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…


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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,…


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…


Perform Better Under Pressure with This Subtle Adjustment to Your Self-Talk

Subscribe to the weekly “audio edition” via iTunes It’s normal to feel some pressure when we perform in front of others – but not all situations feel quite the same. Solo performances, for instance, often feel more stressful than chamber music performances. Auditions, in turn, can be more stressful than performances. And some auditions – like the one for your dream school or job – are more stressful still. So the situation may play a role, but a lot of the…