Lori Schiff: On How Alexander Technique Can Enhance Learning and Performance Under Pressure

Alexander Technique has been around for over a century, and is taught in many schools and conservatories around the world, so it’s very likely that you’ve heard a friend, teacher, or fellow musician mention it at some point or another. But what is it, exactly? If you’re like most, you might not be so sure. Is it about breath control? Learning how to stand or play with good posture? Or maybe about injury prevention? Releasing tension? Does it involve stretching? Is it like yoga? And is it…


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…


Do Other People Really Learn As Quickly As It Seems Like They Do?

Do Other People Really Learn As Quickly As It Seems Like They Do?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes How long should it take to learn a new concerto? Or memorize a Bach prelude? And how many hours should you spend preparing for a first orchestra rehearsal? It used to be pretty difficult to get answers to questions like these. But, now that we have the internet, we know that the answers are a) 3 days, b) less than an hour, and c) yes. But in all seriousness, even with the internet at our fingertips, we still look to our peers to get a sense of…


Jay Larranaga: On Becoming the Best Version of Yourself That You Can Be

Jay Larranaga: On Becoming the Best Version of Yourself That You Can Be

As a kid, watching TV was more of an occasional treat than a daily staple. Where my mom would usually tell me to stop watching Chips or Knight Rider, and do homework, read, or practice instead. Except when the Olympics were on, at which point there were a few times she’d encourage me to watch more TV. Hoping, I think, that I’d be able to learn from and perhaps be inspired by the athletes’ dedication, focus, and resilience. Which might explain why I’ve always been a big fan of…


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…