top 10 posts of 2014

Top 10 Posts of 2013

With 2014 just around the corner, I thought today would be a good day to close out the year with a Top 10 list of the most-read posts of 2013. From ways of structuring practice time to make more progress in less time to strategies for building confidence and reducing frustration in the practice room, hopefully you'll find something you can use to make 2014 a productive year. Without further ado, here's the list...


cello student confidence

Why the Things You Say to Your Students May Have a Deeper Impact Than You Think

We all have a voice in our head. Sometimes it just offers a running commentary on the events around us ("Yikes, why would anybody wear that?"). Other times it just tosses some random weird thoughts into our stream of consciousness to keep us on our toes ("Hmmm...how would I escape an angry bear in the woods?"). And then there are moments when we engage in dialogue with it ("C'mon, you can do this...but what if I screw it up? Don't be silly, you've played it dozens of times before...yeah,…


no more joy in music?

Do We Have to Suck All the Joy Out of Music in Order to Become Great?

When I started violin lessons as a kid, my mom began learning violin alongside me. Even as a 4-yr old kid, I could tell she wasn't very good, but I still remember how much I enjoyed playing duets together. I also remember how much fun the experience of playing with a pianist always was. Even playing Twinkle Twinkle as a group with the older kids doing some variation in the back row was a real treat. You know that feeling? Where you feel lifted up somehow on the inside? It's difficult to…


The Hidden Cost of Avoiding Failure

Whether it involved playing softball at recess, shoveling the driveway, or dealing with mosquitoes and diarrhea, "building character" was one of the recurring themes in the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. Character-building is not particularly fun, but was Calvin's dad onto something? Is there something about those painful, miserable experiences that makes us stronger? Or does it just undermine our confidence?