on becoming strengths-focused, whole-hearted artists

On Becoming Strengths-Focused, Whole-Hearted Artists

I loved the X-Men comics as a child, so I was pretty excited when my 8-year old started getting into the X-Men a few weeks ago. As we geeked out about the different mutant powers, and talked about which character we would love to be, we also talked about why so many sought to hide their strengths, and were ashamed and afraid of what made them so special. What I think he finds so compelling about the X-Men is that each one has a unique singular strength. And yet despite their great power, they…


Not an Optimist? How to Make Pessimism Work for You.

Not an Optimist? How to Make Pessimism Work for You.

When most four-year-old kids take a nap, they just lie down and go to sleep. When I was four, my mom would turn on an endless loop cassette tape of whatever I was playing, and tell me to visualize myself performing until I fell asleep.  When you're four, imagining that you're Itzhak Perlman rocking out a world-class rendition of Humoresque is child's play. Heck, at that age, I also believed I could train myself to breathe underwater and read other peoples' minds. But as I got older, more…


how to get distractions out of your head when you're trying to practice

How to Get Those Distracting Thoughts Out of Your Head When You're Trying to Practice

"Argh...I really ought to clean out the kitty litter..." "Hmm...I wonder if there's a way to transfer MP3's from my computer to my iPhone via wifi..." "Crap...I need to find a good dentist."  That voice in your head can serve as a pretty helpful reminder service - though its timing often leaves something to be desired.  These "Zeigarnik intrusions" can be helpful in some situations. But when you're trying to get in the zone and have a productive practice session, it can be distracting for items…


Is It Helpful to Listen to Music Before an Audition

Is It Helpful to Listen to Music Right Before Your Audition?

Do you listen to music while running or working out at the gym? Well, you may be onto something. As it turns out music can enhance your workouts in a number of ways. For one, it takes your mind off how tired you feel, and can lower your perception of effort. Music can also put you in a more positive mood. Hmm...so might listening to music also help enhance performance outside of the gym? Like on stage? Many sport psychologists do encourage athletes to listen to music before competing, and you…


How to Get Yourself to Practice When You Don't Feel Like It

You know those days when you soooo do not want to practice? Where you sort of putz around the house looking for an excuse to do almost anything else? On the plus side, I suppose those are the days when the refrigerator gets cleaned out and the bathroom cabinets get organized, but those things don't leave us feeling especially great about ourselves at the end of the day. Yes, that inner drive sure is nice when it's there, on those days when we feel the motivation to develop our skills, learn new…