The “Urgency Effect” and Why We Don’t Always Practice the Things We Should

The “Urgency Effect” and How to Prioritize More Effectively in the Practice Room

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Have you ever woken up the day before a big performance or audition, had this sudden realization what day it was, and wondered to yourself “Oh [email protected]#%. How is it possible that tomorrow is here already?” I certainly remember the moment I realized, on the day before the second round of an international competition, that my Bach Chaconne was not fully memorized. Which I know sounds utterly ridiculous, but it’s the kind of thing that would happen…


Does It Help (or Hurt) to Have Friends and Family in the Audience?

Why a Supportive Audience Could Paradoxically Lead to a Worse Performance

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes We’ve all heard of the “home-court advantage” in sports. How athletes perform better when they’re competing in front of cheering, supportive fans. The idea makes perfect sense, but there are also many instances of athletes choking in front of their home crowd, missing crucial shots, or making boneheaded plays at the worst possible moments. So when a student recently mentioned that they were feeling extra pressure before an upcoming audition,…


Perform Better Under Pressure with This Subtle Adjustment to Your Self-Talk

Subscribe to the weekly “audio edition” via iTunes It’s normal to feel some pressure when we perform in front of others – but not all situations feel quite the same. Solo performances, for instance, often feel more stressful than chamber music performances. Auditions, in turn, can be more stressful than performances. And some auditions – like the one for your dream school or job – are more stressful still. So the situation may play a role, but a lot of the…


Julie Landsman: On Getting into the Zone and Developing Trust in Your Playing

Julie Landsman: On Getting into the Zone and Developing Trust in Your Playing

I think most string players would have to admit that at some point in their lives, they showed up for an orchestra rehearsal less prepared than they’d like to be. At least, I certainly remember the week during my first big summer festival when I felt overwhelmed by the part to Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta , and “hid” in the section a bit during rehearsals (and ok, part of the concert too). Not one of my prouder weeks, but something a string player can get away…


Research Suggests That While Mental Practice Is Good, This Hybrid Approach Is Even Better

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes A couple months ago, my daughter went through a pretty hardcore PB&J phase. And since I hadn’t had a PB&J sandwich in years, I made myself one too2, quickly re-discovering how yummy they are. I mean sure, peanut butter by itself is fun. And some strawberry jam is nice to have around too. But when you put them together? Awesome. (And you know what's also awesome, BTW? Full-fat cream cheese and chunky strawberry jam on a lightly toasted…