Does Clothing Color Provide a Performance Advantage?

It's been said that color influences our mood, emotions, and even behavior - from appetite control to shopping. Of course, we have to be careful not to oversimplify and over-exaggerate what we find in the literature, but color does seem to have some effect on a range of factors - among them, high-level performance. So could something so seemingly trivial as the color of our dress, shirt, or tie give us an advantage in performance and audition/competition settings? Or is this just much ado about…


16 Things We Can Learn About Music (And Life) From Basketball

16 Things We Can Learn About Music (And Life) From Basketball

Arghhhhh!!!! I'm still a bit bummed about the outcome of the NBA Finals, but alas, now seems like a fitting time to think about the game of basketball and what lessons we can apply to music. What? Basketball and music? Well, as coaching great Phil Jackson (11 NBA championships as coach of the Bulls and Lakers) once said, "Not only is there more to life than basketball, there's a lot more to basketball than basketball.”


How Can We Talk to Young Students About Performance Anxiety?

How Can We Talk to Young Students About Performance Anxiety?

The days of hanging out in a friend's back yard after school or cruising around the neighborhood on bikes are being replaced by 8-yr olds running in 80-degree heat to cut weight for Pop Warner kiddie football weigh-ins (true story) and middle school children being dropped off for early morning swim practice with a mug of coffee (also true). From athletics to academics to music, there seems to be more pressure than ever for children to become overachieving whiz kids who will get into all the…


How to Guarantee a Great Smile on Camera (And Get Into the Mood for Peak Performance)

Do you remember the episode of Friends, where Chandler couldn't smile for the camera? That was me on Friday morning. I was getting some new pictures taken and struggling mightily to fake my most sincerest smile. It was rainy outside, my tummy was grumbling for chili cheese omelets and chocolate chip pancakes, and I really didn't feel like getting into a smiley mood. And then, in an act of desperation, I tried something that optimized my mood for more smiles, and led to a complete transformation…


Toby Appel: On Learning to Trust Yourself

Toby Appel: On Learning to Trust Yourself

You know those days when you reeeeally don't feel like practicing, but the guilt compels you to look for something you can rationalize as a reasonably productive alternative? Like listening to recordings on YouTube. Or going to the museum to take in the artwork of a time period that matches the repertoire you're playing. Or reading blogs about music (Wait! Is that why you're here right now?!).