Performance Psychology


Christine is actively involved in performance psychology research, focusing on how musicians can be more effective on stage and in the practice room. Her research has led to article commissions from a variety of publications and invitations to give workshops at institutions around the world. She currently holds a SSHRC Insight Development Grant with co-researchers Dr. Jessica Grahn (Brain and Mind Institute, Western University) and Dr. Jonathan De Souza (Don Wright Faculty of Music, Western University) to investigate music practice strategies.

Christine, Jessica, and Jonathan in St. John’s, NL

Prior to this work in collaboration with her colleagues at Western, Christine conducted research at McGill’s Sequence Production Lab with Dr. Caroline Palmer and worked as a research assistant in Dr. Jody Culham’s Neuroimaging of Action and Perception Lab.

Selected Articles on Practice Techniques

“Optimizing Music Learning: Exploring How Blocked and Interleaved Practice Schedules Affect Advanced Performance.” Frontiers in Psychology | Performance Science (August 2016). Cowritten by Dr. Jessica A. Grahn.

“Ask the experts: How to make the best use of limited practice time.” The Strad (July 2014).

“Making the most of your hours in the practice room: One simple change that could drastically increase your productivity.” The Bulletproof Musician Blog (October 2013).

“Athletic Advantage.” The Strad 123, no. 1472 (December 2012): 42-48.

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Selected Performance Psychology Workshop Appearances

Piano Symposium, PlayPianoNL, St. John’s, NL
Western University, Faculty of Music, London, ON
Acadia University, School of Music, Wolfville, NS
Dalhousie University, Fountain School of Performing Arts, Halifax, NS
Suzuki Association of the Capital District, Albany, NY
MUN Song Academy, St. John’s, NL
Lift Clarinet Academy, Fort Collins, CO
McGill University, Schulich School of Music, Montréal, QC
Colorado State University, Department of Music, Fort Collins, CO
University of Calgary, School of Creative and Performing Arts, Calgary, AB
National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
Manhattan School of Music, New York, NY
The Juilliard School Precollege, New York, NY
The University of Kentucky, School of Music, Lexington, KY
The Gould Academy, Bethel, ME
The Juilliard School, Performance Enhancement Class, New York, NY
Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, CT
Amateur Chamber Musicians Festival at MSM, New York, NY
New York University, Department of Music, New York, NY
Music Teachers National Association and College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY
Mount Allison University, Music Department, Sackville, NB

Workshop Testimonials

“Your presentation was brilliant. So timely and necessary for the students and faculty. I was truly inspired to expand my thinking, practicing and teaching…I will definitely share as much as I can about your teaching with my students. I know they learned a lot from both presentations today.”

John Rudolph, Principal Percussion, Toronto Symphony Orchestra

“Dr. Christine Carter recently gave a very well-attended workshop on mental skills training at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music. Dr. Carter quickly established a warm and trusting rapport with both students and faculty members in the hall. She lead her audience through a series of powerful mental preparation techniques in a clear and easy to recall manner. Within only sixty minutes, Dr. Carter assisted students and faculty alike to begin the process of managing their performance anxiety. Performance anxiety in performing musicians is still a taboo topic in Canada. Dr. Carter’s ground-breaking work is starting to break down this barrier and introduce musicians to mental skills that have great potential to help.”

Carolyn Christie, Associate Professor of Flute, McGill University; Second Flute, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, 1978-2014

“Christine Carter’s research in the area of learning, and her background and activities as a clarinetist give her unique insights into the daily practice room frustrations of musicians at all levels. Her article on the impact of random vs. blocked practicing is one of the most popular articles on my website (58,000+ Facebook shares), and more importantly, has sparked important conversations amongst performers, teachers, and students about best practices for learning and practicing for musicians. The talk she gave to my performance psychology class at Juilliard was similarly impactful, with students taking away concrete, actionable strategies they could experiment with in the practice room that very day. I look forward to following her contributions to the music field for many years to come!”

Noa Kageyama, Faculty, The Juilliard School; Creator/Writer, The Bulletproof Musician Blog

“Christine Carter’s workshop, presented at NYU for undergrad performance majors, was just terrific.  Her topic, performance psychology and practice techniques, was right on target for my students.  Presented in a warm and engaging manner, Christine’s workshop was thoughtful, fun and packed with very useful information.  Students left the class feeling inspired and armed with fresh ideas and techniques for how to become even better players.”

Matt Sullivan, Director of Double Reed Studies, NYU Steinhardt Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions

“Students and teachers at the University of Western Ontario who attended the well prepared, cleverly designed workshop on performance and practice techniques were treated to simple procedures which resulted in immediate results.  The exercises and thought processes were clearly explained and demonstrated and when attempted, students were able to easily recognize the improvement of their peers and themselves.  This was an invaluable lesson to all present concerning practice/performance attitudes:  the importance of the individual having a disciplined, intelligent plan as teacher/performer in the practice room!”

Dr. Robert Riseling, Professor Emeritus, University of Western Ontario

“Thank you for presenting two outstanding workshops for music and theatre students at WCSU. Your enthusiasm and command of the subject matter captivated our students and provided them with a foundation from which to build on the performance psychology fundamentals presented. The format of actively engaging the students was highly effective, and allowed everyone present to witness the practical application of proven techniques. I look forward to our continued association and to additional workshops in the future.”

Dr. Daniel Goble, Dean, School of Visual and Performing Arts, Western Connecticut State University

“Christine Carter is a gifted teacher and natural communicator. Her interactive lectures on practice techniques and the psychology of performance were precise, carefully researched, and beautifully presented.  Christine has the uncanny ability to make amateur musicians enjoy the rigors of professionalism, and seasoned veterans rediscover the pleasure of playing.  I sincerely can’t remember when my time was better spent in a classroom.”

James Czajka, Architect and Amateur Pianist, Manhattan School of Music Amateur Chamber Musicians Festival Participant