It’s often said that timing is everything.
Yes, people are typically referring to life or business when they say this, but it appears that the same could be said for athletic and musical endeavors as well. After all, space out for a moment in orchestra, and you could very well end up playing a solo that nobody saw coming.
But on an even more fundamental level, whether we’re hitting a tennis ball (bounce…hit), driving a golf ball (tick…tock), or nailing a particularly difficult...
by Noa Kageyama, Ph.D.
If you watched any TV during the 90’s, you will probably remember the Lay’s potato chip challenge.
Their catchphrase was “Betcha can’t eat just one.” And as those diabolical marketing geniuses predicted, I did find it awfully hard to eat just one and call it a day – and I don’t even particularly like potato chips.
Indeed, we all know that many of the things we want most dearly in the long-term (e.g. becoming a great clarinetist, publishing a book, having healthy teeth)...
The great pianist Arthur Rubinstein is said to have learned Franck’s Symphonic Variations by engaging in mental practice on a long train trip, playing it on a piano for the first time at the first rehearsal.
Is this just the stuff of legend? Or are feats of learning like this possible for us “normal” folks?
To what degree can we learn, memorize, and play pieces that are at our ability level without the benefit of an instrument to practice on?
Mental practice vs. physical practice
A team of...
Ah, the dreaded memory slip.
We’ve all experienced at least one in our lifetimes. And spent many a sleepless night playing and replaying music in our heads, in an effort to reassure ourselves that we actually do have everything memorized. Or spent most of a performance fearing that we’re going to forget what comes next, or get stuck in an endless loop.
It may not literally be life or death, but it can certainly feel that way at times.
But then there are those for whom memorization seems to...
You know those happy moments in the practice room when you experience a tiny breakthrough, and after having struggled for a while, can finally play a passage exactly like you want?
Feels like cause for celebration, right?
Well, as a kid, I would reward myself for my achievement by putting my violin down and taking a practice break. Sometimes stretching into the next day…
This seemed like a reasonable enough thing to do at the time. Of course, now that I have kids, this sort of thing...