What have professional classical musicians and professional speedskaters in common?


An interview for JakajimaTV with Beorn Nijenhuis, Neuroscientist, former professional speedskater and high-performance consultant.

This interview is based on his experience while working with musicians from the Conservatory of Amsterdam (CvA) and the Royal Concert-hall Orchestra (RCO). He concluded they should try to practice and structure their lives more like athletes, but agreed they needed the research expertise to apply sports strategies to music practice.

About Beorn Nijenhuis
For eight years he performed as a professional and olympic speedskater, where he succeeded in becoming national record holder in the 1000 meter distance for four years as well as winning national and international titles. During this time he also studied university level english literature and philosophy. After his sports career he received a B.Sc in neuroscience at the University College Utrecht. He continued on to receive his research masters neuroscience at the University of Utrecht.
Currently he is a doctoral candidate at the University of Groningen studying a rare movement disorder in speedskaters. He works as a lecturer and teacher at the Conservatory of Amsterdam focusing on performance psychology.
By combining his personal experience as a top performer with his academic experience as a student of neuroscience he hopes to enrich both worlds, and share these riches with others.

As a former professional speedskater, and now neuroscientist, his goal is to be both, a doer and a thinker. For him, combining his former high-performance life with academics creates coaching that is more than the sum of it’s parts.

His experience as an athlete sets him on this journey, his knowledge as a scientist allowed him to pursue it further. Without his history as a doer and his future as a thinker, he wouldn’t be able to help in the way he does. By combining the living narrative of his former high-performance life, with the complex and revolutionary power of science he aims to change lives in a new way.

Go to the JakajimaTV for other interviews.