19 things that great teachers do

19 Things That Great Teachers Do: Insights from Three Renowned Artist-Teachers

My oldest kid is currently in a phase where he tries to avoid explaining things by saying "it's complicated." To his credit, some of the things we experience in life really are difficult to articulate in words - despite being clear to us in a non-verbal sort of way. Like a child trying to explain what love is1. Or defining what it is that makes a great teacher great. Have you ever wondered what exactly renowned teachers do during lessons that help their students make progress and sound better…


The Two Most Efficient (and Two Least Efficient) Memorization Strategies

The Two Most Efficient (and Two Least Efficient) Memorization Strategies

Making the bed in the morning is one of those activities in life that seems like a questionable use of time. I mean, it’s going to get unmade anyway the next evening, right?2 Socks (or more accurately, their seeming proclivity for ditching their partners) are another time-sucking black hole in our lives3. Then again, because of my fundamental laziness, I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient. Not that all shortcuts are better, of course. But spending more time on something than is…


A 30-second Technique to Prevent Choking under Pressure That Sounds Too Good to Be True

A Simple Technique to Prevent Choking under Pressure (Which Sounds Like it Couldn't Possibly Work)

One of my favorite violin concertos - the F# minor concerto by Henryk Wieniawski - begins with a 10th in 5th position. That’s enough of a challenge as it is, not to mention when you’re nervous and your hand is cold and stiff and claw-like. But in his infinite wisdom, the composer decided to craft a lengthy intro (about 20% of the length of the entire movement) which is a nice enough bit of music, but forces the performer to just stand there in front of the audience and stew for…


Observational practice: Not just better than nothing

Watching Videos of Experts Can Help Us Learn More Effectively - If We Do It Right

Most kids seem to love watching themselves on video - whether they’re singing, dancing, or just being their goofy selves. Weird how things change as we get older though, no? I remember thinking it was a blast to watch old 8mm film of myself as a kid, but by the time camcorders came out, I totally resisted watching any video of myself playing. It was bad enough to have to listen to my performances; adding video on top sooo did not make me feel any better. Of course, watching someone else play -…


Autonomy in the Practice Room: How Choice Can Help You Learn Better

Autonomy in the Practice Room: How Choice Can Enhance Learning

24 hours sounds like a lot, but once you take out time for sleeping, eating, school, homework, Tae Kwon Do practice, etc., there’s frustratingly little left over. And everyone just seems to get busier with each passing year. So when it comes to homework, sometimes I really just want my kids to get it done in the most expeditious way possible. But this sentiment seems to transform me into something of a homework tyrant. Telling them when to do it, where to do it, in what order, and so on. "Hey!…