Book Announcement: It’s Not (JUST) About the Gig

My name is Dana Fonteneau and I am the founder and creator of The WholeHearted Musician.

I had the great pleasure of introducing myself to Musicovation in October, 2015 (you can read that here.) In case you’re getting to know me the for the first time, it’s important to express that the WholeHearted Musician was created out of a deep need to articulate thoughts, feelings, ideas and concerns I had (and heard from clients) about the music world and the challenge of creating a career.  It’s a private practice and business devoted entirely to the personal development and career evolvement of performing artists, particularly from the view point that success is an expression of the whole person (not just the performer), and it is self-defined, self-created and self-fulfilling.

To support this vision, I offer a range of services including career counseling and coaching, psychotherapy (for those in CA), somatic work, guest residencies, talks, workshops, and consultation for ensembles and artistic organizations.  I’ve worked with clients throughout the world including members of major orchestras, faculty at conservatories and music schools, students of all ages, members of top chamber music ensembles and presented at places including Chamber Music America, Rice University, Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, Yellow Barn, Opera San Jose, Sonoma State University, Network for Music Career Development Officers, California All-State Music Educators and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

A great deal has happened since that article last Fall, including me publishing my first book, It’s Not (JUST) About the Gig: A Musician’s Guide to Creating the Mindset for Career Success AND Fulfillment.


(Available in e-book form on

This has been quite an adventure, challenge and milestone- both personally and professionally.

I wrote this book because I noticed that people who followed my blog or came to presentations (but weren’t ready for private coaching) needed something to help them follow through with the insights and “ah-has” they would have.

So I created an e-book (which should be available in print form by the Fall of 2016) that is part book, part work-book and part journal.  It is a personal journey of self-exploration to help a musician (at any stage of life) ask some tough but necessary questions that challenge the cultural assumptions and beliefs about what makes success in the performing arts. By the end, if people don’t just read it but have actually answered all the questions, they will have a profoundly different mindset and clarity of focus on what success means to them, what they actually want, where they are in life, where they want to be and have an articulated plan of how to get there.

Here’s the official description of the book from the amazon sales page:

“Making it” in the music world can seem like a magical, unpredictable outcome granted only to the lucky, chosen few. 

A solid musical education focuses on learning repertoire, gaining mastery of technique, interpretation, memorization, musicality and quality of performance as well as auditions and competitions. Yet one’s personal development and a true sense of self can get lost along the way. 

We are trained to believe that if we just practice enough, go to the right school, win the competitions and get the big gig, THEN, we’ll finally “make it” and everything will be happily ever after. 

Except it usually doesn’t work out that way. 

In over a decade of working with musicians as a psychotherapist and now career coach, I’ve seen so many unhappy and unfulfilled musicians. Cases have ranged from people who feel like they are “bowing for dollars” meaning they have a nice orchestra job but actually dread going to work. Others feel disrespected and undervalued because of not getting a promotion in a music school or conservatory. Some look so successful on paper yet are unable to get out of the red financially or deal with interpersonal problems with a business partner, colleague or board of directors. And yet some are lost in the audition circuit, year after year after year, freelancing and teaching along the way as they get more and more burnt out. It goes on and on. 

This book dissolves the myths about success in music and helps you not only define what success is to you, but helps you create a solid action plan to be successful in all areas of your life. 

Throughout this book, Dana will guide you down a path of self-exploration and personal discovery to help you answer questions such as: 

How do I define success? 
What do I truly love to do? 
How can I get paid what I am worth? 
What do I want to express? 
What do I want to share with the world? 
How do I want to make a difference? 
Who inspires me, models the success I want and how can I learn from them? 
How do I take failure and disappointment and turn it into growth and success? 

By the end of this book, you will know yourself better, have a clear idea of what you authentically want, and an inspired action plan to create the success and fulfillment you dream of.”

I sincerely hope this book is of value and service to you and I thank you for the opportunity to share it with you! I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences and feedback.

I wish you inspired and fulfilling success!


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