apparently money can buy happiness

Apparently, Money CAN Buy Happiness...?

Conventional wisdom says that money can't buy happiness. Indeed, happiness studies suggest that there is some truth to this. Case in point, the Princeton study on the $75,000 threshold (and while you're at it, check out the WSJ bit on how much money you need to make to be happy in your city - which might explain why there seem to be a lot of cranky folks in NYC). Of course, the reality is a little more nuanced. Research in the last couple years suggests that money actually can buy happiness -…


How to Reduce Practice Room Angst (and Boost Creativity)

How to Reduce Practice Room Angst (and Boost Creativity)

You know the feeling. The one you get when you run into a particularly vexing problem in the practice room. Where no matter how hard you try, you just can't get a note to speak right, or a phrase to come out the way it should. Maybe you can't get your fingers to cooperate, or figure out what's wrong with your embouchure, or get the tempo where it needs to be. Whatever it is, it's frustrating, and as the frustration builds, you dig your heels in, narrow your eyes, grit your teeth, and continue…


why praise can backfire

Why the Wrong Kind of Praise Can Undermine Our Students' Confidence

The 1960's gave us lots of cool stuff. Jimi Hendrix, bell-bottoms, skateboards, the Flinstones...and also an explosion of interest in self-esteem - i.e. the beliefs and feelings we have about ourselves. The idea that feeling good about ourselves leads to success sounds reasonable enough, and the idea really took off. Some went so far as to call self-esteem a "social vaccine," purporting that it would lower crime, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, improve academic achievement, and even strengthen…


Menahem Pressler: On following your heart

Menahem Pressler: On Following Your Heart

E.E. Cummings once said "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." For many years, I didn't understand what that meant. But it's starting to make more sense. After all, it's easy to follow a well-worn path, to do the safe thing, or to take others' advice when it comes to figuring out what we should do with our lives. But artists seem to find their own way. Artists learn to listen to that inner voice, and have the courage to follow - even if they have no idea where it will take…


Why Looking on the Bright Side Could Be Bad

Forrest Gump said that "life was like a box of chocolates...you never know what you're gonna get." Indeed, life is full of many beautiful and happy moments, but also many challenges - both on and off-stage. A conductor or colleague who is making your life miserable. A seemingly endless string of auditions where you fail to advance. Injuries. Career stagnation. Relationship or family problems. Illnesses. And other surprises that come out of nowhere. How are we supposed to deal with all of this?…