Wish You Were a Better Memorizer? Why a Little Bit of Score Study Might Be the Missing Ingredient.

Wish You Were a Better Memorizer? Why a Little Bit of "Verbalization" Might Be the Missing Ingredient.

Audio version Let’s try a little mental challenge. Read the following letters to yourself, slowly: NCTECOOVD Now, close your eyes, and see how many you can recall. Maybe a handful? Now read through the same letters, just organized differently: OCTNOVDEC Easier, no? It’s not like you became a better memorizer in the last few seconds - you simply recognized a familiar pattern in the second grouping of letters that made recall way easier. Indeed, researchers…


5 Ways to Prevent “rage-quitting” on Discouraging Practice Days

5 Ways to Prevent “Rage-Quitting” on Discouraging Practice Days

Audio version We all have bad practice days, where our sound is off and our fingers just won’t cooperate. Which is plenty annoying, but have you ever had one of those days that goes beyond frustration? Where you get truly aggravated, and have that urge to throw your music against the wall and smash things, so end up quitting for the day? Apparently, that phenomenon has a name. In the video-gaming world at least, this is called “rage-quitting.” So why does…


A Simple (but Ironic) Strategy to Reduce Audition-day Restlessness

A Simple (and Ironic) Strategy to Reduce Audition-Day Restlessness

Audio version Legendary basketball coach John Wooden often urged his players to “be quick - but don’t hurry.” Indeed, whether it’s a last-second three pointer, passing shot in tennis, or a tricky shift, there’s something about rushing that tends to mess with the execution of motor skills. We get tight, fluidity and ease go out the window, the timing and rhythm gets off, and we force things instead of letting them happen. For me, the frantic-ness would begin…


Does It Feel like You're Regressing in the Practice Room? Here's Why It May Not Just Be Your Imagination.

Does It Feel like You're Regressing in the Practice Room? Here's Why It May Not Just Be Your Imagination.

Audio version My daughter was 5 when she started violin lessons. And at first, it was pretty chill and super cute. But then I started to get a little antsy. It’s not like we were trying to groom her to be the next Heifetz, but still, I began to worry about her funky bow hold. The goofy way she was holding the instrument. Her super-wide power stance. Her claw of a left hand. Or in other words…everything. So naturally, I tried giving her some tips. How to…


When Is the Best Time to Start Memorizing a Piece for Fast, Accurate Results?

Audio version I had always been a pretty good student, so it was a real shock when during my first semester of college, I got a “C” for the first time ever. And on a final, no less (in Music History 101, for what it's worth). I still have vivid memories of studying for that test the night before. A little overwhelmed by how much information I needed to memorize for the test, but determinedly reading, re-reading, and highlighting the text and my notes into…