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Appreciation

“Nicholas has helped so many artists at every stage and level with powerful and useful tools to better serve their art. In just one workshop and a few sessions, I picked up several incredibly simple and effective techniques to help with performance anxiety and relaxation! (Some of which I can use during the rehearsal process and even on stage in performance.) I’m so grateful for Nicholas for all he has done for me, for my fellow colleagues and for the future of many young artists out there. I highly recommend his work for anyone looking to 'get out of their own way.' Thank you, Nicholas!!”

SANDRA PIQUES EDDY

mezzo-soprano

“I initially came to Nicholas because I was experiencing anxiety about my playing to the point where I would be bed-ridden for an entire day with painful stomach aches. After our first session, I immediately noticed changes not only while practicing but during everyday activities. By working with him, every facet of my life started to work more efficiently, because I was more in control of my thoughts. A month after we began working together, I went out for my graduate school auditions feeling confident technically, and, more important, mentally.I ended up receiving a full-tuition scholarship with stipend to my first choice school, The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.

Nicholas and I then had a few sessions in preparation for my St. Louis Symphony audition. The day after I finished graduate school, I won the position of Fourth Chair, Second Violin in the St. Louis Symphony. It is the job of my dreams, and though it’s still hard to believe this is all real, I know I can credit much of my audition success to my work with Nicholas. I think it’s a terrible mistake to underestimate the importance of mental training. Unless you’re a superhuman that has no feelings even in stressful situations, you need to pay attention to your nerves and take control of your mind with Nicholas. I promise you won’t regret it!”

ANDREA JARRETT

violin

St. Louis Symphony

“I started working with Nicholas when I was at a very low point both personally and professionally. I had no idea that I had walked into a whole new way of processing how my mind and heart work; I had no idea that all along I had possessed what I needed for change. Nicholas showed me that with a simple understanding and an open mind, I could take on my greatest fears and WIN. He is such a kind and dedicated coach; he listens, relates, and never belittles. I felt heard when I worked with him. Upon leaving each session, I felt more and more empowered. My favorite lesson I have learned is 'You are enough.' Any time I doubt myself, I go back to those words. When I look back at my life before this work as compared to now, I find I have confidence in being able to troubleshoot and work through my performance anxieties and self-doubt, as opposed to being over taken by them. This work is a valuable resource to everyone, and Nicholas is a perfect vessel to continue to pass it on; I am beyond grateful to him for having showed me an entire new way to live and work.”

ALEXANDRA LOUTSION

soprano

“It is hard to put in words exactly what working with Nicholas has done for my career, rather, my life. His work is specifically tailored to your professional needs, whether they are small fixes, or deep rooted gems that will serve you in auditions and performances for years to come. I first came to Nicholas while I was still in school. I had a recital coming up and I was not prepared and riddled with anxiety. I was sick of my anxiety physically plaguing all of my performances and crippling me mentally before going out on stage. I never felt the control that I needed in order to make the music that I wanted. Nicholas gave me the tools that put me back in the driver’s seat of my performances. These tools have not only served me in the music world, but my personal world as well.

The first thing I said to myself as I walked on stage for the finals of the Utah Symphony audition (the round that won me the job!) was something Nicholas had told me over and over in our sessions. It sticks with you and it works. Nicholas is not only an amazingly constant professional support, but he will be your biggest fan!

He is still programmed as “Nicholas Clouds” in my phone.”

HANAH STUART

violin

San Diego Symphony

Utah Symphony

“I have been fortunate to work with Nicholas and I can honestly say that I would not be where I am if it were not for the quality, life changing work that we did together. Nicholas is a great listener, and being a successful performer himself, he has a lot of wisdom to impart, understanding the pressures that we as artists encounter. It was not just the great advice and sympathetic ear that made the difference though. Nicholas encouraged me to go deep within myself, identify my fears, face them, be ok with being me, and to understand that “I am enough”, no matter how poorly or well I sang, auditioned or performed that day. Through our work we weeded through a multitude of insecurities, negative notions, and destructive self-talk.

Soon after we began working together, I had an extremely successful audition season. I was presented with more offers and opportunities than I could handle, and I had to start turning things down. It wasn’t because I was putting out a stronger presentation, technically speaking; but for the first time I was bringing my whole self to my art. I was learning how to live unafraid, fully in the moment, how to let go of all of those things that I cannot control, including how the audience perceives me, and to just BE, because the unique cocktail of a person and an artist that each of us bring to the table cannot be replicated.

Nicholas addresses the whole person, teaching us that our essence is the most important thing we bring to the stage. I am a better artist and person because of this work and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to take their artistry to the next level.”

