A Simple Practice Scheduling Hack That Couldn't Possibly Be as Effective as It Seems

A Simple Practice Scheduling Hack That Couldn't Possibly Be as Effective as It Seems

In my experience, practice room culture in music schools is a bit like the gym. There are people around at all hours of the day, but you’ll see a consistent group of folks who train in the morning, a different group of folks who always work out in the evening, and a few dedicated gym rats who are there at both ends of the day (or maybe they never left???). So here’s an interesting hypothetical. Let’s say that you could practice 2 hours a day for the next week. Would it be better to do 2 hours…


A Metronome Practice Strategy for Musicians That Hate Metronomes

A Metronome Practice Strategy for Musicians Who Hate Metronomes

Most musicians have been encouraged to practice with a metronome at some point. I certainly was, more than once. But I never liked practicing with a metronome. It was boring and annoying. Maybe it would have been different if instead of going beep or click, it went quack, but regardless, I dreaded the metronome and secretly tried to disable more than one in my youth. But then I recently stumbled across a handful of studies which found that golfers, soccer, and tennis players benefit from…


How to Give Students Critical Feedback Without Crushing Their Confidence

How to Give Students Critical Feedback Without Crushing Their Confidence

One day, not so long ago, my wife and I sat down with our resident 5th grader to review his homework assignment - an essay about the early explorers who discovered America. The idea was to give him feedback on how to make his next draft even better. It all sounds like a perfectly innocent thing to do - except that when it comes to schoolwork, he does not like to hear what Mommy and Daddy have to say. He’s exceedingly receptive to feedback if it comes from a teacher, coach, or pretty much…


Research Suggests That You Can Learn to Perform Well Even When You’re Nervous. Here’s How.

Research Suggests That You Can Learn to Perform Well Even When You’re Nervous. Here’s How.

Let’s say you stumbled across a genie in a bottle, who granted you the wish of an ideal practice studio. If there were no limits, what would you request? Soundproofing? Adjustable acoustics? Precise temperature and humidity control? A huge window with a view? A Fanta (grape flavored, of course) drinking fountain? Like the importance of having a quiet, uncluttered, dedicated study area in which to do homework, creating a practice environment that allows us to maximize our focus on learning is a…