Remember those pre-smartphone days of yore when you had to ask a stranger for directions whenever you got lost?
I always shied away from doing so. And not just because I was reluctant to publicly let on that I was lost - but also because I was spectacularly inept at actually taking those directions. My brain could handle a turn or two, but beyond the third, my eyes would glaze over and something in my head would shut down. Give me a MapQuest turn-by-turn printout (remember those?) and I’d be…
by Noa Kageyama, Ph.D.
Think back to your last big audition or performance. What do you remember feeling, moments before you walked on stage?
Heart pounding in your chest? Butterflies in your stomach? Cold, clammy hands? Feeling light-headed, tight, weak, or shaky?
Perhaps you had trouble concentrating? Felt your mind racing? Doubts and fears popping into your head? A vague sense that something bad was going to happen? Kicking yourself for not practicing more?
Is It Just Me?
Well, you're certainly not…
Have you ever found yourself worrying about a tricky passage a couple lines in advance? And totally flubbing it when you got to it, precisely because you started thinking about it?
For better or worse, the things we think about when playing have a significant influence on the quality of our performances. And more to the point, thinking too much about a difficult passage is probably going to do more harm than good. Like walking through a food court on day 2 of a juice cleanse.
But it's not like…
We all have moments in the practice room when our mind just wanders off like a 5-year old in a toy store and it’s difficult to keep our attention on the task at hand. But for those with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), controlling attention and staying on task is a much more vexing and pervasive challenge.
A challenge which can interfere with learning, not just in the classroom, but in the practice room as well.
For instance, a recent study found that while folks without ADHD…
For me, 2 months was the sweet spot. That was the point in my competition or audition preparations where the repertoire was more or less in my fingers, and I was filled with hope and optimism about where my playing would be on the big day. After all, 2 months always seemed like more than enough time to hone and refine every little detail.
Of course, that’s also right about the point where time somehow shifts into warp speed (but very sneakily) and before you know it, there’s only 4 weeks left.…