Is It True That We Tend to Underestimate Our Abilities, or Is This Just Wishful Thinking?

Is It True That We Tend to Underestimate Our Abilities, or Is This Just Wishful Thinking?

It was the beginning of my sophomore year in college, and I had just returned to school from one of the most musically inspiring and confidence-boosting summers of my life. It started with a chamber music intensive in Israel, where I got to work with faculty that I never imagined I would have the opportunity to meet, let alone study with. And it ended with an orchestral fellowship at a second festival where I got to play amongst future principals and concertmasters and sit closer to the…


An Unusual Way to Reduce Day-of-performance Stress and Anxiety

An Unusual Way to Reduce Day-of-performance Stress and Anxiety

For many musicians, the day of a big performance or audition has a familiar, and uniquely uncomfortable feel to it. There’s that unsettling feeling in the pit of your stomach. It’s difficult to sit still. Your mind seems scattered, with visions of memory slips zipping through your head. And a part of you wishes you could skip forward in time about 12 hours to the point when you have arrived back home and are basking in that post-performance high, feeling relaxed and normal again. Sometimes we…


Why Imagery Is Totally Worth Doing Even From an Early Age

How Young Is Too Young for Imagery to Be Effective?

From homework to chores to soccer practice to play dates, young folks nowadays have an awful lot on their plates. So while athletes and musicians have long spoken about the value of visualization or mental rehearsal for enhancing performance, how important (and relevant) is this for young musicians? I mean, if you’re auditioning for a big job and are looking to leverage every possible advantage, then sure, it makes sense to devote time and energy to visualization. But when it comes to young…


What It Means If Your Mind Wanders When You’re Practicing

What It Means If Your Mind Wanders When You’re Practicing

Whether you’re driving to the grocery store, going for a run, or practicing your scales, have you noticed how your mind will often wander off to other places? It’s sort of a bizarre phenomenon when you think about it. A little like being a zombie in your own body. Because you’re there, but you're not there. What’s more disconcerting is just how much time we spend in “zombie mode” - 46.9%, in one study. Of course, mind-wandering isn’t all bad, but it’s certainly not helpful when we’re trying to…


How to Stop Worrying so Much About What Other People Think

How to Stop Worrying so Much About What Other People Think

Do you remember the first time you got a “like” on something you posted on Facebook? That little spark of excitement you felt was fun, right? Like a standing ovation, glowing review, or positive feedback from fans in the audience, it’s nice to get that little bit of validation - to feel like we’ve earned someone’s “stamp of approval.” And there’s certainly nothing wrong with feeling good when we get that occasional pat on the back. But there’s a dark side to feedback too. Because what happens…