How Perfect Does Your Intonation Have to Be?

How Perfect Does Your Intonation Have to Be?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Whether you sing, play the cello, oboe, or bagpipes, you’ve probably had one of those days (or weeks or months) where you became obsessed with intonation. Where you carefully tuned every chord, calibrated every last note with a tuner, and worked diligently with a drone. And maybe even found yourself getting sucked down the Pythagorean vs. just tuning rabbit hole . All of which is incredibly valuable and important, of course…but is…


Does Focusing on Musical Expressiveness in Performance Come at the Expense of Technical Precision?

Does Focusing on Musical Expressiveness in Performance Come at the Expense of Technical Precision?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes It’s been said that “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”7 Indeed, there are few (if any) quick fixes in the practice room. No one weird trick-type effortless "solutions" that can completely eliminate our intonation challenges or give us impeccable rhythm. So when we stumble across something that does legitimately lead to an immediate improvement in our playing, it can be a pretty cool moment. In last week’s post, we explored a…


A Shift in Your Mental Focus That Could Help You Produce a More Beautiful Sound on Stage

A Mental Shift That Could Help You Produce a More Beautiful Sound on Stage

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Did you ever have a teacher who suggested that you imagine projecting your sound to the last row in the balcony? Not by forcing things, of course, but to use the image of filling the hall with your sound, so that even your pianissimos would carry to the very back? I imagine most musicians have been given that advice at some point or another. Because playing in a big hall does require more from us than playing in the practice room. But sheesh,…


Can’t Shut Off Your Brain and Get to Sleep? This 5-min Exercise Could Help.

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes When I was five, we got a little kitten that we named Lucky. Like most cats, Lucky spent much of her days happily curled up in a cozy ball, or stretched out wherever she could find a sunny patch of carpet to nap in. There were many moments over the years when I would look up from practicing or doing homework, and marvel (a little enviously) at how much of her days were spent napping. Meanwhile, I spent my high school and college years thinking…


Mark Kosower: On Slow Practice, Commitment, and the Kind of Focus That's Associated With His Best Performances

You know how some people just make things look easy, and effortless? Like they never had to practice a day in their life? Logically, of course, we know that’s almost never the case. And there’s always a ton of hard work that goes into developing mastery that nobody ever sees. But some folks do seem to have a knack for finding better ways to practice. Which, like compounding interest, probably adds up in really meaningful ways with each passing hour, week, month, and year. Indeed, I sometimes…