Integrated 3-day Mindfulness Program for Musicians (6/16 - 6/18/2024)

Mindfulness Experiential Workshops 

With Cellist Barbara Bogatin, San Francisco Symphony 

Barbara Bogatin is a cellist with the San Francisco Symphony, chamber music player, and educator in the field of mindfulness training for musicians. In 35 years of practicing insight meditation, she has integrated the embodied knowledge this contemplative work nurtures into effective methods for improving instrumental practice and performance. She will present daily talks about how the skills we cultivate during meditation can be helpful in our music-making. 

Each day will feature a different topic of discussion and a related experiential workshop. There will also be opportunities to have one-on-one sessions with Barbara and other faculty members.

This program is open to students, professionals, and amateurs with different instruments.

3-Day Schedule 

6:40am Good morning

7:00 - 8:00 Wellness practice and meditation 

8:00 - 8:30 Breakfast (Vegan)

8:55 - 9:45 Mindfulness Experiential Workshop (Seminar Portion) with Barbara Bogatin

9:50 - 10:50 Mindfulness Experiential Workshop (Practice/Performing Portion) with Barbara Bogatin

11:00 - 12:00 Lunch (Vegan)

12:00 - 12:30 Community service

12:30 - 1:20 Break

1:25 - 2:25 Wellness Workshop for Musicians or Holistic Lifestyle Consultation

2:30 - 3:30 Practice 1 or Private Coaching (Instrumental) with Barbara or other faculty

3:30 - 3:50 Snack and Tea time

3:55 - 4:55 Practice 2 or Private Coaching (Instrumental) with Barbara or other faculty

5:00 - 5:45 Dinner (Vegan)

5:50 - 6:20 Community service 

6:30 - 7:30 Meditation 

7:30 - 8:45 Talks and Group Inquiry Time (on Meditation, Music, and the Brain) with Dr. Cliff Saron

8:45 - 10:00 Personal time

10:00 pm Good night

Day 1

Practice - Barbara will share an overview of her experience with sitting meditation retreats and explain the art of “conscious practice,” breaking down the process of practicing our instruments into 4 basic components which will be explored in depth. 

Experiential Workshop where students demonstrate how they practice a difficult passage and engage in habitual practicing patterns, then consider ways to make their practice more efficient and effective. 

Day 2

Focus and Calm - Specific guided meditations can help us discover ways to maintain a calm and centered internal presence. We can apply this approach to performance anxiety and audition nerves, greeting every moment with wise attention and intention.

Experiential Workshop where students “perform” for each other in a masterclass setting, and try out different techniques of mindfulness training to lessen the negative effects of performance nerves. We can learn how to focus our minds in stressful situations, and use the flow of energy in our body to help us play our best.

Day 3

Deepening Musical Expression - We all want to feel a sense of relaxed freedom in performance, where we can be fully present with the emotions we’re trying to express in the music. This is often referred to as a “state of flow.” Practicing metta (loving kindness) meditation can help us cultivate a heart-centered approach, which encourages improvisation and spontaneous joy in music-making.

Experiential Workshop where students play for each other and explore the “meaning underneath the notes.” We can imagine a story, a feeling, or a word that unlocks the emotions the composer is trying to convey. Contemplative practices can open the door to the creative process of flow.

Meet the Faculty 

Barbara Bogatin


San Francisco Symphony (Since 1994)

Facilitator - Mindfulness Meditation for Musicians


The Buddha, the Brain, and Bach Workshop Presentation:


Barbara Bogatin has been a cellist with the San Francisco Symphony since 1994. In addition to her career as a symphonic musician, she has created a curriculum on Mindfulness Meditation for Musicians where she integrates contemplative practice with music performance and instrumental practice. She has presented these seminars at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, University of Southern California, University of Nevada, Reno, and the Juilliard School. Along with her husband, neuroscientist Clifford Saron, she has given workshop presentations called “The Buddha, the Brain, and Bach” that explore the intersection of meditation, creativity, and neuroplasticity at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Esalen, Stanford University, Telluride Compassion Festival, and at conferences in Italy, Spain, and South Africa. 