DEANNA BREIWICK

soprano

I initially started working with Nicholas to confront my performance anxiety. I wanted to finally discover that “secret” that magically makes all of your audition dreams come true, and upon recommendation from a friend, I asked Nicholas for a session. My sessions were transformative- I was able to access a feeling of relaxation and focus unlike anything I had ever felt. I could play with an ease and comfort in any situation. Slowly, I found my playing start to transform into what I had always strived for. However, despite a newfound comfort level in my playing, I still felt stressed in other aspects of my life – delayed subways, long rehearsals, bills to pay, etc. The life changing moment of this work came when I saw this understanding applied to not only my playing, but to every aspect of my life. I would find a place of solace on a crowded subway during rush hour or before a difficult conversation with a friend. Once I was able to channel this relaxation in any setting, I found my life gradually get much less stressful and much more enjoyable. While I knew that I had wanted to transform as a player, I didn’t know how much I needed transform as a person first. I can’t recommend this work enough, and I have Nicholas to thank for showing me such a valuable tool that completely transformed every aspect of my life.

ANNA BRUMBAUGH

Principal Clarinet,

Florida Grand Opera Orchestra

“It all started a few years ago while I sobbed over my plate of pad thai. “Singing… terribly… *sniff* totally… panicking and… just… awful *sob*. I was a mess. I had finished two years at a very good young artist program, moved to New York City, and begun to crash and burn. I would go auditions and become so anxious I’d hardly be able to phonate. I was putting so much pressure on myself that I was being crushed beneath it.

I had no idea that my old friend Nicholas helped performers with this. As a fell apart into my noodles, he explained to me what he did and offered his services. I was willing to try anything.

It works. The results are amazing. I started winning competitions. I started getting jobs- good jobs. But it wasn’t just about that. I was confident again. I wouldn’t break into a cold sweat and self sabotage every audition I’d do. I knew I could get up there and do what I do- and do it very well. Thank you, Nicholas, for giving me myself back.”

SHARIN APOSTOLOU

soprano

“I started working with Nicholas during the last semester of my Master’s of Music at Juilliard. This semester had a lot of the same difficulties and challenges but what struck me was the fact that I was about to graduate and I had no idea what I would be doing! My final semester I was faced with preparing my graduation recital, my second for the year, while taking my first professional orchestra auditions. The physical stress of trying to prepare so much music along with the mental stress was overwhelming and working with Nicholas was essential in helping me get to the root of my stress and look at it from another perspective. His work is so much more than a tool for coping, it was more about taking what was bothering or stressing you out and helping your mind see it in a new way.

Shortly after I started working with him, I took an audition for a viola position with the New World Symphony in Miami, FL and had one of the best audition experiences I’ve ever had. When I played, it was the first time I felt comfortable and calm. I was able to say what I wanted to say with the music and it came across because I won the job! I have to say I was a bit skeptical of this work at the beginning but I could tell a difference after every session with Nicholas and I’m glad I had the chance to work with him.”

CAROLINE GILBERT

Principal Viola, Buffalo Philharmonic

Former Fellow, New World Symphony

“I first started working with Nicholas to learn techniques to sleep better faster.  Since as far back as I can remember, I’ve had problems falling asleep quickly, especially right before a big audition. Through our sessions, I learned techniques to slow down my mind and body, so that I can fall asleep almost immediately now, regardless of what’s happening in my life.Nicholas instantly puts you at ease when you meet him. As a world class performer and coach, Nicholas shares numerous tools to focus your mind on the present when performing.  I was able to put his techniques to use right after my first workshop with him when I had my very first audition at the Metropolitan Opera. I was offered a contract the next day! 

I’ve found that I’m better able to handle stress now and feel greater contentment and peace. My sessions with him have changed both my professional and personal life for the better. I recommend him to everyone I know!!”

KIRSTEN CHAMBERS

soprano

“Working with Nicholas has made me realize the wonderful doors of healing and progress that can be opened by learning and practicing with the mind. A year ago when I first started this work, I had no idea how blocked I was in my personal life. Nicholas gave me a safe space to explore the habits of my thoughts and emotions that were holding me back from living a full life and being a fully present artist. I felt walls around my heart crumbling and I finally felt free to be myself both on and offstage. It is not an exaggeration to say that Nicholas’ work changed my life. Later we delved into performance mindset, and I was able to feel confidence in overcoming both technical and political hurdles in my career. There is constantly work to be done, but I now have plenty of tools in my pocket to use before auditions and performances, or even just general stress. Nicholas is so supportive even when we’re not working, and the way he connects his clients helps us all to stay focused and to be reminded of the power we have to improve our artistry and wholeness, both individually and collectively. Thank you Nicholas!!”

