Want New Colleagues to Accept You? Why It’s Important to Assume That They Already Do.

Want New Colleagues to Like You? Why It’s Important to Assume That They Already Do.

Audio version http://bpm-podcast.s3.amazonaws.com/bulletproofmusician.2017.07.23.mp3 When my mom was in her 20’s, and had only been in the US for a short while, she stumbled into an opportunity to teach Japanese at a prestigious university. Though being a native speaker gave her some credibility, she was young, inexperienced, and understandably nervous before undertaking this unexpected challenge. To deal with her pre-first-class jitters, doubts, and uncertainty, my mom would visualize her...


Having a Couple Drinks Before Performing…what Does the Research Say?

Having a Couple Drinks Before Performing…What Does the Research Say?

Audio version http://bpm-podcast.s3.amazonaws.com/bulletproofmusician.2017.07.16.mp3 Historically, alcohol and awkward social situations (think the cat milking scene from Meet the Parents) tend to go hand in hand. But I’ve learned that it’s not unheard of for some musicians to have a drink or two before performing too. In fact, hoping to get a better handle on performance nerves, a friend once did a test - performing one of the Paganini caprices for a few friends while sober. And again...


Why being a great ensemble player may require more than just our ears

Why Being a Great Ensemble Player May Require More than Just Our Ears

Audio version http://bpm-podcast.s3.amazonaws.com/bulletproofmusician.2017.07.09.mp3 It was Week 1 of the first major music festival I’d ever attended. I was barely out of middle school, but found myself sitting in the second violin section, surrounded by college students and seasoned professionals who seemed totally in their element. And who sounded like they’d been playing this repertoire for years. I, on the other hand, was such a newb, that I didn’t even know it was my job as the...


Which Promotes More Productive Practice - Practicing for Time, or for a Set Number of Repetitions?

Which Promotes More Productive Practice - Practicing for Time, or for a Set Number of Repetitions?

Audio version http://bpm-podcast.s3.amazonaws.com/bulletproofmusician.2017.07.02.mp3 Whether it’s learning how to play the oboe, hit a backhand slice, or type (with all of your fingers, not just your thumbs), one of the most common ways to set practice goals is in units of time, or a certain number of repetitions. Play the exposition of this piece 5 times. Practice scales in these three keys, with their associated arpeggios for 30 minutes. On the surface, both seem pretty similar. But are...


Difficulty Staying Focused in the Practice Room? Why “airplane Mode” May Not Be Enough.

Difficulty Staying Focused in the Practice Room? Why “Airplane Mode” May Not Be Enough.

Audio version http://bpm-podcast.s3.amazonaws.com/bulletproofmusician.2017.06.25.mp3 From as early an age as I can remember, there were always two main challenges with practicing. One, was simply getting started. The other, was staying engaged and focused once I got going. Staying focused in the practice room can be difficult for lots of reasons, but I saw an article recently which suggested that our phones might play a role in this too. Which initially struck me as being almost a little...