Build Greater Confidence by Approaching Practice Like a Surgeon

I went to the Aspen Music Festival for many summers to study with Paul Kantor, who wisely (but frustratingly!) didn’t always give me the answers.

As my teacher, I expected him to tell me what was wrong, and how to fix it. But often, he’d flip roles and ask me what was wrong, why I thought so, and how I ought to approach changing things. Sometimes he’d even mimic and exaggerate what he saw me doing (ack, the horror!), and ask me to play the teacher role.

As a kid, I didn’t want to think so hard.

Make Practicing Less Frustrating With the 5 Whys Technique

It seems that every child goes through a phase in toddlerhood where they respond to everything you say with the question “why?”

I’m not sure if they do this because they genuinely want to know why Target closes at 10pm, or why they can’t skip school on their birthday, or why Daddy does not like eating fermented soybeans. Or if they simply enjoy watching us squirm and get increasingly frustrated.

Annoying as the never-ending whys can be, the question “why” is actually a useful tool in the practice room.

Perform Better Under Pressure by Tweaking This One Belief

Stress management is a huge business. A quick Amazon search yields 18,558 books, ranging from Stress Management for Dummies to Stress-Free Potty Training.
No surprise I suppose, because we’ve all experienced varying degrees of stress in the last year, on-stage and off. Heck, the last week…day…hour, even.
Kids fighting with each other in the back seat as we try to navigate rush hour traffic to get to a doctor’s appointment. Worrying about how we’re going to pay our rent at the end of the month.