Difficulty Staying Focused in the Practice Room? Why “airplane Mode” May Not Be Enough.

Difficulty Staying Focused in the Practice Room? Why “Airplane Mode” May Not Be Enough.

Audio version From as early an age as I can remember, there were always two main challenges with practicing. One, was simply getting started. The other, was staying engaged and focused once I got going. Staying focused in the practice room can be difficult for lots of reasons, but I saw an article recently which suggested that our phones might play a role in this too. Which initially struck me as being almost a little cliché, and besides, good luck getting…


Feeling Stuck? Here's a Counterintuitive Strategy for Boosting Creativity in the Practice Room

Feeling Stuck? Here's a Counterintuitive Strategy for Boosting Creativity in the Practice Room

Audio version “One thing at a time!!!” is a common saying around our house as my daughter tries to alternate between watching her brother’s Pokémon show on TV and reading a book. Or as my son tries to play NBA Live on his phone while sneaking an occasional peek as his sister learns how to eat corn-on-the-cob with a power drill on YouTube. We know that letting our attention shift, willy-nilly, from one thing to another - i.e. “task-switching” -…


How Many of Our Mistakes Do Audiences (and Other Musicians) Actually Hear?

Audio version Nobody likes to crack notes, miss shifts, or play out of tune. Especially in front of an audience. But unless we decide to give up the experience of performing live, that’s just something that comes with the territory. And…right about now there’s probably a voice in your head saying, “Yeah, ok, Captain Obvious - what’s your point?” Well, I was watching this interview with cellist Astrid Schween the other day, and heard her describe how…


Why Every Performer Needs a Good Poker Face

Audio version My daughter loves card games. And what I enjoy most about playing with her, is how completely transparent she is. Anytime she gets dealt a good hand, or picks up a special card, it’s written all over her face. Her eyes light up, and I know something bad is about to happen to me. In time, maybe she’ll develop a better poker face , but for now it’s pretty cute. And maybe not all bad, because when it comes to performing, research…