Our Approach

Margret Elson has pioneered in the field of wellness and the performing artist for over 40 years, beginning with the ground-breaking workshop “Problem-Solving for Pianists” at the University of California, Berkeley Extension in 1977.  In her dual careers as musician and psychotherapist, she has taught and re-trained pianists, coached  instrumentalists and vocalists, performed as soloist and in ensemble, and been psychotherapist to artists and performers.

Ms. Elson’s musical background includes ten years as a piano scholarship student at Juilliard, Preparatory Division with Edgar Roberts, then referred to as "Mr. Juilliard" for his outstanding teaching.  She continued studying in Paris, and in the San Francisco Bay Area with master teachers Alexander Libermann and Marjorie Petray. Margret frequently adjudicates competitions, and served as Music Director for the Junior Bach Festival Association, Berkeley. In 1993, she and her piano partner, Elizabeth Swarthout, received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to produce the CD Twentieth Century American 4-Hand Piano Music (Laurel Record).

Ms. Elson, a licensed psychotherapist, has been counselor to artists and performers for 40 years, helping them overcome impediments to their artistic development such as: performance anxiety; the need for technical re-training; difficulty in playing with passion and ease; and debilitating trauma. Because of her training as a psychotherapist as well as musician, she is able to discriminate amongst the myriad possible causes of such problems and address them appropriately. Margret combines her  musical and psychological insights, as well as humor, into a unique method of problem-solving, of both musical and emotional issues.

Ms. Elson’s approach is different from other methods in several ways. It is not only a physiologically correct approach that capitalizes on natural movements. But  it also integrates natural body movement and breathing into the full performing experience, a means of self-calming, in music-making and in life.

In 1983 she founded and directed The Center of Artistic Counseling in Oakland, CA. She has presented her work throughout the United States, Oslo and London and at international conferences such as World Piano Pedagogy, The Biology of Music-Making, and The First International Conference on Mind, Body and the Performing Arts.

Margret is located in Oakland, CA., and travels to present her work in lectures, master classes, workshops and individual sessions.


Our Story