A Performance Review Technique to Strategically Build Confidence (yet Avoid Devolving into a Cocky Bastard)

A Performance Review Technique to Strategically Build Confidence (yet Avoid Devolving into a Cocky Bastard)

I grew up in a small town about 30-60 minutes away from the nearest metropolitan area, so most performances were followed by a long, quiet drive home with not much to think about other than the performance that just took place. This wasn’t such a drag after the occasional good performance, but it wasn’t so pleasant after mediocre to face palm-range performances (which was most of the time).

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“Productive Failure”: How strategic failure in the short term can lead to greater success and learning down the road

“Productive Failure”: A Teaching Method Which Leads to Short Term Failure, but Long Term Success

My parents would sometimes take me on drives in the countryside, with the intention of getting lost and finding their way back home. It always worked out fine with my dad at the wheel, but it seems that I did not inherit his good sense of direction, and given a choice, will tend to take the exit or fork in the road that takes me further away from home.

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To Listen or Not to Listen: Does Listening to a Recording Help Us Learn Faster and Play More Accurately?

Let’s say you have to learn a few short pieces in the next 24 hours, and have 4 hours to practice. How would you approach this task? Would you just dive right in and spend all 4 hours reading through the parts and working out the details? Or would you hop on YouTube and spend 30-60 minutes listening to some recordings first before doing any work on your instrument? As a young Suzuki kid, it was always the latter.

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Does cramming get a bad rap?

Why Does Cramming Get a Bad Rap?

Whether it was studying for a biology test, writing a philosophy paper, or prepping for seating auditions, I was always that student who seemed to be cramming all my preparation into the last possible moment. Furiously scanning notes until the teacher said “put your books away.” Or pulling an all-nighter and typing madly until the deadline gave me no choice but to finish up whatever I had and click print.

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10 most impactful things we learned in 2015

The 10 Most Impactful Things We Learned in 2015

The new year is typically a time for looking forward. For embarking on new paths, and creating new habits. But in doing so, it’s easy to miss an essential step in the looking-forward process. That of looking backwards. We know from our experience in the practice room, that repetition on autopilot isn’t particularly effective. That saying “I’ll get it next time” without reflecting on what just happened, and what we plan on doing differently next time, won’t lead to the results we're looking for.

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Values Clarification: a Novel Strategy to Reduce the Chances of Choking under Pressure

Values Clarification: a Novel Strategy to Reduce the Chances of Choking under Pressure

Imagine how it would feel to be standing on the green of the 18th hole of a major LPGA tournament, on the final day, with a 1-stroke lead.

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Naturals vs. Strivers. Do we unconsciously favor those who appear more naturally gifted?

“Naturals” vs. “Strivers.” Do We Unconsciously Favor Those Who Appear More Naturally Gifted?

Let’s say that you have only one opening in your teaching studio, but two students who want to study with you. They’re both the same age, and both excellent and accomplished players already who play at the same level.

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Why Trying to Fight Anxiety and Negative Emotions May Only Make Things Worse.

Developing Research Which Suggests That Trying to Fight Anxiety May Only Make Things Worse

Once upon a time, there was a little boy who lived on a farm and was watching his father struggle to get a cow into their barn. The father pushed and pleaded and swore at the cow, but to no avail. The harder he tried, the more stubborn the cow became. Eventually, the boy went over to help. But not in the way you might think. Rather than pushing the cow with his father, the boy did the opposite.

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Perfect Shmerfect. The Stage of Practicing When More “Mistakes” Is Better for Learning.

I tried to teach my kids how to play Mario Kart when they were 1 and 3. You can probably imagine how it went. They spent most of their time swerving all over the road, falling off the track into water, getting completely turned around and going the wrong direction, or stuck in a corner (which kind of makes me cringe in anticipation of real driving lessons when they’re 16…). Of course, such errors and mistakes are to be expected anytime we learn a new skill.

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The Most Important Part of a Performance That We Forget to Practice

The Most Important Part of a Performance (Which We Usually Forget to Practice)

For family movie night a couple weeks ago, I picked out a movie called Rookie of the Year about a kid, who in a freak accident, develops a rocket arm and gets signed by the Chicago Cubs as a 12-year old. If you don’t remember this movie, it’s because it was released back in 1993.

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