“This is a conversation we need to be having, especially in our training of young artists, and Nicholas skillfully guides it with such grace and humanity that we can’t help but listen and benefit.”
- Cory Lippiello
Deputy Director of Artistic Planning, Lyric Opera of Chicago
Everywhere I go, leaders of conservatories, young artist training programs, and festivals tell me they want to support their artists as a person as much as they do with developing their craft, but often don’t know where to turn for resources.
The Mental Freedom Masterclasses exist to help fill that need. In my workshops and residencies, I draw from over 15 years working with clients and firsthand experience from over a decade performing internationally to provide a unique perspective on helping artists thrive both on and offstage.
In these intervactive workshops, we explore a simple yet powerful understanding of the mind that has implications in all aspects of life and performance. With a deeper understanding of how we work, artists find more peace of mind in their work and life and perform more consistently at their best, regardless of the stakes or circumstances.
Leaders often tell me these are the resources they wish they had in their own development and training. Attendees often describe the classes as a healing and empowering experience that has an impact long after the class.
Residencies are customized to each organization and can include workshops, individual sessions, or both. Popular workshop topics include:
The Artist’s Guide to Being Human: Mental Wellness On and Offstage
Winning the Mental Game: The Simple Solution to Performance Anxiety
Take Up Your Space: Effortless Confidence in Living and Performing
Fake News: Rising Above Self-Doubt and Imposter Syndrome
Stop Stopping Yourself: Thriving Beyond Insecurity and Perfectionism
Mindfulness without Mindfulness: Being Present with Less Effort
The Secret Ingredient for a Winning Pre-Performance Routine
Your Inner GPS: Tapping into the Wisdom Within
I’m grateful to have presented workshops at (among others):
Here’s what some organizations have said about the residencies & workshops:
"At New World Symphony, we emphasize artistic excellence. An important component of that is wellness as a healthy individual is more able to express themselves as artists. And Nicholas Pallesen is an important component of our wellness program. His work at New World training the Fellows yields positive results at the very first session in helping these young artists deal with stress both in their performances and auditions and everyday life. We have received nothing but positive feedback and are grateful for Nicholas’ continued presence at New World."
– John Kieser
Executive Vice President and Provost, New World Symphony
Singing is an intensely personal endeavor, and it’s not uncommon for artists at the highest levels to battle anxiety and other roadblocks as they pursue and maintain their careers. Nicholas provides a valuable resource to free artists from distractions, helping them to focus on the authentic, meaningful performances they want to give in auditions or important engagements. His advice and strategies have helped our artists to gain confidence and focus on their artistic work. It’s clear that Nicholas cares deeply about the artists with whom he works, and it makes a big difference in their lives.
– Brian Speck
Director, Houston Grand Opera Studio
Nicholas has worked with many of the Wolf Trap Opera singers for two summers now, focusing on anxiety issues surrounding audition and performance. We saw the results of his work during the Studio Audition Intensive, where the singers had more positive experiences, and gave stronger auditions. Nicholas is approachable and kind, and he is driven to help singers succeed both onstage and in their personal lives.
– Lee Anne Myslewski
Vice President, Opera and Classical Planning, Wolf Trap Opera
I have long admired Nicholas’ abilities on stage, watching him transition from talented student to working professional singer. However, watching Nicholas work with artists on their performance anxiety is inspiring and exciting. Refracted through his own personal journey, he helps even the most skeptical among us see the possibilities and the value of this kind of work. This work is for anyone burdened with anxiety, stress, and negative self-talk and his approach is friendly, honest, and sensitive. He excels at assessing the needs of each individual client, tailoring his work to fit each where they will most benefit. The result is immediately useful, self-sustaining, and deeply personal. This is a conversation we need to be having, especially in our training of young artists, and Nicholas skillfully guides it with such grace and humanity that we can’t help but listen and benefit.
– Cory Lippiello
Deputy Director of Artistic Planning, Lyric Opera of Chicago
I knew that Nicholas was just the person the Carnegie Mellon students needed to hear speak about performance anxiety, stress, lack of confidence, etc. As he spoke about his work and his own experiences of self- doubt, I saw in him a very caring individual, calm and uplifting to the soul. His thoughtful presentation had great impact on these young singers. If only I had the good fortune to have met and worked with Nicholas when I was a young artist trying to “make it” in the opera world, I could have avoided lots of tears and anxiety!
Thank you to Nicholas whose amazing work changes the lives of so many people! I encourage all who are seeking change to invite him to your schools and training programs.
– Maria Spacagna, Soprano
Formerly of the Metropolitan Opera
Associate Professor of Voice, Carnegie Mellon University School of Music
Nicholas Pallesen’s workshops at Mannes have been invaluable to our students! Performance anxiety is a common issue young artists struggle with and many are desperately searching for solutions. Nicholas offers insights that provide immediate results. I was just amazed how quickly the participants in the class responded to his suggestions and transformed their thought process.
In addition to the workshops at Mannes, I have referred a number of private students to Nicholas. Nicholas is sensitive, thoughtful, caring and invested in each individual he has the opportunity to coach. I am most appreciative and eager to have Nicholas return for future workshops at Mannes!
– Beth Roberts
Head of the Voice Department, Mannes the New School for Music
Typically, when we host a NATS event, we bring in a singer to give a master class. This year, however, we went in a different direction, inviting Nicholas to engage with us on some very important topics. What I wasn’t expecting was how much we would value the gift of a quiet space in the middle of a long day of singing! We sat, listened, and shared about the power of trusting ourselves and also about being ok with the unknown, which in the arts is a big part of our lives! Nicholas’s presence during our two-day conference was powerful and affirming.
– Byron Jones
Voice Faculty, Shenandoah Conservatory
President, Virginia NATS
"I invited Nicholas Pallesen to give a day of workshops for our music majors and their colleagues in the College of Fine Arts as a means to jump-start our spring semester. Not only were the students (and professors!) inspired and motivated, but for many of them, Nicholas's work was life changing. We were offered a multitude of simple but effective ideas on how to achieve peak performance and deal with performance anxiety by a very warm and caring coach. Many students were in tears at the realization that they already had everything that they needed to be successful in their art and in their lives. I highly recommend Nicholas to other university professors and administrators striving to help their students achieve mental wellness and the highest levels of performance."
– Dr. Tracelyn Gesteland
Associate Professor of Voice/Opera, University of South Dakota
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.
Nicholas is 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
Founder and Artistic Director, And So Forth (UK)