Stephen Hough: On the Question “Is Memorizing Music Really All That Important?”

Every month, The Juilliard Journal publishes a short mini-interview with faculty, where in addition to sharing thoughtful answers about life, music, and the arts, they also often reveal little-known tidbits about their lives. Like their most embarrassing moment. What they they think they’d be doing if they weren’t a musician. How they were on their university’s water polo team, or biked across the country (here’s a directory of all of the interviews through 2017; the more recent ones are…


Jason Haaheim: On “Deliberate Lessons” and How to Become a Better Teacher to Yourself

Jason Haaheim: On “Deliberate Lessons” and How to Maximize Your Progress From One Lesson to the Next

The last few months have led to many changes in how we work, how we play, how we connect to others, and a whole lot more. But I think our desire to learn and improve at things that we find meaningful and enjoy doing is still there. After all, many are continuing to take piano lessons, or participate in writing classes, or train in jiu jitsu online, even though doing so via Zoom is not quite (or nearly) the same experience as learning in-person. Despite its many limitations, online learning does…


Christian Howes: On Overcoming Improvisation Anxiety, Making Technical Practice More Creatively Satisfying, and Becoming a Better Friend to Yourself

Christian Howes: On Overcoming Improvisation Anxiety, Making Technical Practice More Creatively Satisfying, and Becoming a Better Friend to Yourself Through Music

I’m not sure if playing Twinkle Twinkle in Suzuki group class is an especially memorable moment in most kids’ lives, but one of my enduring memories is how cool it was the first time I heard the older kids in the back row play a variation and add various embellishments while the rest of us sawed away at the regular version. And I also remember how oddly thrilling it was to sneak in a few covert deviations of my own when I was a bit older and the teacher wasn’t looking in my direction.…


Howard Nelson & Pamela Frank: On the Intersection of Healthy Physical Habits and Efficient, Effective Practice That Transfers to the Stage

When NYC’s quarantine began in March, and more and more people began working from home, one of the biggest challenges for many, was finding a usable workspace in already-tiny apartments.  Over the last month for instance, my wife has spent more time using her piano as a desk than as a piano (HA! sick burn…) – but then again, I guess this beats using a hamper in the hallway, an ironing board, or (my personal favorite) a jumbo pack of toilet paper in front of the toilet. And sure, it’s kind…


Sarah Lewis: On Thinking Useful Thoughts, Gratitude, and the Challenge of Auditioning with a Newborn

Sarah Lewis: On Gratitude, Thinking Useful Thoughts, and the Challenge of Juggling Auditions and a 3-Month Old

We went to the store the other day, looking to buy some cake flour for a recipe we hadn’t made in years. And to our surprise, not only was there no cake flour, there was almost no flour at all! In hindsight, I suppose the scarcity of flour (at least in our neighborhood) makes sense. Not just because flour is a key ingredient in making yummy treats to eat. But because there’s something kind of comforting about the predictability of baking. Of knowing that if you follow the steps in a recipe, you…