A Clever Practice Hack From Behavioral Economics That Could Make Practicing More Enjoyable

A Clever Practice Hack From Behavioral Economics That Could Make Practicing More Enjoyable

We all know that exercise is good for us. But developing and maintaining an exercise habit is much easier said than done. How hard is it? Well, I remember my exercise behavior prof once remarking that statistically, we have a better chance of quitting heroin cold turkey than we do of maintaining an exercise program beyond 6 months. Yipes. Why are the numbers so discouraging? Well, working out - especially at first - isn’t inherently fun. I mean, it certainly can be, but cycling until your legs...


A Simple Practice Scheduling Hack That Couldn't Possibly Be as Effective as It Seems

A Simple Practice Scheduling Hack That Couldn't Possibly Be as Effective as It Seems

In my experience, practice room culture in music schools is a bit like the gym. There are people around at all hours of the day, but you’ll see a consistent group of folks who train in the morning, a different group of folks who always work out in the evening, and a few dedicated gym rats who are there at both ends of the day (or maybe they never left???). So here’s an interesting hypothetical. Let’s say that you could practice 2 hours a day for the next week. Would it be better to do 2...


A Metronome Practice Strategy for Musicians That Hate Metronomes

A Metronome Practice Strategy for Musicians Who Hate Metronomes

Most musicians have been encouraged to practice with a metronome at some point. I certainly was, more than once. But I never liked practicing with a metronome. It was boring and annoying. Maybe it would have been different if instead of going beep or click, it went quack, but regardless, I dreaded the metronome and secretly tried to disable more than one in my youth. But then I recently stumbled across a handful of studies which found that golfers, soccer, and tennis players benefit from...


Research Suggests That You Can Learn to Perform Well Even When You’re Nervous. Here’s How.

Research Suggests That You Can Learn to Perform Well Even When You’re Nervous. Here’s How.

Let’s say you stumbled across a genie in a bottle, who granted you the wish of an ideal practice studio. If there were no limits, what would you request? Soundproofing? Adjustable acoustics? Precise temperature and humidity control? A huge window with a view? A Fanta (grape flavored, of course) drinking fountain? Like the importance of having a quiet, uncluttered, dedicated study area in which to do homework, creating a practice environment that allows us to maximize our focus on learning is a...


The Surprising Truth about Learning Styles

The Surprising Truth about Learning Styles

Remember those pre-smartphone days of yore when you had to ask a stranger for directions whenever you got lost? I always shied away from doing so. And not just because I was reluctant to publicly let on that I was lost - but also because I was spectacularly inept at actually taking those directions. My brain could handle a turn or two, but beyond the third, my eyes would glaze over and something in my head would shut down. Give me a MapQuest turn-by-turn printout (remember those?) and I’d...