How to avoid being chronically stressed out by a tyrannical conductor, teacher, or colleague

How to Keep Your Cool in Stressful Lessons, Rehearsals, and More

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Whether it’s the 2nd grade spelling bee, a Little League game, or youth orchestra rehearsal, most of us have had one of those traumatizing moments where a teacher, coach, or conductor called us out in front of our peers. For me, it was an orchestra rehearsal in high school, where the conductor made each stand play the same difficult passage one at a time, to make it crystal clear which players were the problem, as the rest of the orchestra…


Why Do We Have Such a Hard Time Accepting Compliments?

Why Do We Have Such a Hard Time Accepting Compliments?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes “That was such beautiful playing…” “Your have such a gorgeous sound!” Compliments are a funny thing. Given a choice, most of us would probably prefer to receive glowing compliments from our peers, colleagues, teachers, and audiences, than scathing criticisms. So why are we so bad at accepting them? We know that the most gracious response is a simple “thank you!” But often, we can’t help ourselves, and end up stammering out a clumsy response…


The Problem with Taking Excessively Long Practice Breaks

The Problem with Taking Excessively Long Practice Breaks

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes We’ve all been told that cramming, or “massed” practice is bad. That we need to space our practice out over time to make things stick in long-term memory (a.k.a. “distributed” practice). And how long, uninterrupted, marathon practice sessions, aren’t as efficient or productive as splitting our practice up into smaller, shorter, chunks. But a recent study suggests that this might not always be true. That sometimes, taking too long of a break…


Why It’s Probably Not a Good Sign If Practicing Starts to Feel Easy

Why It’s Probably Not a Good Sign If Practicing Starts to Feel Easy

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes I once heard a guitar teacher say that the point of practicing is to make things easier. This totally resonated with me, and struck me as the kind of statement that manages to be both obvious and profound at the same time. The problem, is that sometimes, I think we fall for the trap of wanting practice to be easy. Where we spend our time working on things we already do pretty well. Or engage in repetition-based practice as opposed to…