Kris Chesky: On hearing health, earplugs, and how the best strategy for protecting young musicians’ ears might help them become better musicians too

Kris Chesky: On Hearing Health, Earplugs, and How the Best Strategy for Protecting Young Musicians’ Ears Might Help Them Become Better Musicians Too

I can’t say that I’ve ever listened to much of John Denver’s music, but one of the highlights of my summer music festival experiences, was a benefit concert he did one year in the Aspen Music Festival’s tent – the mostly outdoor/semi-indoor performance space where all of the large ensemble performances took place. There were crazy lights, giant speakers, cables criss-crossing all over the place, and even those little tiny lights on our stands. Which I know is not a big deal, but was super…


Make Practicing in 2021 a Little More Effective With These Top Tips From 2020

Einstein once said “Learn from yesterday. Live for today. Hope for tomorrow.”1 This quote seems particularly fitting as we look forward to a 2021 that we hope will look very different from the year we just said goodbye to. I mean, sure, we learned a ton in 2020 – but a lot of it was stuff that went way beyond what most of us ever expected to have to learn. Like how to optimize our audio for music lessons. What a pulse oximeter is. Or how quickly the dirty dishes pile up when everyone in…


David Leisner: On Overcoming Focal Dystonia and Learning to Play With Ease

I don’t remember when I first heard the term focal dystonia, but it wasn’t very long ago – perhaps 10 years ago or so. But in the years since, I’ve heard it come up more and more among musicians. And even if the term focal dystonia doesn’t ring a bell, you’re probably familiar with it. You may just know it as the mysterious hand injury that left pianist Leon Fleisher unable to play for many years. It remains a relatively rare condition – although a 2010 study (Altenmüller…


Bob Fisher: On How to Become Great at Something, and Setting Multiple World Records (at Age 50+)

A few years ago, thinking it wouldn’t hurt to get away from the computer now and again and be a little more active, I accompanied my son to his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, and signed up for some classes myself. Needless to say, rolling around on the ground, getting crushed and choked by a bunch of bigger, stronger, faster guys (and gals), many of whom were half my age, was totally out of my comfort zone. So I spent the first year or so feeling totally incompetent, very insecure, and wondering…


Jason Sulliman: On Why Fast Practice Can Sometimes Be More Efficient and Effective Than Slow Practice

Jason Sulliman: On Why Fast, At-Tempo Practice Can Be More Efficient and Effective Than Slow Practice

I’d bet my last dozen Krispy Kreme donuts that every music student in the history of practicing has at some point been encouraged to a) slow things down, and b) use a metronome. I’d also bet a box of Timbits, that each of us have also dragged our feet and resisted doing both of these things. And who could blame us, right? It’s way more fun to play things at tempo. But as the saying goes, perhaps we need to crawl before we can walk… Or do we? The problem with slow practice While slow practice is…