The Value of Eschewing Tradition and Going out on a Limb

Why Tradition Isn't Always What It's Cracked up to Be

Whether it’s a treasured family recipe for chocolate fudge or a technique for doing long division, our daily activities are peppered with traditions of one kind or another - customs or ways of doing things that have been passed on from one generation to the next. We have a lot of musical traditions as well. Some are related to technique and how we play our instrument, while many are related to the musical aspect of how we approach certain pieces of music. Understanding our lineage, and the…


Are Today's Artists More Uniform and Less Musically Adventurous than Those of Yesteryear?

Are Today's Artists More Uniform and Less Musically Adventurous than Those of Yesteryear?

Do you remember those not-so-long-ago times when soda came in glass bottles, drive-in-movies were still a thing, and tomatoes actually tasted like tomatoes? Even though in most ways we are generally better off now than we used to be, it’s easy to look back and romanticize the “good old days.” Whether we call it declinism (bad) or nostalgia (not so bad), it’s pretty common to gripe about the state of things today, bemoaning the declining craftsmanship and build quality of our furniture, the…


Reward vs. punishment - which leads to better learning? The answer is not what you think.

Reward vs. Punishment - Which Results in Better Learning?

In the world of college and professional sports, some coaches are notorious for having a short fuse, and for utilizing what some would consider a punitive (or abusive) style of coaching. Legendary Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight comes to mind, whose controversial dismissal in 2000 was in response to allegations of abusive behavior (such as the 1997 choking incident ). The recent movie Whiplash  featured a similar figure (though fictitious, of course) - a…


4 signs your quartet may be headed for divorce

4 Signs Your Quartet May Be Headed for Divorce

Except for the time in 3rd grade when I lost my cool during an impassioned game of keep-away, I’ve only had a few really heated arguments in my life. And with a pretty small number of people - basically just family...and chamber music partners. Indeed, many have compared the dynamics and relationships amongst those in serious ensembles with that of marriages (for instance, The NY Times on the Guarneri Quartet, or Chicago Tribune on the Chicago String Quartet). And of course, there are some…