AMY OWENS

soprano

“I met Nicholas while singing at Wolf Trap Opera, and I am so glad that he told me about his passion and calling outside of singing. It wasn’t until I ran into him again before an audition months later, when he helped me alleviate an anxiety-related headache through simple exercises, that I began to understand what his work was about. After a technically solid, but emotionally difficult audition season, I knew that in order to progress to the next level in my career, I needed to work on more than just my singing or acting. Just as we have healthy techniques for our instruments, we need healthy techniques for our minds. Joan Sutherland used to say in regard to her performances, “dear, I just get out of the way, and hope it works.” Through this work, I’m getting out of my own way, and allowing all of my hard work to shine, and giving the best performance possible, even when sick or tired. I’m getting more out of my lessons and coachings. My performances are a joy, and my auditions are completely different now. I’m confident, and happy to be there. No apologetic, asking-for-permission-to-be-there soprano. I’m becoming the artist I’ve always wanted to be. I am so grateful for the things I’ve learned through my work with Nicholas, and would recommend this to any artist at any level.”

SHANNON JENNINGS

soprano

“Working with Nicholas has been a transformative experience. I can still remember how it felt to carry a paralyzing amount of fear with me on stage to perform, but I’m so relieved to say that I can now look back on that habit as only a hazy memory, and not the way things have to be. I am having as much (or even more!) fun performing as I do in my own practice sessions or rehearsals, and the spontaneity and rush of creating on stage has come back into my life. The work that Nicholas does is so straight forward and clear that I am also able to help the students that I work with who struggle with stage fright by explaining some of his techniques to them. I am so grateful for Nicholas and his generosity in sharing his gifts and talents with all of us in the music profession. I know there are people all over the country who are giving more exciting, honest, and impactful performances because of his work!”

LAURA BRUMBAUGH

coach

I met Nicholas by chance in 2015 in London at the concert launch of my theater & opera company, And So Forth: ever the generous supporter of his clients, he was there in the audience to cheer on some of the singers in the event with whom he was working. Lucky for me, he struck up a conversation with me at the pub afterwards, and the rest is history: we had some amazing sessions together, which came at the perfect time in my personal, professional and artistic journey; when he left London to return home I continued to seek out opportunities to increase my understanding and practise what we’d worked on together, and by the time he returned the following year I think he found me somewhat transformed! During the latter visit, I was delighted to be able to host Nicholas to run a workshop with And So Forth to share his work with more artists and was thrilled to receive feedback from our participants as glowing as I’d anticipated (many of whom went on to have private sessions with Nicholas). He also generously joined and inputted into a forum we held on performer wellbeing, giving his insight into how performers and artists can look after their mental health. 

For me, Nicholas is so much more than a few sessions, meetings and a workshop. Since our first encounter, he has been a stalwart supporter and cheerleader for all of my endeavors – personal and professional – helping me to believe in myself and what I’m striving for. He has also become a dear friend. I could not ask for a more generous and genuine human being to have in my life. ‘And,’ as Nicholas would say, ‘here’s the cool thing’: when he says he gets it, he really means it. He gets it. Seriously. And he’s not there to teach you how to be different or better or someone else: he’s there to help you find the very best things in yourself, and to celebrate those things. Which sometimes, as artists, we forget to do, because we’re so often trying to find out who someone else wants us to be, or what kind of work they want us to make. Nicholas’s approach trusts that you are already enough, that you have something unique and beautiful to give, and he wants to help you discover it. I cannot recommend him highly enough.

LAURA ATTRIDGE

Director & Librettist

“I started working with Nicholas while I was working on a production just a couple months after my separation and divorce from my husband. I was feeling very vulnerable and easily triggered, and my stress was compounded by some less than ideal situations on the job. I think I would have been a complete emotional wreck if I hadn’t begun doing regular sessions during the rehearsal period. Nicholas was so understanding and compassionate about everything I was going through, and from our first conversation, I felt like I was talking to an old friend. He is a wonderful listener and it felt great to be able to talk about my work frustrations with a fellow performer who understood. I was able to remain calm, collected, positive, and professional in difficult situations, and at the end of the production, I went home feeling really proud of myself!

Nicholas is not only a very skilled practitioner, but he is a wonderful person whose caring and concern for his clients is really inspiring.”

