Story of The Exhale

Music making demands discipline, professionalism and creativity. But scratch the surface and you find a need for holistic wellbeing. Exceptional musicianship comes from within. Healthy practice forms the foundation of successful music performance. It's the bedrock of a vibrant, long lasting career.

As musicians, I believe we need to learn how to be kinder and more generous to ourselves. Both inside and outside the practice room. The reality is, our work or study environment can be tense and competitive. We can experience a lack of direction around career progression. We lack basic skills necessary to exist as businesspeople. This presents a chronically toxic working environment. It’s the opposite of the liberated, informed thinking that allows us to perform at our best. To communicate to our audience without pain. To enjoy a better quality of life.

The Exhale offers an alternative. The Exhale Classes. A community. A sharing of ideas and a place for meaningful learning. For professionals, music lovers and music students. At all stages of music education. From school right through to tertiary education and beyond.

For life.

“It's really changing the world for musicians.” – Jennifer Johnson, faculty member, violinist and author.

A Unique Answer to a Global Crisis

The first Exhale retreat was planned for the Easter break in 2020. It was to be held at the beautiful Lake Biel in Switzerland. We had arranged a wealth of masterclasses. Experts in performance, nutrition and yoga were primed to join us. But as the worldwide pandemic took hold, it became clear this was not going to happen. Instead, in an incredibly tight timeframe, we took The Exhale online.

The first Exhale was a resounding success. It embodied the very resilience and community at its core. Around 1,000 participants signed up to take part. Topics included everything from Baroque violin to improvisation and teaching. Every day began and ended with yoga for musicians.

Wellbeing for Musicians

The programme was infused with Alexander technique, Feldenkrais and meditation. There was a strong focus on career development, life skills and mental health. Body and mind. Many of the sessions sold out in just days.

Our "Artist Café” events offered a discussion forum for faculty members and students. Leading international musicians joined the conversation. The faculty included Natalie Clein, Gary Hoffman, Roberto González-Monjas, Peter Sheppard Skærved, Peter Whelan and Máté Szücs. Participants gained valuable insights and inspiration around performance anxiety, stress management and breathwork for musicians.

We had risen to the challenge.

The response from you, our students made it clear. This is something you need. To learn together, share insights, and draw support and encouragement from leading teachers. And from each other.

“A very special place where there is a mutual respect and open trust for sharing resonating thoughts and ideas that come from an honest and sincere place in all of us.” – Matthew Jones, faculty member, violist and head of chamber music at Guildhall School of Music.

Music Courses that Make a Difference

Today, the Exhale continues online. A positive legacy of hope in a time when performance is impossible for many.

We now have a faculty of more than 20 artists. Our curriculum is constantly updated. Curated to meet your needs as a musician and as a person, to complement music college studies and support professional development. We are available to a worldwide audience, thanks to the power of the Internet.

“The future as a performing musician.” – Daniel Schynder, faculty member, saxophonist and composer.

What The Exhale Can Do for You

It is my belief that the pressure we put ourselves under can lead us into difficulties. Self-discipline, will, motivation, excellence - these are all positive attributes. But just like any "athlete", we can experience repetitive strain injury and frustration. Mental strain and a constant drive for success can take their toll.

We need to learn to balance. We need tools and techniques. To know how to relax. To find a way to our innermost selves.

This is the only way we can achieve all that we wish to achieve. This is the only way we can break through our self-imposed expectations. To learn to be free.

I hope you will join our community. We look forward to meeting you!

Warmest regards,

Gwendolyn Masin


What Our Students Say

“Incredibly uplifting and inspiring” - Jane, violinist

“Huge thanks for the wonderful opportunity... to immerse myself in this new learning environment. I have gained a lot of insight and it has helped shift my moments of uncertainty and fearful mindset into one of positivity and hope.” - Tim, cellist

“Such a wonderful introduction to improvisation….It was so much fun and incredibly interesting. I’m certainly inspired.” - Anna, soprano

Everyone Is Welcome

The Exhale is the brainchild of world-renowned violinist, Gwendolyn Masin. Gwendolyn is a soloist, chamber musician, teacher and festival founder. She works all over Europe.

Classes are open to professionals, students and amateur musicians. Whatever your discipline, everyone is very welcome.

We understand that many musicians are currently experiencing financial hardship. As such, we have sought to keep course fees to a minimum. Some classes are free of charge.

We are proud to support the charities:

  • Caritas Switzerland,
  • Yoga Stops Traffick,
  • Purple Valley Yoga Retreat.

In the future, when it is possible, classes will once more take place offline. In the beautiful mountains of Switzerland, and elsewhere.