About Dana

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Dana Fonteneau is a magician. I have seen her at least three times (Chamber Music America and with university students) and it is inspiring. She has a way of reaching each person as if this were a one-on-one session. The results are transformative, and I can’t recommend her more highly!”  Norman Fischer, cellist, Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Cello and Director of Chamber Music at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Charles E. Culpepper Foundation Master Teacher Chair at the Tanglewood Music Center

Humor me by taking a walk down memory lane… It’s July of 1995.  I’m with my string quartet in London, England and we’re getting ready to perform that night in the National Portrait Gallery at the invitation of Martin Lovett, cellist of the famed Amadeus String Quartet.

That day we were walking down the famed Baker Street in an unusual blazing heat wave.  We’d just eaten lunch at Pizza Hut.  I KNOW.  We’re in Europe for the very first time and choose to eat at Pizza Hut. (I guess I could make a point to the notoriously bad food in England, but I digress.)  Moments later I feel sick and lean over and spontaneously lose my lunch in a trash can on the side of the road. Pretty, isn’t it.

You see, I’d been dealing with tendonitis that summer.  Our quartet was often playing 10-12 hours a day between intensive rehearsals, coaching and concerts.  I didn’t have much money at the time as I was still in school and financially on my own, so I didn’t feel like I could afford to go see a doctor or a physical therapist.  A teacher at the time advised me to ice my forearms and take FOUR Advil every four hours.  So I did.  I was playing 10-12 hours a day and taking FOUR ADVIL EVERY FOUR HOURS.  FOR WEEKS.  I just didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to this on an empty stomach. (groan.)

There’s something about throwing up in a trash can on Baker Street in plain public on the day of a major career break that makes one have to ask, WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?!

That summer I had seemingly done all the things I thought I was SUPPOSED TO DO to “MAKE IT.”  I had just attended the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and La Jolla’s SummerFest as part of the Rising Star program they had then.  I had soloed with the Round Top Festival Orchestra playing Elgar concerto one week before cellist Colin Carr was performing the same piece with the same orchestra.  I had gotten full scholarships and awards to every school and festival I’d ever attended and now members of the Amadeus String Quartet took me and my colleagues under their wings and were mentoring us to launch a major chamber music career.  So why then was I so emotionally depressed and having such physical pain?

This inquiry led me to ask some very hard questions and began an internal journey of discovery about who I was and what I wanted.

One year later, my quartet disbanded in a horrible, emotionally destructive explosion as quartets do.  I went on to complete my B.M. and M.M.while studying with Bonnie Hampton at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. While still a student, I joined the teaching faculty for the Preparatory and Adult Extension Division and spent summers at the Tanglewood Music Center and Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival.

Despite more success, the truth eventually surfaced and I came to realize that my true calling is to support artistic individuals fulfill their potential and claim healthy, sustainable and lucrative careers in music. Who better to do this than someone who knows first-hand the rewards and challenges of a life in music?

In 2004 I went back to school and got a M.A. in counseling psychology with a concentration in somatic psychotherapy.  My experience with tendonitis and stage fright taught me that there is indeed a mind-body connection.  I wanted to learn more and really help people master their experience on stage.  After graduating, I followed the long path to licensure and in 2010 earned my CA license as a Marriage and Family therapist.

I’ve guest presented throughout the United States at music schools and festivals including the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, The United States Marine Band, University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theater and Dance, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, Yellow Barn, University of Houston, University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music.

My writing can be found at San Francisco Classical Voice, Strings Magazine, and my blog, www.wholeheartedmusician.com

I currently have a private practice specializing in performing artists.  Clients range from Grammy Award winners, Naumberg Award Winners, members of the Dallas Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, faculty members at major conservatories and Juilliard School graduates to high school students, parents of gifted children and artist directors.

Here’s what people are saying about my work:

Working with Dana was a life-altering experience. I met Dana when we were in school together, so I’ve known for years that she’s a beautiful cellist with a passionate view towards music-making. What started out as a short-term, goal-oriented set of sessions helping me prepare for an audition blossomed into a half-year exploration of my relationship with my own music-making. Her practical suggestions for dealing with nerves, self-doubt, and professional goals were so clear and practical, making them easy to implement in my own life. And when we stepped back to look at the bigger picture, I was shocked at how empowered I found myself in removing barriers that had been impeding my musical progress for years. I began our sessions with such narrow goals and a correspondingly narrow vision, and it’s a major testament to Dana’s ability that she met all my goals even while blowing up that vision to achieve so much more than I knew was possible.”   Matt Albert, Grammy Award Winning Violinist and Director of Chamber Music, Meadows School of Music at SMU.

Clients either seek emotional, psychological support in therapy or business skills and financial guidance and career coaching with the WholeHearted Musician™.

I offer private sessions, talks and workshops on topics for musicians such as career building, master planning, marketing, and performance anxiety.  I also offer mediation for chamber music ensembles who need conflict management, communication skills and tools for negotiating challenging interpersonal dynamics.

To make an appointment or to schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation, call  415-820-1691 or e-mail me at WholeHeartedMusician@gmail.com.

I will return your call within 24 hours.  I also provide in-person sessions or long-distance consultation via phone or teleconference (Skype).

I look forward to supporting you!

(photo credit: Valentina Sadiul)

 ©2017 Dana Fonteneau, all rights reserved.

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