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Positive Psychology at NYSBDA

Saturday, March 4, 2017 at the NYSBDA Winter Symposium

Curt Ebersole

on 3 June 2017

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Transcript of Positive Psychology at NYSBDA

“On Monday, don’t tell me how great it was; tell me what you’re doing differently.”
-Peter Drucker
We teach this every day, but do we do it ourselves, along with our students?
Action Research
What are we up against?
All these concepts can resonate like
sympathetic vibrations within your ensemble!
Positivity . . .
Changes how you feel, think and behave, which changes how
feel, think, and behave.
Chains of Inspiration
Social-Emotional Leadership
Utilizing Imagery
Visualize the best possible scenario.
Know your clientele.
Choose resources which are meaningful.
Create Action Plans
Step outside the norm.
Formulate avenues of accountability.
Create varied expectations.
Using reference points
Change the tone of rehearsal by pulling in positive experiences.
Don’t be afraid to act out of character.
Take risks!
Appreciating What is Good
Ask: “Name one great thing that happened in rehearsal yesterday."
Flow: Optimal Experience
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)
What is positive psychology?
In the plainest terms, Positive Psychology is the science of human success.
What do we want most?
Why is this important?
How? [not why]
We are not selling Happiology!
“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
- Albert Einstein
Goals for Today
Engaging your Ensemble
with Positive Psychology

New York State Band Directors Association
Saturday, March 4, 2017
Curt Ebersole
Westchester Symphonic Winds
The Masters School

New Questions,
Different Results
Tipping point
Small things, big impacts
What is this really about?
“Other People Matter” - Chris Peterson

“When you change yourself, you change the world.” -Robert Quinn
Ensemble - all the parts of a thing taken together, so that each part is considered only in relation to the whole.
“Positive psychology is the scientific study of
optimal human functioning. It aims to
discover and promote the factors that allow
individuals and communities to thrive.”

- Dr. Martin Seligman,
Founding Father of Positive Psychology
What is Positive Psychology?
Frequent flow correlates with:
Life satisfaction
Better health
Components of flow:
The task is challenging and requires skill.
We concentrate.
There are clear goals.
We get immediate/unambiguous feedback.
There is a sense of control.
What we experience with flow:
Our sense of self vanishes
Time stops
Emotions become neutral
Decrease in pain symptoms
Natural, productive "high"
"We become one with the music."
"As we master new skills, our experience of flow diminishes because the task at hand is no longer as stimulating and demanding. Thus, to maintain flow, we continually have to test ourselves in ever more challenging activities."

Sonja Lyubomirsky, 2007
Flow chart!
Questions to Consider
Now that you have a label for this experience, can you name some situations (rehearsal, performance, or otherwise) in which you might experience flow?
Examples of flow
Adjust the strength/challenge
What is an activity that
Now - go with the

Louis Alloro, MAPP
How can you leverage more flow in rehearsals?
Think about the often-asked question: "How are you today?"
Institutional and individual coaching
Training for Certification in Applied Positive Psychology
How did this all start for you, and
who/what inspired you at that time?
"Make it work!"
System of shared leadership
When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that
makes them stronger. Therefore they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher
When we convince our students that they
achieve higher performance levels, they are more apt to harness their own intrinsic motivation to learn, to practice, to be resilient.
What is an activity that
How do you recreate that inspiration for your students?
And encourage them to propogate it amongst themselves?
How would you describe your

flow experience?
This is not just a view through
rose-colored glasses!
Can your ensemble benefit from a moment of focus through concentration on a non-performance breath at the beginning of rehearsal?
Try inhaling (nose) for 4 counts, holding with the diaphragm for 4 counts, exhaling (mouth) for 8 counts. Repeat 3 times. Note how this affects the ensemble.
Transforms the future.
Can be leveraged.
Obeys a tipping point.
Feels good for everyone
Remember that
change is the norm.
Curt Ebersole
Traditional psychology developed post-WWII
Marty Seligman founded Positive Psychology, based on pleasure, engagement, and meaning.
To be successful, this requires a paradigm shift and innovation.
Review rehearsal milestones as part of closure.
Create accountability by challenging students to recall milestones at the next rehearsal.
Supports full development of individual players by creating a chain of accountable inspiration throughout the ensemble
Social-Emotional Leaders already exist in your ensemble
Leverage their energy and call them to action!
Contact info on page 8 of handout.
Full transcript