For More Effective Practice, Try…Longer…Pauses

for more perfect practice, try...longer...pauses

In theory, piñatas are terrific fun.

I mean, what’s not to like? A hanging cornucopia of sweets, opened in spectacular fashion by smashing with a stick while blindfolded? Good times!

Of course, the reality of piñatas is never quite as exciting as one might hope.

First off, there are tons of complete misses, glancing blows, and weak hits. Then the older siblings get into the act, but to no avail.

Use the “Reverse” Zeigarnik Effect to Start Each Day of Practice Feeling Mentally Refreshed

Use the “reverse” Ziegarnik Effect to Start Each Day of Practice Feeling Mentally Refreshed

No pain, no gain! Feel the burn!

You may recognize these as popular exercise mottos from the 80’s. And maybe still in some circles today.

But it’s become increasingly common knowledge among athletes from NBA basketball players to bodybuilders and powerlifters, that rest and recovery is an essential ingredient for effective training and maximal performance.

As Olympic marathoner Keith Brantley once said, “Any idiot can train himself into the ground. The trick is working in training to get gradually stronger.”
The importance of detaching
Part of effective recovery is quality sleep. Part of it is nutrition.

How to Learn Better From Failures (And Successes Too)

how to bounce back from failures (and successes too)

You probably spend a lot of time thinking about how to practice and learn more effectively.

You probably also spend a lot of time thinking about how to perform more optimally, and what you have to do in that moment to play your best.

But as performance science researcher Aaron Williamon noted in his podcast episode a few months ago, there’s a third element that’s helpful to include in the practice-performance equation.

And that’s what we ought to do after a performance – i.e. the post-performance review.

What Comes First – the Notes or the Music? A Chicken/Egg Problem in the Practice Room.

What Comes First the Notes or the Music? A Chicken/Egg Problem for the Practice Room.

Once upon a time, my teacher put a few strips of colored tape on the fingerboard of my little 1/16th sized violin.

A well-intentioned move, but one which led to some mother-son conflict in the ensuing week of practice. My mom noticed that I kept putting my finger slightly off the line of tape. My mom got increasingly frustrated, insisting that I put my finger ON THE TAPE. But, stubborn little kid I was, apparently I didn’t budge, saying that it wasn’t the right place.

So, my mom asked my teacher about this at my next lesson.

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Discover your mental strengths and weaknesses

If performances have been frustratingly inconsistent, try the 4-min Mental Skills Audit. It won't tell you what Harry Potter character you are, but it will point you in the direction of some new practice methods that could help you level up in the practice room and on stage.