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…


Margo Drakos: On Creating a Safety Net and Taking a Chance on Yourself

Margo Drakos: On Creating a Safety Net and Taking a Chance on Yourself

Have you ever begged and pleaded for something when you were a kid, and when you finally got it, discovered it wasn’t quite what you expected? Like the time you finally got a pair of Zubaz. Or like in that Friends episode where Monica got new boots . Of course, once you’ve fought so hard for that thing, there can be a lot of pressure to stick with it. Even if it’s not a good fit. And it’s tempting to think you just need a different color.…


David Kim: On Letting Go and Being Yourself

David Kim: On Letting Go and Being Yourself

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like the only way to get ahead in the world is to be an egotistical jerk? I’m sure that there probably are a number of self-obsessed, egomaniacal dingleberries in the upper echelons of every field, but it’d be nice to think that this isn’t necessary in order to find success, happiness, and meaningful work. Meet David Kim Case in point, violinist David Kim has been concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 1999, and is one of the most…


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,…