Do elite performers zone out or zone in for optimal performance?

Do Elite Performers “Zone Out” or “Zone In” for Optimal Performance?

Have you ever been in front of a large group of people (without your instrument), and suddenly couldn’t figure out what to do with your hands? In your pockets? Behind your back? On your hips? At your sides? Nothing feels particularly natural, once you start thinking about something you’ve never thought about. The same thing can happen on stage too - and also with our thinking. What do I think about while waiting off-stage? What about right before I play the first note, which is a tricky 10th in…


Why Do We Have to Remain Still When Doing Mental Imagery?

Dynamic Imagery: A More Effective Way to Do Mental Rehearsal?

When you think of mental imagery or visualization, do you think of a quiet, relaxed, meditative activity? Or something more akin to playing air guitar? Most studies of mental imagery go to great lengths to ensure that participants remain very still while engaging in visualization. That way, it’s easier to link any performance enhancements to the use of imagery, and not muscle movement. This may be important for conducting good research, but when it comes to using imagery outside the lab, it’s…


How Do Experts Get Even Better? 5 Differences Between the Practice of Expert and Intermediate Athletes.

How Do Experts Get Even Better? 5 Lessons From the Practice of Expert and Intermediate Athletes.

When I was in graduate school, my next door neighbor was a well-known concert artist. Occasionally, I’d hear them practicing through the wall. It was interesting to see how they practiced - what they spent time on, how they approached trouble spots, etc. At the time, I thought my problem was that I didn’t practice enough. And while that was part of it, I’d also never heard of “deliberate practice.” I had no idea what productive practice looked like. And the notion that practicing effectively is…


worry too much? take back control of your brain by batching your worries

Worry Too Much? Take Back Control of Your Thoughts by "Batching" Your Worries.

Ever find yourself being distracted in the practice room by all sorts of random thoughts and worries? Such as, will I be able to learn my part before the rehearsal? What will I do if I don’t even get into my safety schools? Will I be able to pay my bills at the end of the month? Will I be able to get home before the dog pees on my shoes in protest for being neglected all day? Like in-laws who live across the street, these worrisome thoughts like to spontaneously pop into our personal mental…