance experiences, I have amassed knowledge around the secrets of performance success and enjoyment that I am keen to share far and wide. Helping others to unlock their creative potential is what fundamentally motivates and inspires me, as well as supporting the enjoyment of the whole process.

I fully grasp the mental and physical challenges involved in creative performance, as well as the potential pitfalls that are presented regularly in the creative process. Mindset and attitude are critical. I understand the effect of constant and necessary self-critiquing, alongside the importance of being able to build self-confidence at the same time. There is an extremely fine balance to managing this self-evaluation process, and I have experienced this from the inside out.

I have been consistently fascinated in the ergonomic movement of the human body, always striving to find the most natural and freeing way to move. I have explored the movement philosophies of both the Alexander and Feldenkrais techniques, and my regular yoga practice informs my mind+body awareness and connection.

We all have the capacity to constantly learn and develop through our lives. The creative process is a never-ending and challenging one in my experience, and I love that sense of consistently evolving and experiencing new things. The rewards can be great! I aim to inspire by example and support others to strive towards their own creative potential and ultimate self-expression.

Who will benefit from Creative Performance Coaching?
In my experience, no matter what level performer you are, from beginner right through to top level professional, ListenFeelPlay philosophies have the potential to add great value to your performance processes and development, informing new and powerful ways to unlock your confidence, creativity and enjoyment.

Paying close objective attention to the way you engage physically and mentally with your creative pursuit invariably allows a greater ease and more profound self-expression – no matter what level performer you are. I would love to help you unleash your full creative potential and to help you to thoroughly enjoy the process.

Is Creative Performance Coaching right for me?
If you are committed to your ongoing development as a musician/creative performer, no matter what level you are, then Creative Performance Coaching is right for 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 profound 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 have the opportunity to refresh and reset your whole attitude, consciously unleashing your self-expression and performance potential.

By experimenting with ListenFeelPlay philosophies, you can refocus your relationship with performance. My goal is always to help unlock ultimate enjoyment of the whole process, no matter what age you are or stage you are at.

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 give you the opportunity to refresh and reset your creative processes, allowing you to access your creativity more easily and naturally, and quite simply getting out of your own way to allow 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?
No two coaching processes are alike, as every performer is unique, however, after an initial 30-minute complimentary intro session to nail down what you are seeking from Creative Performance Coaching (usually held via skype, facetime or similar digital platform), we will together work out an inspiring plan moving forward.

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 concrete skills 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. Following the complimentary 30-minute intro session, two or three hour-long sessions will most likely be sufficient to initiate a reset and refresh of your creative process. As a result of these sessions, there will be many new ideas and approaches for your to explore and experiment with in your creative process.

Depending on what you discover, you may wish to explore a lot further with more sessions. Or maybe some subsequent ‘check-in’ sessions will be of use to 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 platforms such as skype or any other of your preferred platforms. 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. Ahh – the wonders of technology!
If I already have a performance teacher, is Creative Performance Coaching right for me?
Yes. I am entirely supportive of other teaching processes and am sensitive to the workings of that pivotal relationship. My ListenFeelPlay philosophies sit comfortably with other performance approaches, and Creative Performance Coaching has the potential to support and enhance the learning process with your teacher. This would always be my aim.

I believe there is no one way to learn and create, and ListenFeelPlay is about supporting you to find the way that best suits you, with the greatest creative outcomes. That process is in your hands, and my goal is to help you discover ‘your’ best way, taking into account the wide range and wealth of influences in your life.

“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.” Dr Dickson Fung

Medical Doctor and Violinist

Mountains and overcoming self-consciousness

I love mountains - always have, always will. Having recently moved to live amongst the Southern Alps of New Zealand, I am lucky enough to interact daily with these magnificent mountains. I am acutely aware of the support and inspiration they give me as a creative...

Acknowledging the positive

Beware of your greatest strengths! Shakespeare is quoted as saying “your greatest strength begets your greatest weakness”.   As performers, one of our most valuable strengths is our skill in self-critiquing. We are highly trained in the ability to judge and...

Discovering whole-body awareness

Reflections from a piano class Invited to explore ListenFeelPlay philosophies in an Auckland University piano class, four talented young pianists and I experimented together, witnessing and demonstrating, on the spot, the power and relevance of whole-body awareness....

Be true to your own creative voice

One of the lessons I have learnt over and over again through my career has been the importance of honouring your own voice, your own perspective and your own self-expression. In order to do this, you must pay close attention to your creative intuition, and have the...

Taking ownership of your confidence

I used to think of confidence as something you either have or you don’t have, but in fact confidence is something you 'do', or more to the point often ‘don’t do’…to varying degrees. Let me explain. It was somewhat of a lightbulb moment for me when I realised that...

Attitude is everything

"Attitude is everything" It’s a common saying and personally I couldn’t agree more. When it comes to successfully and confidently expressing yourself and having a great time in the process, awareness of your attitude allows for a wealth of opportunities. Do you adopt...

The mind+body connection

Mind+body connection is at the heart of creative ease and flow. As a human being, your mind has the potential to be your greatest asset or greatest downfall, and everything in between. By learning to objectively observe your thoughts, your mental habits, and your...

Clarity of intention

Gaining clarity of intention when creating is vital and liberating. Too often we muddle our way through a learning process without really taking care to ask 'what do I really want?' When we consistently stop and ask a few simple questions about what we really want,...

Objective listening

Over my years as a violinist, I have come to the conclusion that the most powerful way to develop my playing is to pay extraordinary attention to both the intention: what I intend to hear as I play, and the actual: what I actually hear as I play. These may seem to be...