Perform Better Under Pressure with This Subtle Adjustment to Your Self-Talk

Subscribe to the weekly “audio edition” via iTunes It’s normal to feel some pressure when we perform in front of others – but not all situations feel quite the same. Solo performances, for instance, often feel more stressful than chamber music performances. Auditions, in turn, can be more stressful than performances. And some auditions – like the one for your dream school or job – are more stressful still. So the situation may play a role, but a lot of the…


Julie Landsman: On Getting into the Zone and Developing Trust in Your Playing

Julie Landsman: On Getting into the Zone and Developing Trust in Your Playing

I think most string players would have to admit that at some point in their lives, they showed up for an orchestra rehearsal less prepared than they’d like to be. At least, I certainly remember the week during my first big summer festival when I felt overwhelmed by the part to Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta , and “hid” in the section a bit during rehearsals (and ok, part of the concert too). Not one of my prouder weeks, but something a string player can get away…


Rob Knopper: On Overcoming the Fear of Recording Yourself (and Making It Your New Favorite Practice Tool)

Once upon a time, my kids would practically beg me to videotape them in action. Whether it was slurping noodles in slow motion, jumping off the couch onto bubble wrap, or rocking out to AC/DC, they seemed to be endlessly captivated by the magic of seeing themselves on-screen. Fast-forward a few years, and my videography game now needs to be at crazy ninja-like levels of stealth if I want to have any hope of capturing them on film. I can’t blame them of course, as I wasn’t any different.…


Creativity Sounds Important…but at the Elite Level, How Valuable Is It Really?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Whether in football, basketball, or soccer, displays of creative playmaking and shotmaking draw lots of ooh’s and ahh’s from fans, and booya’s on ESPN’s plays of the day (or at least it used to, when booya was something people still said).  All of which is very exciting and entertaining, of course. And it certainly makes intuitive sense that creative players and playmakers would be valuable to a team’s success.  But is this actually true? Is…


Peter Miksza: On the Overlooked Value of Improvisation in Musical Training

How would you react if someone encouraged you to include some improvisation in your daily practice routine? Would you react with curiosity, and perhaps be a little excited to see what this could add to your musical and technical development? Or would you wonder about improvisation’s relevance in your daily practice, given that you don’t have unlimited time, and it’s not like you can improv your way through Schumann’s Scherzo? Or run away, because…eek! Improv?! Where would I even start? If I…