An oft-neglected consideration in audition preparation that could be the difference between a winning performance and a missed opportunity. 

An Oft-Neglected Consideration in Audition Preparation That Could Be the Difference Between a Winning Performance and a Missed Opportunity

For me, 2 months was the sweet spot. That was the point in my competition or audition preparations where the repertoire was more or less in my fingers, and I was filled with hope and optimism about where my playing would be on the big day. After all, 2 months always seemed like more than enough time to hone and refine every little detail. Of course, that’s also right about the point where time somehow shifts into warp speed (but very sneakily) and before you know it, there’s only 4 weeks...


Struggling to Get a Tricky Passage up to Tempo? Try This Ingenious Practice Technique.

Struggling to Get a Tricky Passage up to Tempo? Why "Perfect" Practice May Actually Be the Problem.

It’s been said that we must learn to walk before we can run. Which of course makes perfect sense, but have you ever encountered a speed plateau in a piece you’re working on? A section that you can totally play at about 80-90% of the final tempo, but no matter what you try, keep hitting a wall, and can’t seem to get over the hump? Why does this happen? And how can you solve this irksome problem? The speed-accuracy tradeoff Back in the 1950’s, a psychologist named Paul Fitts...


Why It's Important to Know (and use) Your

Why It's Important to Know (and Use) Your "Signature Strengths"

That’s out of tune! Now it feels rushed. Hmm…the sound is a bit forced; doesn’t ring enough.  Whether it’s the voice in our head, or a trusted teacher, conductor, or colleague, we spend a lot of time focusing on all the imperfections in our playing. And not just with regards to all the little details in every piece we play, but with every facet of our instrumental skills and musicianship too. From finger tension, to breath control, rhythm, concept of sound, intonation, or our musical...


Having Difficulty Believing You Can Play a Flawless Audition? Forget Feedback; Try “feedforward.”

Having Difficulty Believing You Can Play a Flawless Audition?

When I was a little kid, my mom used to put on a recording of a piece I was about to perform, and have me close my eyes and listen to the recording, pretending that it was me playing perfectly in tune, with beautiful sound, and not whichever famous artist was actually playing on the tape. It felt like a silly thing to do at the time, but it did seem to help, and was something I ended up doing quite a bit of over the years. Could it really be possible to enhance learning or performance by simply...


How Being Too Quick to Offer Feedback Can Degrade Learning

Why Being Too Quick to Offer Feedback Can Degrade Learning

I remember a lesson many years ago, when my teacher told me that her goal was for me to learn how to teach myself. Where I would no longer need a teacher. I couldn’t have been more than 9 or 10 at the time, so the notion of me teaching myself was completely inconceivable. It was enough of a struggle to play in tune, never mind coming up with my own bowings and fingerings, or figuring out how to make a piece engage and capture a listener’s attention. But she was right. One day I wouldn’t...