Why Do We Have Such a Hard Time Accepting Compliments?

Why Do We Have Such a Hard Time Accepting Compliments?

“That was such beautiful playing…” “Your have such a gorgeous sound!” Compliments are a funny thing. Given a choice, most of us would probably prefer to receive glowing compliments from our peers, colleagues, teachers, and audiences, than scathing criticisms. So why are we so bad at accepting them? We know that the most gracious response is a simple “thank you!” But often, we can’t help ourselves, and end up stammering out a clumsy response that just makes things awkward. “Uhh…thanks…but I was…


The Problem with Taking Excessively Long Practice Breaks

The Problem with Taking Excessively Long Practice Breaks

We’ve all been told that cramming, or “massed” practice is bad. That we need to space our practice out over time to make things stick in long-term memory (a.k.a. “distributed” practice). And how long, uninterrupted, marathon practice sessions, aren’t as efficient or productive as splitting our practice up into smaller, shorter, chunks. But a recent study suggests that this might not always be true. That sometimes, taking too long of a break between practice sessions could negate all the work we…


Why It’s Probably Not a Good Sign If Practicing Starts to Feel Easy

Why It’s Probably Not a Good Sign If Practicing Starts to Feel Easy

Audio version http://bpm-podcast.s3.amazonaws.com/bulletproofmusician.2018.01.07.mp3 I once heard a guitar teacher say that the point of practicing is to make things easier. This totally resonated with me, and struck me as the kind of statement that manages to be both obvious and profound at the same time. The problem, is that sometimes, I think we fall for the trap of wanting practice to be easy. Where we spend our time working on things we already do pretty well. Or engage in…


most popular posts of 2017

Most Popular Posts of 2017

Email? What's email for? That was my reaction upon receiving my first email address as a freshman in August 1994. I just couldn’t fathom what one was supposed to do with an email address (I know - sounds crazy now, right?). Of course, I soon discovered that friends at other schools had email addresses too, and you could type little notes to each other if you knew their address. And they’d get them almost instantly. For free! Of course, now we all have multiple email addresses, and experience a…


Singing out Loud: Embarrassing Ear Training Exercise or Nifty Memory Hack?

“Argh…why are we doing this?” “Seriously…WHY?” I wondered to myself, as I resigned myself to my fate, took my place in front of the class, and squeaked out a feeble “la si do fa sol mi fa la re si do…” I don’t know if solfège-ing a movement of unaccompanied Bach in ear training class is some sort of universal aural skills rite of passage, or if this was unique to the teacher I had, but this moment still stands out in my memory - almost two decades later - as the most “I hope I never have to do…