Barbara has performed chamber music at the Lucerne Festival, Spoleto Festival, Casals Festival, Classical Tahoe, Music at Kohl Mansion, and Davies Hall Chamber Music Series. She has published articles on music in The San Francisco Chronicle, Strings Magazine, SF Classical Voice, and Senza Sordino. She holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School.

Program Fees & Learn More

$675 (residential)

Residential rates include tuition for all program offerings, a single occupancy room, three nutritious and delicious vegetarian meals everyday during your time here.

 $500 (non-residential)

Non-residential rates include tuition for all program offerings, three nutritious and delicious vegetarian meals everyday during your time here.

Evening Talks and Group Inquiry on Meditation, Music, and Contemplative Science

With Dr. Clifford Saron, UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain

Clifford Saron, PhD, is a cognitive neuroscientist at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain and the UC Health MIND Institute in Sacramento, with a long-term interest in the effects of meditation on brain function and psychological well-being. His first experience with Buddhist insight meditation 50 years ago triggered a curiosity about the impact of contemplative practice on our minds and bodies. Inspired by participating in dialogues about Buddhism and science with H.H. the Dalai Lama over the past three decades with the Mind and Life Institute, he has led a research program investigating the effects of intensive meditation on sustained attention, emotion regulation, markers of stress and cellular aging, and adaptive psychological functioning. Along with his wife, cellist Barbara Bogatin, he has created a workshop called “The Buddha, the Brain, and Bach” that explores the intersection of meditation practice, contemplative science, neuroplasticity, and music performance. 

Cliff's informal talks will integrate Power Point presentations with plenty of time for group discussion and inquiry.

Meet the Speaker

Dr. Clifford Saron

Research Scientist, University of California at Davis

Principal Investigator

Facilitator - The Buddha, the Brain, and Bach Workshop Presentation

Day 1: Neuroplasticity and Musicians' Brains - How musical training shapes our brains.

Day 2: Brains in Concert - Brain-to-brain coupling during performance.

Day 3: There's Something About Stillness - The effects of meditation on perception, attention, and emotion.


Clifford Saron, PhD is a Research Scientist at the Center for Mind and Brain and MIND Institute at the University of California at Davis. He received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1999. Dr. Saron has had a long-standing interest in the effects of contemplative practice on physiology and behavior. In the early 1990s he conducted field research investigating Tibetan Buddhist mind training under the auspices of the Office of H.H. the Dalai Lama. A faculty member at Mind and Life Summer Research Institutes in the US and Europe and a former member of the Mind and Life Institute Program and Research as well as Steering Councils, he received the inaugural Mind and Life Service Award in 2018. 

Dr. Saron directs the Shamatha Project, a multidisciplinary longitudinal investigation of the effects of intensive meditation on physiological and psychological processes central to well-being. In 2012, Dr. Saron and his research team were awarded the inaugural Templeton Prize Research Grant in honor of H.H. the Dalai Lama. Currently his research team is investigating how meditation experience may mitigate the effects of the pandemic on chronic stress and cellular aging, as well as examining consequences of compassion vs. mindfulness training on engagement with suffering. His other research area focuses on sensory processing in children with autism spectrum disorders to better understand how these children experience their everyday sensory environments.

The 3-day Mindfulness Program for Musicians is a part of the larger summer music programs we offer. Participants can choose to only attend the 3-day program or register for the 1-week or 2-week programs for an extensive experience. The overall experience is enriched by daily contemplative and wellness practices (Taiji, meditation, holistic lifestyle consultation), one-on-one and group classes and coaching, individual practice times, vegetarian meals, and the supportive environment of living in a wholesome community.

Learn more: Schedule, Scholarships, 2024 Summer Facilities