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A "Backwards" Strategy for Cultivating More Passion about Music You're Not in Love With

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Cellist Mstislav Rostropovich was once asked which of the pieces he programmed on a recital was his favorite. To which he replied, “The one I’m playing at the moment!” (or something to that effect). It is a whole lot easier to deliver a compelling performance of a piece you love, than one you feel totally blah about. Not just because it’s easier to feel connected to the music, but because there is more motivation there to explore the score,…


Should You Be Using a Metronome When You Do Mental Practice?

Should You Be Using a Metronome When You Do Mental Practice?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Pianist Leon Fleisher has said that between melody, harmony, and rhythm, rhythm is by far the most important. As the saying goes, timing is everything. And there is indeed something really compelling about how great performers have a way of stretching and compressing time, of playing with great freedom (yet in perfect time), and doing some incredibly nuanced things with the placement of notes - as Yo-Yo Ma elicits in Fleisher’s playing here,…


Why Worrying about Shaky Bow Just Makes Things Worse (and What You Could Focus on Instead)

Why Worrying about Shaky Bow Just Makes Things Worse (and What You Could Focus on Instead)

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes The summer after my sophomore year in college, I flew to Jerusalem to meet some old friends, with whom I’d be participating in a chamber music bootcamp of sorts. An intense couple weeks of daily master classes with musicians like Isaac Stern - and many others whom I never imagined I’d ever have the opportunity to meet. Naturally, I wanted to make a good impression. But I was pretty intimidated by their presence, and the level of the other…


Jason Haaheim: On Practice, Talent, Motivation, and Playing the

Jason Haaheim: On Practice, Talent, Motivation, and Playing the "Long Game"

Am I talented enough? What if I’m not good enough? Did I wait too long to get serious? If you’ve ever struggled with questions like this, you’re definitely not alone. I think everyone finds themself up at night wrestling with these at some point or another. Usually after one of those weeks (or months) where you’ve tried every trick in the book, and it still feels like you’re never going to get off the plateau and make it to quarter note=88. Of course, these questions are like…