Get into a Better Pre-Audition Headspace with a

Get into a Better Pre-Audition Headspace with a "Heroic" Playlist

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Whether it’s waiting for your turn at an audition, getting stuck in traffic on the way to rehearsal, or standing in line at Trader Joe’s on a Saturday, much of life seems to consist of...waiting. Which in the grand scheme of things is probably not such a big deal (and might be something worth learning to embrace, as I learned from watching the movie Click ), but sitting around idly with nothing to do does tend to lead to a lot of…


How to Use Positive “Trigger Words” for More Expressive Performances

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Getting into the character of a piece, right from the first note, can sometimes be a challenge when there’s no long orchestral tutti to help set the mood. Or if you have to switch from one orchestral excerpt to another in an audition where it’s all on you. Musicians have been known to write key words or phrases at the top of excerpts, like this, or this. Which seems like a pretty handy way to remind ourselves what we want to say with the…


Blaise Desjardin: On Emotion, Technique, and the Kind of Practice That Facilitates Consistently Beautiful Performances

Blaise Déjardin: On Emotion, Technique, and the Kind of Practice That Facilitates Consistently Beautiful Performances

Several years ago, I stumbled across a video of the violinist Pamela Frank sharing some advice she once received from the conductor Yuri Temirkanov about the opening of the Brahms Violin Concerto (click here to watch the clip ). In what she describes as being a total light-bulb moment, he explained that “To play exciting music, you cannot be excited.” In other words, the Brahms Concerto isn’t exciting because the performer’s heart rate is elevated. The excitement is created by…


Why Day-of-Performance Butterflies May Actually Be a Good Thing

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes For most, waking up on the day of a big audition, competition, or performance feels very different from every other morning. Things are just a little more unsettled. And it’s harder to go through your normal morning routine and enjoy a bowl of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs as you might on a normal day. Especially, when perhaps a few hours out, the butterflies kick in as your thoughts start drifting to the performance, and you begin imagining…


A Way to Amplify (or Weaken) the Effect of Self-Talk on Performance

A Way to Amplify (or Weaken) the Effect of Self-Talk on Performance

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes It’s been a couple years now since our dog was a puppy, but I still remember when he was afraid to go down stairs. He’d sort of peer down the steps and scamper nervously from side to side a bit, and eventually plant his butt firmly on the ground and resist taking the next step. So we’d cajole and encourage him, saying “C’mon DJ! You can do it!” And eventually, one day, he did make it down the stairs. Of course, this sort of encouragement is…