Why a Little Reflection Should Be a Regular Part of Your Practice Routine

Why a Little Reflection Should Be a Regular Part of Your Practice Routine

A part of me has always been rather fond of the "no pain, no gain" mentality. The giving "110% percent" mindset, and the idea that if you're not actively engaged in effortful activity, nothing is happening. But I've come to appreciate that gains don't always happen when we're in the midst of an activity. I've learned, for instance, that muscle growth doesn't happen during a workout, but between workouts, when we are in recovery mode - hence the importance of proper nutrition and sleep to help…


are great sight readers born or made?

Are Great Sight-Readers Born or Made?

I grew up learning music by ear, so when I first began playing in an orchestra and saw how some of my friends could simply look at a new piece of music and play it in real-time, I was totally impressed (and more than a little intimidated). I did get better at it over time, but always thought of myself as a relatively poor sight reader. Of course I shouldn't complain since I never really made a point of practicing sight-reading, but I always just assumed that I was a lost cause. But is…


why practicing practicing from an early age is so important

Why Practicing Practicing from an Early Age Is so Important

A few years ago, I heard Robert Duke (who was once a band teacher) tell a story about how he flipped practicing, and got his students to beg him to be allowed to practice more. Essentially, he told his students that they were not allowed to take their instruments home, until he had heard them play individually and gauged whether they could practice effectively and avoid developing bad habits. Once they demonstrated a certain level of practice competence, they could take their instrument home -…


What Is More Effective - Praise or Criticism?

In 1948, the UCLA men's basketball team finished with a 12-13 record. Hoping to turn things around, they hired a young coach named John Wooden, who had spent the last two years coaching at Indiana State University. He made an immediate impact at UCLA, coaching the team to a division title and a 22-7 record - more wins than they had ever had in a season. He did even better the next year, helping his team secure another division title and a 24-7 record. He went on to become the greatest coach in…