SARA DUCHOVNAY

soprano

Co-Founder, Opera Diva Dress Collection and Shoperatic, LLC

“When I began working with Nicholas, I was plagued by the thought that many of my fears and anxieties would hold me back in what I truly wanted to achieve. I was reading into my feelings as a sign that I wasn’t capable or strong enough. But though my work with Nicholas my whole understanding of thought has been enlightened and freed. Through realizing where my feelings are coming from and accepting the natural fluctuations in thought and emotion, I know that my fears and anxieties are a natural part of being human and that they do not define me. It became clear that society and my training had conditioned me to think about many things in a certain way, but through this work, that burden is being continually lifted both in my every day and performing life. I feel a sense of ease that was not present before. Nicholas was and continues to be so warm, generous and understanding and I feel very lucky to have met him when I did!”

ELIZABETH BASS

harp

“When I began working with Nicholas, I was plagued by the thought that many of my fears and anxieties would hold me back in what I truly wanted to achieve. I was reading into my feelings as a sign that I wasn’t capable or strong enough. But though my work with Nicholas my whole understanding of thought has been enlightened and freed. Through realizing where my feelings are coming from and accepting the natural fluctuations in thought and emotion, I know that my fears and anxieties are a natural part of being human and that they do not define me. It became clear that society and my training had conditioned me to think about many things in a certain way, but through this work, that burden is being continually lifted both in my every day and performing life. I feel a sense of ease that was not present before. Nicholas was and continues to be so warm, generous and understanding and I feel very lucky to have met him when I did!”

ELIZABETH BASS

harp

“I contacted Nicholas about 8 months ago seeking relief from career-related anxieties. I wasn’t expecting the life transformation that followed. I came out with a fresh understanding of the human experience which flew in the face of much of the therapy, methods, and self-help texts I had relied on for years. This knowing has freed me up to experience more authenticity, joy, and connection than I ever have, in all aspects of my life.  What a relief it has been to put down the burden of trying to ‘cultivate’ mental toughness, wisdom, confidence, connection with other humans… and to see for myself that these traits are innate in all of us."

JAELY CHAMBERLAIN

soprano

“Working with Nicholas was a game changer for me. Understanding the true nature of our thinking, and that our experience of the outside world is actually coming from our thoughts on the inside, was a profound and powerful realization for me. This understanding helped me immensely as a singer, giving me tremendous freedom and ease on and off the stage. In addition, I also live life with more patience, compassion, empathy, and energy. And I experience all of these benefits from actually ‘doing’ less. I highly recommend Nicholas to all artists and to everyone.”

EMILY LORINI

mezzo-soprano

“I’ve always been an anxious person who has let pointless worries and fretting get the best of my abilities. As I headed into the high stakes college audition process, I knew I needed to take control of the negative energy crippling my potential as a performer and a person. Nicholas gave me what I needed to quiet my anxiety and perform present, fully focused, and truly in the moment, and I was able to get accepted into one of my top choice musical theater programs. He once said to me, “You have nothing to prove and everything to share.” And for the first time in my life, I’m able to believe it. “

KATIE ALLSUP

soprano

“As a publishing professional, I came to Nicholas because I was having a mental block with one of my book development proposals. After weeks of procrastination, I felt so much guilt and frustration that all creative energy had completely stalled. My first session was incredible; I came away feeling like I had gone through meditation, a therapy session, and a pep talk from an old friend all rolled up in one hour. Over the next few sessions, Nicholas skillfully coached me through both the completion of the proposal and successfully presenting the proposal to a room full of senior management — where it was met with a round of applause!

While it’s been wonderful to have a tangible marker of success from my time with Nicholas, it’s also been amazing to note the many, less quantifiable benefits from the sessions. His techniques help address specific issues like creative blocks, but more importantly, they work on a larger scale by empowering you to take ownership of your own strengths and weaknesses. Nicholas has helped me realize my ability to take control of my emotions, my creative output, and my well-being. As a result, I’ve noticed that I’m so much healthier, happier, and confident in both my professional and personal life. He’s truly helped me harness the power of my mind!”

TIFFANY LIAO

Editor

“Being a author and book illustrator, my main goal for my sessions was to reach a mental state in which I could rest my mind, focus, and attain mental clarity to be more effective in my painting process. The first session already absolutely blew me away. Nicholas walked me through with great care, sensitivity, and understanding. I left feeling completely recharged and rested (and this was after a deadline and taxes!). I now use this work as much as possible as it helps me reach new levels of focus with respect to my artwork. So grateful for these incredible experiences!”

KATI HINES

Author, "Winnie and Waldorf"