Why an “Improvisational Mindset” Could Be Vital to Reducing Performance Anxiety and Increasing Audience Engagement

Subscribe to the weekly “audio edition” via iTunes Learning a concerto (or a Bach Partita, Paganini Caprice, etc.) takes many hours of diligent, solitary practice. Which can be pretty engrossing at times – but also, pretty lonely. So when I was introduced to chamber music, and experienced what it was like to work together with a group of friends on the same piece of music, it didn’t feel at all like practicing. Partly, because there were times when we did more goofing…


How a Post-Practice Workout Could Help Boost Learning and Retention

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Maybe it’s just my perception (or Facebook/Google’s algorithms ), but I’ve been noticing a lot of articles popping up recently about a potential connection between exercise and learning. The gist being, that working out somehow enhances our ability to learn and remember stuff. But the details aren't always so clear. Like - does this mean we should go for a run before practicing? Or after? Does it have to be a pretty vigorous…


Do Classical Musicians Get More Nervous Than Non-Classical Musicians? (And If so, Why?)

Do Classical Musicians Get More Nervous Than Non-Classical Musicians? (And If so, Why?)

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes A few years ago, I reconnected with a childhood Suzuki friend, who spent most of his formative years learning the standard classical repertoire, and eventually, playing in a professional orchestra. But then, one day, his path diverged, and he became immersed in the world of jazz, improvisation, and a range of other non-classical styles. And now, with a thriving non-classical music career, he remarked that although he used to get really nervous…


8 Strategies Musicians Use in Developing Their Own Interpretation of a Piece

8 Strategies Musicians Use to Create Their Own Unique Interpretation of a Piece

Subscribe to the weekly “audio edition” via iTunes From Dont to Yost to the legendary Korguof exercises that Mr. Vamos used to write out by hand every time I “misplaced” them, there are lots of resources out there to help us improve our technique. But how does one become more “musical”? As a student, especially in my younger years, I think I pretty much went off of instinct and emotion alone. Just trusting my fingers to do whatever I felt moved to do in the moment. But…


Nathan Cole & Akiko Tarumoto: On Practice, Lifelong Learning, and Balancing Life With Work and Audition Preparation

Nathan Cole & Akiko Tarumoto: On Practicing, and Balancing Life With Work and Audition Preparation

Perhaps you’ve seen the practice chart that made the rounds some years ago, titled “Should You Be Practicing Right Now?” All joking aside, I do think work-life balance can be pretty challenging for musicians, as one’s work is never really ever done. There’s always more rep to learn. And an infinite degree of refining and fine-tuning and nuance that one can explore. And intonation! $%&# intonation!!!! So what happens when you add a partner to the mix, who is also a musician and needs…