variable practice: a strategy that will help you play more accurately when it counts

A Practice Strategy That Will Help You Play More Accurately When It Counts

Have you ever noticed that when you take a bucket of balls onto the tennis court or driving range and just hit, eventually you settle into a nice rhythm and things start to click? Or how in the practice room, if you keep noodling around with the same tricky passage 20, 30, 50 times, suddenly things fall into place and just work? It's a great feeling. It feels like we've figured it out. That our muscles have gotten the hang of things, and we've made some tangible progress. It feels like a good…


afraid to be yourself and create great music? this might help

Afraid to Be Yourself and Make Great Music? This Might Help You Get Unblocked.

Have you ever wished you could be someone else? Someone for whom a particular skill or quality just seemed so easy, whether it was their warmth and positive energy, insightful and keen wit, or freewheeling dance moves? Meanwhile we bemoan our inner Eeyore  and cringe at past memories of uncomfortable attempts at humor  and awkwardness on the dance floor  and wallow in a downward spiral of self-doubt and discouragement. How do we navigate around this tendency to…


Five Ways to Turn the Music up to 11 (and Dim Your Nerves in the Process)

Five Ways to Turn the Music up to 11 (and Turn Anxiety Down a Notch)

Clarinetist James Campbell once remarked that if you really know the music well, you can't be nervous. There's a lot of truth to this - but not necessarily in the way that it might seem at first glance. On the surface, it sounds like a statement about preparation. That if you've practiced the piece enough, you should be confident about your ability to play it. Sure, that kind of preparation is essential, but I think that misses the deeper, more compelling observation. I believe this is a…


want to jinx your next performance? say these two words

Two Words That Could Jinx Your Next Performance

Have you ever gone to the doctor for a shot, and been given the oh-so-helpful advice to "just relax" right before they stabbed you with a needle? Or been moments away from walking on stage to give a big performance, and encouraged to "just relax"? Though completely well-intentioned, most of us know from experience that this is easier said than done. But no big deal, right? Well...for some, being told to relax might actually be the worst advice you could give (ok, not literally the worst advice…