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...


Why Mediocre Intonation (and Other Accuracy Problems) May Not Be a Practice Issue, but a Focus Issue

Why Mediocre Intonation (and Other Accuracy Problems) May Not Be a Practice Issue, but a Focus Issue

Have you ever found yourself worrying about a tricky passage a couple lines in advance? And totally flubbing it when you got to it, precisely because you started thinking about it? For better or worse, the things we think about when playing have a significant influence on the quality of our performances. And more to the point, thinking too much about a difficult passage is probably going to do more harm than good. Like walking through a food court on day 2 of a juice cleanse. But it's not...


Swear You're Regressing? Why Practicing More Can Lead to Worse Performance

Swear You're Regressing? Why Practicing Too Much Can Lead to Worse Performance

We all have moments in the practice room when our mind just wanders off like a 5-year old in a toy store and it’s difficult to keep our attention on the task at hand. But for those with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), controlling attention and staying on task is a much more vexing and pervasive challenge. A challenge which can interfere with learning, not just in the classroom, but in the practice room as well. For instance, a recent study found that while folks without ADHD...


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...