The Importance of Writing Notes in Your Music

I was in Bloomington, Indiana in March to buy some of the best donuts in the world do some workshops for the School of Music (when you have a moment check out their cool workshop archive with videos and handouts of past workshops). While I was there, I had the opportunity to meet Jeff Nelsen - a Canadian pig-farmer-raised amateur magician french horn player, whose name has often come up in conversations with students and professional musicians alike. We met over chinese food and talked about…


How the Right Habits Can Save Us Under Pressure (or, Why Is There Cream Cheese in my Freezer?)

I found a tub of cream cheese in my freezer this week. I didn't put it there. My wife says she didn't either. But what probably happened, is that in the morning rush to get the kids changed, fed, and out the door, we cleared the table and put everything away without really thinking about what we were doing. Like putting milk in the pantry or our keys in the fridge, usually we catch ourselves and chuckle at our absent-mindedness. But a similar thing can happen under pressure, when it's not quite…


The Importance of Run-Throughs (and How to Get Better Grades While Studying Less)

The Importance of Run-Throughs (and How to Get Better Grades While Studying Less)

I've always had a habit of cramming for tests. Staying up all night and feverishly force-feeding as much information into my brain as possible - right up until the moment the exam began - was a pretty familiar ritual through college. It worked out ok on occasion, but no matter how I did on the test, I would forget most of what I crammed into my brain by the next class. When I got to grad school and realized I could no longer in good conscience continue to get by on this strategy, I found a new…


Raw Technique vs. Functional Technique

Raw Technique vs. Functional Technique

There's an interesting trend in the fitness industry nowadays. It's called functional strength training, and is a reaction to the observation that raw strength in the gym doesn't always necessarily translate into strength in the real world. Meaning, being able to bench press 300 lbs. is a pretty impressive display of force, but this kind of strength may or may not transfer to real-world tasks like lifting heavy, awkwardly-shaped boulders out of the ground and loading them onto a truck bed, or…