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…


Tom Hooten: On Being Curious, and Elevating Learning and Growth Above Ego

Tom Hooten: On Being Curious, and Elevating Learning and Growth Above Ego

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” It’s one of my favorite quotes now, but I wonder if I could have grasped this when I was younger, and in the thick of weekly lessons, rehearsals, performances, auditions, and so on.  In the sense that when I look back now, I can see how much of my practice was oriented around simply trying to not sound bad at my next lesson, or rehearsal, performance, and just…


Uri Vardi: On the Way Unconscious Habits Shape Our Playing, and How Feldenkrais Can Help Us Do More With Less Effort.

Uri Vardi: On the Way Unconscious Habits Shape Our Playing, and How Feldenkrais Can Help Us Unlock More of Our Potential

My family and I have been following a few teams in the NBA playoffs this year. And one of the things that I’ve found interesting, is hearing the commentators remark on whether a shot was a good one or a bad one. Because sometimes, the announcers will say that a player took a bad shot – even though it ends up going in. While on other occasions, they’ll suggest that a player took a good shot – even though it misses. In other words, whether a shot is “good” or “bad” has…


Menahem Pressler: On following your heart

Menahem Pressler: On Following Your Heart

E.E. Cummings once said “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” For many years, I didn’t understand what that meant. But it’s starting to make more sense. After all, it’s easy to follow a well-worn path, to do the safe thing, or to take others’ advice when it comes to figuring out what we should do with our lives. But artists seem to find their own way. Artists learn to listen to that inner voice, and have the courage to follow – even if they have no idea where it will take…


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.…